Last Easter we discovered the Mexican tradition of Cascarones – filling blown eggs with confetti and then smashing them on Easter Sunday. We had so much fun that I knew it was going to become a tradition for us, and sure enough this year we made cascarones again.
1. In the run up to Easter I blew (rather than cracked) as many eggs as possible when I was using eggs in cooking – last year we only had 6 eggs, this year I knew we’d need many more, given how much fun we had.
Actually I developed a technique for getting the egg out of its shell without blowing, and without making two holes – I held the egg so the less pointy end of it was upright, then I firmly but not too forcefully pricked the top of the egg with a metal skewer. This created a little hole and from there I was able to “pick out” bits of shell, creating a hole large enough (about the size of a 50p coin) for the entire egg to fall out of, keeping its shape – very useful when I was doing fried eggs!
2. The girls prepared the filling for the eggs. In addition to some shop brought confetti we made our own by using a hole punch and some coloured paper, and also by taking small pieces of tissue paper and rolling them up into tiny balls (the size of a pea).
All our various confetti, plus a load of glitter was added into the egg shells by the girls. If you have blown your eggs the conventional way and there are two holes in the egg, simply put in a larger piece of tissue paper first, to cover the smaller hole and prevent the glitter from falling out. Last year we also added rice which we had dyed using food colouring and I would recommend this as it gives the eggs some weight – not too much, but just enough to make smashing the eggs a little easier for little people.
3. Once the eggs were full of glitter/confetti we sealed them. I put a ring of glue around the large(r) hole in the egg and the girls covered this with a piece of tissue paper. Tip: cut up some squares of tissue paper ahead of time as my girls found it a little difficult to tear the tissue paper into squarish pieces – instead they kept getting strips of tissue paper, as that’s the way the paper easily tears.
4. We left the glue to dry. Last year we further decorated the eggs by dribbling glue all over and then showering them with glitter, but this year we just kept things simple.
5. On Easter morning we had an egg fight – throwing the eggs at each other and making a huge mess. In the hands of a boisterous teenager the eggs might become rather more dangerous missiles, but for little people the eggs are light enough not to hurt when you’re struck by one. The mess made is rather enormous, and certainly a large part of the fun. Our garden (several days later) still looks like someone got married there!
Naturally enough I had been on the look out for a book to go along with all this egg throwing fun. There are several picture books available specifically about cascarones but I wasn’t able to get hold of any of them – though in case you want to look for them for next year here they are:
Instead, by good fortune, I happened upon Egg Drop by Mini Grey – I can hardly imagine a better book to go with this activity!
Egg Drop could be summarized as a 21st century version of Humpty Dumpty, but to leave it at that would being doing a disservice to this very funny little book about an egg that wanted to fly. The poor egg does indeed come to a fairly sorry end, and cannot be put back together again, all because…
The Egg was young.
It didn’t know much.
We tried to tell it,
but of course it didn’t listen.
If only it had waited.
This story about exuberant, youthful faith in the possibility of achieving what the more life-weary would (perhaps rightly) say is impossible is a very humorous read for parents. Although M and J have enjoyed the book a great deal, I don’t think they found it quite as funny as I did (“Why should the egg have waited, Mummy?” “Well, then the chick would have hatched, and what to chicks have…?” “….uh?…mmm? wings….?” [insert quizzical look from M rather than a lightbulb moment].
Egg Drop was Mini Grey’s first (published) picture book and I think the narrative shows that she hadn’t quite found her feet in terms of story telling to young children. That said, her illustrations were clearly spot on from the start. M and J really enjoyed the pictures showing different attempts at sticking the egg back together again – that page has been poured over with lots of giggles and a few squirms of delightful disgust!
Egg Drop: ** (2 stars)
Whilst making our cascarones we listened to:
Other crafts that could have worked well with this book include (all found via The Crafty Crow):
Some advance warning: Next week will look a little bit different here on Playing by the book – it’s the Easter break here and so M is off school and we’re enjoying playing as a family. All this means that instead of offering book reviews next week I’ve a series of posts on where I find inspiration when it comes to kids’ books and kids’ activities. Hopefully you’ll be able to share some of your favourite sources for inspiration too! Hope you all have a great weekend – do check back in on Saturday sorry, I meant Friday, to see if you’ve won a prize in my giveaway