Easter sometimes marks the unofficial start to spring. Bunnies, chicks, eggs, and flowers all spring to life and children seem to feel the energy in the air. I have put together this list of Easter activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that will keep them having fun and learning too.
Here in the Midwest, the weather can still be unpredictable around Easter. If it allows in your area, any of these activities can be done outside to soak up spring’s warmth.
Christ-centered Easter activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can be found here.
Easter Sensory Bin
An Easter sensory bin is for everyone and is going to have lots of bright spring colors. For this one, I use paper shreds used to fill Easter baskets as a base. Add-ins include, plastic eggs, spoons and tongs, mini baskets, chicks, jute carrots, and spring flower tops. There are lots of textures and colors for the senses, but the utensils and baskets make great practice for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Activities for Babies
Unless it is an art activity, babies seem to be left off a lot of true activity lists. The fact is, even the littlest ones can have some Easter activity fun that is beneficial for their age.
Sensorimotor type play is the primary way infants learn. This activity can provide several options to stimulate the senses.
Simply refrigerate a bunch of whole, large carrots until they are nice and cold. Orange carrots are fine, but if you can find the rainbow variety, they will be extra fun. Be sure to wash and/or peel if desired as they will likely end up in the mouth. Present them to your baby and talk about their temperature, texture, and color.
For older infants, provide Easter buckets to be used as drums. The carrots will make great drumsticks!
Plastic eggs are abundant this time of year and with the ability to crack them open and fill them, they make eggs-cellent vessels for sound makers.
Fill eggs with pebbles, tiny bells, chocolate eggs, small paper shreds, or anything that will make different sounds. To ensure the eggs do no pop open during play, place a few drops of glue on the edge before closing. Encourage little ones to shake or even just bat them around during tummy time. Not only will they hear all the different sounds, but they will also discover cause and effect.
Eggs on a Ribbon
For our littlest ones still using activity gyms, secure a ribbon through a plastic egg. To do this, I tied a knot on one end and closed it inside the egg. Tie the other end securely to the arch of the gym. Make sure the ribbon is no longer than 18 inches or is just within arm’s reach to prevent strangulation.
Babies can swat at the colorful hanging eggs while exercising their hand-eye coordination and cause and effect skills.
Stuffed Bunny Play
Who doesn’t love a good snuggle with a cuddly bunny? Real ones are cute – we have two of our own – but the stuffed variety will be much safer for them and babies.
Put out different types of stuffed bunnies for babies to explore. Try to stick to ones with stitched eyes to avoid choking hazards. Find ones with different textured and colored furs and in varied sizes.
Interact with baby by hopping to and from them. Do they follow it with their eyes? Is there a bunny they seem to prefer? All of this builds social skills. If you are a caregiver in a center, make note of these for a parent log. They will love to hear about the fun they had!
Peep Play w/ Bonus Process Art
The sugar coated marshmallow bunnies and chicks make fun manipulatives for little ones. They are squishy, have a rough, but sometimes sticky, texture, but best of all, are edible. Now, I don’t recommend giving them specifically to eat, as they would be a choking hazard for those not ready to chew, but you can worry less when they put this material in their mouth.
When babies are exploring, prepare a paper with a few blobs of paint. Present the paper and let them use the marshmallow treat to stamp, smear, and wipe the paint around. The treat may start to melt and that’s okay! This changes the texture of the Peep and allows the experience to change as babies play.
Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
All of the following activities are best done with toddlers and preschoolers. There are many ways to adapt them to make them suitable for your child(ren) and their developmental level. Get creative and have fun!
Magnetic Egg Hunt
An egg hunt is something I love to do with children as young as toddlers. Keeping it simple by just laying out the eggs around the room or in the yard works great for them. As they grow, the will need something a bit more challenging.
Older toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy doing a magnetic egg hunt. To do this, put something metal inside half of the eggs. These could be nuts, bolts, or paper clips. Hide all the eggs as you would for an Easter egg hunt. Give the children a magnetic wand and tell them to only collect the eggs that are magnetic. Not only do they get to hunt around for the eggs, but they will also have to test it to see if they can pick it up or not.
This activity is great for problem solving skills and even cooperative play if you break children into groups in a classroom setting.
A bunny hop activity is not very original by itself. However, it is what you do with it that makes it fun and unique.
This can be tailored to meet the needs of your child or children in the classroom. One way to start this activity is to create large egg shapes out of paper. If you want to be able to use them for multiple activities and have access to a laminator, I highly suggest getting them laminated. Next, write on the eggs using the topic you are working with. For example, write the letters of the alphabet, numbers, colors, or shapes. Children can work on recognition and ordering.
Another topic can be name recognition. This works well in a classroom where all the children can look for the egg with their name by hopping to it. If you aren’t in a classroom, throw in some other names, so your child can find theirs. Older children can try hopping to the letters in their name to practice spelling it correctly.
These are only a few ideas, but children can bunny hop to anything you want them to learn. Not only is it great cognitive practice, but it also works those gross motor skills.
Patterning is an important step in development. It allows children to use problem solving and critical thinking skills. It also solidifies the comprehension of colors, numbers, shapes, or whatever other method used for creating patterns.
Easter eggs are great tools to use when patterning and there are many ways to use them. Here are a few suggestions, but always feel free to twist them to make them your own!
Use plastic eggs to create color patterns. They can be used whole or halved to produce more materials and prevent rolling. Make up pattern cards for younger children to follow or challenge older children to create their own patterns.
Another great way to do patterning with eggs is to assemble shape stripes on a paper egg. Toddlers can use bigger, simple shapes that are pre-cut to make short patterns. Preschoolers can begin to cut their own shapes or use smaller ones to make longer patterns. This gives the opportunity to build more than one pattern and make them different.
Finally, Easter eggs come in a variety of sizes and even shapes and styles. Provide a basket of mixed eggs and let children explore. Chances are some will start to create patterns all on their own!
Sink or Float Eggs
Empty plastic eggs will float on their own. But what can we add to them to make them sink?
After posing this question to toddlers, present a tray with several items that will fit inside the egg. These can be rocks, puff balls, beads, nuts, etc. Make sure there is a mix of heavy and lighter items. Preschoolers can look around the room and find something they think might make the egg sink.
Have children make guesses about which items will make the egg sink or float. Teachers can create a chart if they like.
Next, test the hypotheses by placing the items in the egg one by one and dropping them into a container of water. Do they sink or float? Make note of it on your chart if desired. Move on to the next item and continue until all have been tested.
Talk about the weight of objects and what the sinkers all had in common. See if they can find anything else to make it sink now that they know what will happen.
As a color matching activity, this is great for toddlers. Simply halve a bunch of plastic eggs and let them match the colors and put them together. Older toddlers can try to match halves of shapes drawn onto the eggs.
To kick it up a notch for preschoolers, write numbers on one half and make corresponding dots on the other half. Have them match the numbers to the right amount of dots to work on quantification.
Contact Paper Bunny Face
This activity could be done individually or as a small group. To start, cut a section of clear contact paper. Use smaller pieces for solo work or larger for group work. Draw the outline of a bunny head – it doesn’t have to be perfect! Preschoolers can draw on a bunny face for themselves, but toddlers may need assistance.
Peel off the backing and lay the contact paper sticky side up. Allow children to fill the bunny outline with cotton balls. Toddlers also like to unstick things, so don’t be surprised if they take them back off. Some of the cotton will still stick to the paper and create a furry effect. This will also allow the contact paper to be adhered to a piece of construction paper for display or as a keepsake
To make it more fun for preschoolers, have them use clothes pins or tweezers instead of their fingers to place the cotton balls on the paper.
This activity develops fine motor and spatial skills. When working in a group it can promote cooperative play, social skills, and turn taking.
Carrots for Bunny
Every-bunny loves carrots!
You will need pretend carrots either from the play kitchen area or decorative jute carrots. In addition, a bunny head with a hole cut out for the mouth attached to a box will also be needed. I found a 12-pack box from soda pop worked well.
Prop the box up, just a bit, to create a small incline. This will help the carrots get into the bunny’s mouth easier.
Children can stand a distance from the bunny head and toss the carrots to the mouth. Distance can be determined by age and ability. Keep score if you like!
Stacking Egg Halves
This is probably the simplest activity on the list and all it requires is some plastic eggs.
You or the children can break the eggs in half and stack them on top of each other like blocks. See how tall children can make them before they fall over. They don’t sit flat like blocks, so keeping them straight is the key.
Create patterns, sequencing stacks, or make charts about how high each child builds. Toddlers will love to stack a few and knock them down. What else can you do with egg stacks?
Stuff an Egg
Don’t put those plastic eggs away yet! I’ve got one more eggy activity left.
Provide a small bin with stuffable items and plastic eggs. Items can be cotton or puff balls, sensory bin fillers (rice, corn, beans), small wads of paper, or anything else that will fit inside the eggs.
Encourage the children to stuff the items inside the eggs and close them. This will require a bit of fine motor skill, but also will promote spatial recognition, problem solving, critical thinking, and hand-eye coordination.
Preschoolers can walk around the room with their egg and try to find other items to fit inside. For toddlers, you could put a few items in the bin that won’t fit for them to discover.
Felt Easter Shapes
Because it sticks to itself without any adhesive, felt is a great way for children to create new things again and again.
Start with a large Easter shape like a bunny head or an egg. Provide regular shapes like triangles, circles, rectangles, crescents, and squares. Children can use them to create a bunny face and decorate the egg. When they are done, they can disassemble it and do it again.
This solidifies shape recognition and promotes abstract thinking as they use shapes to represent other ideas like circle eyes and triangle bunny nose.
I hope these Easter activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers provide a bit of fun during this spring holiday season!
If you are still in need of some items to fill those baskets this year, be sure to check out Today’s Deals to pick up something fun at a discount!
Have a Hoppy Easter!