Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Vegan Easter Ideas for Kids (egg-dyeing included)!

One of my facebook friends asked the other day if I had any alternatives to dyeing eggs for Easter.  I realized it's just a few weeks away, and this is a post-worthy topic (anyone remember 'sponge-worthy' from Seinfeld?)... couldn't resist the reference.

First off, I want to talk about Easter in general.  In terms of the kids, Easter is pretty easy for vegans. There are lots of options now to buy non-dairy chocolates, even miniature foil-wrapped eggs.  There are plenty of other candy options, like gummy bears.  This Surfsweet brand is vegan, and also has no artificial colors (though not all their varieties are vegan, check the label).  Beyond candy, there are many other goodies - most of which kids love even more!

Our Easter tradition goes something like this... if it is sunny and dry outside, the Easter Bunny will hide the treats in the garden - if wet and cold, the goodies are inside.  Several years ago, when we started with our first daughter, I bought a dozen or so larger plastic eggs that open up.  These are available at dollar stores, grocery stores, just about anywhere.  Every year I pick up some stickers, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, and a few other fresh ideas to include in the plastic eggs.  Some of the new items might be a small toy, a fun eraser, keychain for their backpacks, etc.  Anything that will fit in the eggs (and you can get different sizes) and kids will be excited about works.  Doesn't have to be pricey, just fun!   I fill one egg with some stickers, another with some jellybeans, another with a keychain... you get the idea.  To be "fair" for the girls, if it is something more special like a keychain, I put a small label with their initial on one egg each, that way each girl receives one special item, and the other eggs are free game!  I also scatter about some chocolate eggs, because they are much more fun to hide and trickier to find!

Each year I round up the plastic eggs again (but only after a few days of playing, those eggs are sacred for a short time!), and poke them away in a cupboard to reuse the next year.  This has worked wonders every year for us, and some years I have also given a small wrapped stuffie, like a chick or bunny.  Easter is usually fun and uncomplicated, and the girls enjoy the small treats more than the candy.

Last year I found myself in a bit of a pickle, though.  Our daughter's class was dyeing eggs as a project, and each child needed 1/2 dozen hard-boiled eggs (I think it was 6, definitely more than one).  Regardless, not very vegan.  I just couldn't use a real egg (let alone six), not even if I asked a friend for one.  Just couldn't do it, and neither could our daughter.  The girls are very connected to animals, and they didn't want any part of using a real egg either.  I didn't know what to do.  I thought about alternatives... plastic eggs wouldn't work for dyeing... styrofoam eggs, might have worked but I couldn't find them.  Then, I thought about it and realized that many craft stores carry wooden items for painting.  I called them and sure enough they had some wooden eggs!  Perfect!  I picked up a few for both girls.   They did not dye as well as I thought they might, but they were still pretty and the girls had fun.  And, we still have the eggs!

I just took these photos today.  Our eldest still has the basket they made, and has been keeping an eagle with the eggs, she decided the eagle needed a 'nest'. :)  You can see one of the eggs has some spots from the dyeing.  And, another standing that our middle girl painted in kindergarten last year - another bonus, the eggs have a flattened bottom so they prop up!  Our   Can't say that for any hard-boiled egg - don't think you'd want that sitting around for a year.  Only drawback is that, yes, these wooden eggs were a couple dollars a piece.  What can I say?  Wooden eggs are not subsidized. ;)

What Easter traditions and vegan alternatives do you have?  Please share up your ideas for others! 

Food for thought:  One egg has more cholesterol than a "Double Down". (I didn't know what this was until I saw this story... but let's just say that a Double Down has 'doubles' the cholesterol found in a Big Mac.  Yikes. Not saying that the Double Down is a good choice (obviously!), but wow.  Link through for the pic and full story.)

19 comments:

Christina said...

We host a vegan Easter brunch each year for our friends with vegan children (two families). We also invite grandparents, b/c we think it's important for them to know that our vegan children are not missing out on fun things like coloring eggs and egg hunts. We ask each family to bring 12 plastic eggs filled with vegan items (candy, stickers, small toys) and we provide several additional eggs. And the kids all paint wooden eggs which I order from Oriental Trading, where they are $3.99 for a dozen (plus shipping). We have a big vegan breakfast feast. It's one of my fave days of the year!

Cate said...

I haven't been able to find ANY vegan jelly beans (the Surfsweet ones I've seen all contain confectioner's glaze), has anyone else had any luck? Loving the foil-wrapped chocolate eggs though!

Dreena said...

Christina, that's so much fun! And, you got a far better deal on the eggs than I did!! We had to scurry to find them last year, but that's a great tip for folks to order online now in time for Easter. thanks!

Dreena said...

Cate, whoops, my mistake on that. We *have* had the jelly beans in past years, but I missed that in the ingredient list at the time as I wasn't aware of the confectioner's glaze issue. Anyhow, I have fixed the image and reference. The fruity bears and the swirly candy from surfsweet are vegan, and I think there's a couple of other vegan items they have - their labels are confusing though, b/c I think they have gummi bears that are not vegan, but the fruity bears are :-/ Thanks for the catch, and sorry I'm not of more help on the jelly beans.

Jennifer said...

Ohmygosh! Wooden eggs!! What a great idea! Why on Earth didn't I think of that before? I am ordering some today. Thanks for this post!

Christina said...

There are vegan jelly beans available on Amazon. I believe they are shipped from Pangea. And I've read that the starburst ones are vegan.

Keri - I Eat Trees said...

What a great post! I was just working on my Easter goodies post, too. This year I haven't been able to find vegan jelly beans, but Vegan Essentials used to have them! Oh well, there are plenty of other goodies.
We've never dyed eggs or had to worry about a substitute until this year; my son has been invited to a Easter-themed birthday party with egg dying. The eggs are provided to the kids, and they aren't eating them, but it still absolutely wouldn't sit well with my husband or I (our son just turned 3, so he probably wouldn't care yet either way, although he doesn't want to eat animals, he wouldn't grasp the painting eggs dilemma...). Last week, I thought of wooden or ceramic eggs as he was painting a ceramic cat. I'm so relieved! I don't want him to feel left out, and stickers on plastic eggs, as the host mom suggested, just wasn't going to cut it. I have a feeling his wooden and ceramic eggs will be disappearing and painted by the other kids as well, because kids love keeping painting keepsakes. :)

Amanda said...

Lots of great ideas for vegan easter! Now i just need to find the vegan birthday party post!

rachel said...

Awesome post Dreena! I'll send some pics of our eggs when we're done ;)

Dreena said...

Keri, yeah, I thought I saw jellybeans at VE too - maybe not carrying them anymore? Hope your boy has fun painting the wooden eggs (maybe you too)! :)

Amanda, what kind of bday ideas are you needing?... I might do a post if I think it will provide info that's useful for folks.

(Christina, thanks also for the note about amazon & jellybeans!)

LovesVeggies said...

Sorry to hear you're taking a blogging break, but no worries we'll be waiting for you to get back!
Remember that old saying... sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt?
Don't we wish it were true. Words sting. Words aggravate. Deep breath. There are plenty of us out here that love what you do and believe in you. Enjoy your break and know we'll be here when you return. :)

Jori Hodgson said...

I bought my jelly beans at Harmons here in Utah. I also bought some a few weeks ago at Walmart (same kind) they're the jolly rancher brand jelly beans! Hope that helps, so you don't have to go ordering online or anything!

LauraDimples said...

Dried egg gourds also work well for dying, and work a bit more like eggs than wooden ones! :D

Michele said...

Oh my gosh all these ideas sound so great! I don't have kids yet but am so happy to hear I don't have to "miss out" on any of the things I enjoyed so much as a child!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

For those of us who plan ahead for these things (not me) If you paint your wooden eggs with a WATERPROOF MATTE (non shiny) white paint, and let them dry several days, they look and dye a LOT like "real" eggs, AND the dye will absorb much better and brighter.

Little Miss Cupcakes said...

Growing up in my family the kids were far apart in terms of age.... So my own mother used the plastic eggs as a way to make hunting fair. We were each designated specific colors to search for. This allowed my parents to hide eggs in appropriate spots for different ages. and it also made the end result fair.

Just a thought for those plastic eggs next year

Rebekah said...

I love the idea of using wooden eggs! I'm sure I could find those at my fabric or craft store. Thanks for the idea!

C.S. said...

A new product on the market developed specifically for kids with egg allergies is Eggnots.

Easter With Egg Allergies: The Eggnots Story

Several years ago, my niece was diagnosed with food allergies, with eggs among the list of items she is highly allergic to. Her parents quickly learned how to read ingredients on food labels to identify foods safe for her to eat or even touch. This education is an ongoing process for our entire family.
I've always enjoyed gathering with my seven nieces and nephews for seasonal activities and holiday celebrations. For years, one thing we could never do was dye Easter eggs. My heart broke to hear that while her classmates in school, church and scouts were coloring eggs, my niece was separated from the other children and the activity.
I researched for other options, but found there was no allergy-free product on the market that could serve as an Easter egg alternative.
Thus, Eggnots was born! I created a dyeable ceramic product that allows my niece and her little sister to have the experience of coloring Easter Eggs. Watching these two children enjoy coloring Eggnots was, and continues to be, an emotional experience.
It is my hope that other families will be able to enjoy this same experience.
www.eggnots.com

Elle Moss said...

I ordered eggnots today! They look great. Thank you for making an alternative product!!!