I’m excited today to team up with Marnie at Carrots Are Orange (a wonderful blog focusing on developing the whole child) to share with you a special Easter craft designed for children who are grieving. Easter eggs traditionally symbolize resurrection and new life, making this craft a fitting tribute to a loved one.
While working on these eggs, parents can use the time making the craft as an opportunity for children to share memories, talk about their feelings about losing the family member, or even work quietly and just think about the loved one. Marnie, who lost her father at a young age, is posting today some great thoughts on how to encourage good discussion with your grieving children (She also has another insightful post on talking to your children: Kids and Grief.) I encourage you to take the time to read Marnie’s thoughts on children and grief – you won’t regret it!
Supplies for Memory Eggs:
- Either hand-blown eggs, craft wooden eggs, or plastic eggs
- Light weight paper to decorate your egg (scrapbook paper, newspaper, tissue paper, etc.)
- Sponge paint brush
- Matte Mod Podge (puzzle glue)
- Miniature photos of loved one printed on lightweight paper – I used the free Google program Picasa to make a collage, and then printed the collage in a small size. (Tutorial on making a Picasa collage)
- Distress Ink (optional)
Making Memory Eggs:
- Pick a base sheet of paper for your egg. Cut out small strips (approximately 1/4″ by 1″).
- Using LOTS of Mod Podge, cover your egg with the strips. The thicker your paper the more glue you will need. I found that dipping the strips into glue and spreading them on with my hands worked best in the beginning. This step is messy, but the Mod Podge does wash off easily! Note: Thinner paper (such as tissue paper) is easier for young children to smooth out.
- After your egg is covered, let it sit for a couple of minutes until the Mod Podge is no longer wet but tacky. Using your fingers, push down any puckers trying to get the egg covered as smoothly as possible.
- Once the first layer is dry (or almost dry if you are impatient like me!), you can start gluing on your photos and little bits of contrasting colored paper. Scrapbook paper that has words or pictures is great for this step.
- Once you let your egg dry, you can roll the egg on a Distress Inkpad and then spritz the egg with water (optional). This effect looks cool with newspaper!
Simplified Method for Preschoolers: Tear off pieces of masking tape and let your child cover the egg. Routinely help them press down any jagged edges. You can then use distress ink or paint to add some color (don’t use too much water with the distress ink because the masking tape will start to peel off). Once dry, let your child glue on photos.
Our experience making Memory Eggs:
Two years ago, our family was shattered by the unexpected preterm birth of son and brother Reuben. He lived only 30 minutes after birth but changed our lives forever. Ben is still too young to really understand about his brother, but we still made an egg using the simplified method above and talked about Reuben while we made it. His egg is the white one with the little footprints on it. I also made several eggs in memory of Reuben. One I made out of a newspaper clipping about preterm birth, on another I used a simple design of a flower with one picture and the caption “little angel”, and on a third I placed photos on Reuben as well as photos of myself when I was pregnant with him.
I also made some eggs in celebration of my two living children, Ben and Grace, who bring so much joy and laughter into each day.
For those who may want a picture book to go with this craft here are some resources that my friends have found helpful (I have not personally read most of these books):
We Were Gonna Have a Baby, But We Had an Angel Instead
Something Happened: A book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss.
Mommy, Please Don’t Cry
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
The Angel with the Golden Glow: A Family’s Journey Through Loss and Healing
How Can I Help, Papa? A Child’s Journey Through Loss and Healing
Love You Forever
When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (Dino Life Guides for Families)
I hope that this post helps and encourages you.