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With all the bunnies, chicks and jelly beans, who can blame them? It can be easy -- and stress-free -- to include your children in the holiday fun. Keep these ideas in mind when planning some Easter fun with your children.
1. Keep it safe. Make sure all cooking and crafts are done with adult supervision. Give young children plastic knives or small flexible icing spatulas for cutting soft vegetables or decorating cakes and cookies. For crafts, offer blunt-edged scissors and non-toxic and washable paints, markers and glue. Glue guns are for adults only.
2. Keep it Clean: Cover your table with an inexpensive vinyl or oilcloth tablecloth for a work surface that is big and easy to clean. Have plenty of paper towels and damp sponges ready for quick cleanup along the way.
3 Keep it simple: Remember your child's age and attention span before starting any cooking or craft project. Start by preparing quick and easy crafts or treats such as these Flaky Hens' Nests, an easy Easter version of the ever-popular Rice Krispie treat. Melt together 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine and a 10-ounce bag of marshmallows and mix with 6 cups toasted rice flakes cereal (such as Special K). Spray your hands with a little non-stick vegetable coating and quickly form one-third cup of the mixture into a free-form nest shape with a depression in the center. Press 3 jellybeans or chocolate eggs into the center of each nest.
4. Throw a cookie-decorating party: Get into the spirit of the season by hosting a kid's cookie-decorating party before things get hectic--preferably a few days before Easter. Bake sugar cookies shaped like eggs, rabbits, chicks, carrots and baskets ahead of time (you can bake the cookies a week or two ahead of time and freeze them until ready to decorate). Set out bowls of icing tinted in a rainbow of Easter hues and assorted decorations, miniature jelly beans and sprinkles. The kids can eat their cookies right then and there or save them to share with their family on Easter day. Clean, clear plastic carryout containers make great cookie carriers for kids to take home.