The Internet is full of awesome ideas for how to dye Easter eggs with little ones. Put the egg in a whisk! Paint the eggs! Rice shake the eggs! Or my personal favorite tip, do it outside, and have a glass of wine.
But now that most of my toddlers have grown into big kids, I’ve settled on the best tip of all if you have toddlers: just don’t do it.
This just isn’t an activity for toddlers.
I know, I know, I sound like a bitter old mom with no consideration for the magic of the holidays. I promise you, that is not true. I’m a mom who did a father’s day painting craft with my 10-month old. And get this, I MADE the paint.
I love the holidays. I love superfluous crafting. I especially love superfluous holiday crafts.
But egg-dyeing is in a different category. The supplies include breakable eggs and dye. This is not an activity for toddlers. This is barely an activity for adults. This is an activity that was designed for catastrophe. This shouldn’t be a holiday tradition, it should be an elimination challenge in Survivor.
Dyeing eggs with big kids is entirely different than dyeing them with toddlers. Given access to eggs and dye, toddlers are drunk with power. They CANNOT believe you’ve given them bowls filled with actual dye. DYE! We can’t trust this demographic with CRAYONS, why no hand them bowls of dye!? Watch them roll their eyes as you cover your table with waterproof, absorbent protection. Watch them giggle as your dart from toddler to toddler, trying to minimize harm to your walls and furniture.
At the end of it, you have a pounding heart rate, a big mess to clean up, and MAYBE a few colored eggs.
Please know, I love a good toddler activity. Generally I’m completely fine with the mess. Ask Tom, and watch him recount the messes I’ve allowed in the name of fun! Sensory play! Or even just the fact that the mess occupied them so I could have a quiet minute alone to look at Jen Shah memes (IYKYK).
But I don’t think this activity does any of that. I don’t think there’s a sensory element, I don’t think it’s fun. And it definitely doesn’t give me a break. But most of all, the kids don’t care. It’ll give me a heart attack, and they won’t even remember.
They won’t even remember. This entire activity is done on the basis of tradition and making memories, but I promise you, they won’t even remember.
(This photo below is David dyeing eggs in our first house. We moved from this house when he was almost five. He barely remembers living in this house; he definitely doesn’t remember that time we painted eggs.)
Big kids are completely different. Egg dyeing fascinates big kids — it’s the perfect afternoon art project. Big kids take their time, they’re thoughtful, careful, and they enjoy the process. With big kids it’s actually fun. Watching my big kids dye eggs last year, I actually thought, “Why do we only do this at Easter? Why don’t we ALWAYS dye eggs when we hard boil them? IT’S SO FUN!”
I have big kids and I have a toddler, and when opportunities for traditions come up, I often wonder why I killed myself trying to make my little one, who doesn’t care and just wants to go to bed on time, do stuff like trick-or-treat, meet Santa, or dye Easter eggs. Why did I torture myself and my little ones? On Mary’s first Halloween, she cried the whole time. Instead of just taking her home, I was frustrated that she wasn’t on board. Come on five-month-old! This is what we do on October 31 in America! Even back then, without the benefit of hindsight, if I was really honest with myself I’d have to admit that I was doing it for me, not them.
Take my advice and give yourself a pass. But if you really want to dye eggs with a toddler, I know one that would love to join you.
I really enjoy your writing style and your realness with raising children. Your blogging is so entertaining to read!
I agree about the age-appropriate activities. Here in Switzerland egg dyeing is a big thing… but I only dared try it for the first time this year with my now five year old (while my toddler slept). Oh yes, it was worth the five year wait! (Previous years we just stuck stickers onto plastic eggs).
Also in agreement with you… messing up a baby or toddler’s daily routine for the sake of traditions is where it is best to get creative with the traditions… simplify them and modify them for age appropriateness, and let the sophisticated side of all the traditions come with time.
Have I tried a jack-o-lantern yet? Nope! This year – yes! (Previous years I just got my youngster to stick on sticker eyes and mouths onto a pumpkin… it still created quite the thrill for my toddler, but the limited mess and no stress felt like a big success!)