Set the scene by drawing on inflated balloons with paint pens (we used Sharpie Poster Paint Extra Bold pens).
To get guests into cottontail mode, give them ears cut from stiff white felt. With white glue, add pink felt inner ears. Run a line of hot glue (adults only) along the ears' bottom edge and stick them onto a headband.
See how to make these adorable eggs on the next slide.
Boil up a bunch of eggs in advance, then invite guests to create simple, no-mess Easter beauties. For the polka-dot version, make tissue paper dots with a hole punch. Apply a glue stick to the egg, then adhere the dots. (Use a wet cloth to dampen your fingertip so that the dots will cling to it, then press them onto the egg.) To make the striped eggs, wrap them with pieces of pretty washi tape or patterned paper tape (available for around $3 to $5 per roll at craft stores and craft-supply websites).
Put a new twist on the traditional braided Easter loaf. This yeasty treat is blooming with rich, sweet flavor -- and the dyed eggs are edible, too.
The bake-sale classic gets all dressed up for Easter Sunday. To put this seasonal spin on your favorite marshmallow-cereal treat recipe, add 10 to 12 drops of food coloring to the warm butter-marshmallow mixture (for multiple hues, first divide the mixture, then color it). Stir in the crisped rice cereal as usual, then spoon it a bit at a time into plastic egg halves coated in cooking spray. Join the halves, let the egg sit for about 10 seconds, then pop out the treat. For the polka- dot version, press some fruity cereal rings onto the plastic egg's oiled surface before spooning in some undyed marshmallow-cereal mixture.
Your peeps will love these cute fruit salads. To make four servings, toast 1 cup of shredded coconut in the oven at 300° for about 9 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Mix in 1 cup of granola cereal. Fill four small bowls with cubed fruit. Create a loose nest by topping each bowl with 1 cup of vanilla yogurt and 1 cup of the coconut-granola mixture. Add green grape eggs and a marshmallow chick.
Make this crowd-pleasing main dish before guests arrive, then keep it warm until chow time. For each burrito, place a scoop of scrambled eggs (save the eggshells for making the Perfect Little Posies on the next slide) and a tablespoon of shredded cheese at the center of an 8- or 9-inch tortilla. Fold up the bottom, then fold in the sides. Place it on a baking sheet, seam side down. Use kitchen shears to cut a slit into each burrito's open end. Gently fold the flaps into ears as shown. The burritos can be kept in a 200° oven for up to an hour; just before serving, add quartered grapes for eyes, the tip of a baby carrot for a nose, and chive whiskers.
Pay homage to the rabbit with a fun and functional utensil wrap-up. Fold one corner of a square orange napkin toward the napkin's center. With its opposite corner pointed at the bottom, wrap the napkin around a set of green plastic flatware and tie it with two 11-inch lengths of green rick-rack.
These tiny bouquets double as table decorations and take-home favors. Stick play clay in the bottom of rinsed eggshells, insert real or artificial flowers, and make stands from strips of scrapbook paper shaped into rings and secured with tape.
These winsome garlands are also an engaging hands-on project for the whole family. For extra party fun, tuck little treats inside the eggs before hanging them and invite guests to choose a critter to open for a sweet surprise.
You will need:
NOTE: Many plastic eggs have two or three small holes at each end. If yours don't, heat the tip of a darning needle over a candle flame, then poke the holes where needed to accommodate the string or wire (an adult's job).
Here's a clever idea that ensures the big moment of the morning is equally fun for toddlers and tweens. Sort treat-filled plastic eggs by color and wrap buckets (we used plain half-gallon paint buckets, $3.48 at Home Depot) with matching strips of colored paper. Assign a color to each child. A younger guest's eggs can be set in easy-to-spot places, while the older kids' can be tucked into trickier nooks and crannies. When it's time for the hunt, give each child her bucket and let the quest begin.