Dyeing Easter Eggs with Toddlers
As a child I loved dyeing Easter eggs. and every year I look forward to dyeing Easter eggs with my boys. It can be a bit stressful dyeing Easter eggs with toddlers, but the experience is worth the mess in my opinion! My twin toddlers (19 months) loved dyeing Easter eggs this morning, and I wanted to share with you what worked well for us to make this a pleasant and stress free project.
How to Dye Easter Eggs with Toddlers
- hard boiled eggs - I boiled the eggs the day before to ensure that they were cool and ready to be dyed.
- distilled white vinegar - I didn't measure. I added roughly one tablespoon to each container.
- food coloring - For toddlers I like to keep it simple. I used red, yellow, blue and green. I added 25 drops of color to the containers. Initially I used less color, but after adding water the colors were light. I wanted vibrant colors.
- containers - I used containers shallow enough for small hands to put Easter eggs in and out of but deep enough to cover an entire egg while dyeing.
The Set Up
I prepped everything while Tank and Peanut were in their high chairs eating breakfast. I didn't want them trying to grab everything before it was ready. I knew this was an activity that would require my full attention, and so I didn't want them to be able to start touching the supplies until everything was fully prepped.
The Location - Outside!
After breakfast I took the boys outside where the invitation to dye Easter eggs was already set up. I highly recommend making egg dyeing with toddlers an outdoor activity if weather permits. This eliminates any concerns about potential spills.
As Tank and Peanut dipped the hard boiled into the containers of colored water I allowed them to play freely. I only gave instructions when they looked to me for prompting. The only "rule" I gave was encouraging them not to dump the water out of the containers. I used the phrase "Keep the bowl on the ground," instead of negative instructions like "Don't spill." Toddlers respond better with clear instructions. I do my best to tell my boys what to do instead of what not to do.
Expect a mess. It is inevitable. We did this outside and in our jammies on purpose. I planned our egg dyeing for a morning when we didn't have anywhere to be, so I wasn't rushed or stressed about the clean up.
Easter egg dyeing with toddlers is all about the process, not the end result. Through the process they get to explore colors and mixing, textures with the hard eggs, temperatures, cause and effect as the eggs change colors, teamwork and taking turns, and much more.
Tank pointed to each bowl and looked at me to say the colors.
He tasted the dye and immediately decided he wasn't a fan of the vinegar flavor.
Both boys watched each other and took turns with each color.
Peanut repeatedly dipped the same egg in the blue again and again and watched it get darker. He was truly fascinated.
Tank never left an egg in the dye for long, so his eggs were only slightly tinted.
Like I said, the end result isn't the focus here. The process of creating and exploring is much more important to me than perfectly dyed eggs.
The Clean Up Plan
I had towels nearby in case I needed to wipe hands or faces quickly. I had an empty egg carton handy to leave the eggs to dry. When the boys were done dyeing eggs I stripped their jammies off before taking them inside. *Please note, food coloring stains hands for a few days.* If you are worried about clothing here are laundry tips to avoid stains and keep clothes bright.
Peanut put eggs in and out of the empty egg carton.
He even put plain white eggs in the carton. I think he decided that was more fun than dyeing them.
Tank, on the other hand, put eggs in and out of colored water again and again.
Peanut decided they were through by dumping all the water. The empty containers entertained him for another ten minutes.
Dyeing Easter eggs with my toddlers was a delightful experience, and I'm glad I took the time. If the mess concerns you I encourage you to read my Tips and Tricks for Messy Play post. Exploration in the early years is important to develop creativity and self esteem, and it is worth every minute. At the same time it can be overwhelming! With a few tips messy play like painting, playing in the mud or dyeing Easter eggs can be enjoyable both for children and parents.
For more Easter activities for toddlers follow me on Pinterest.