Easter is right around the corner, friends! Are you looking for a fun, Easter-ish storytime for your kiddos? We’d love to share one of our favorites, Rechenka’s Eggs, with you.
It’s not technically about Easter, as it’s not about the atonement or about the Easter Bunny. The reason it’s one of our favorites for Easter time is that it’s all about the old Ukranian method for dying beautiful eggs. And around this time every year we like to roll up our sleeves and work on our egg-dyeing skills!
Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco
Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is busily preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she finds an injured goose. She takes the goose, which she names Rechenka, into her cottage to give her time to heal. They live happily together until Rechenka accidentally overturns the basket holding all of Babushka’s lovingly crafted eggs. They broke into millions of pieces.
But the next morning Babushka has a miracle awaiting her in the basket. This is a charmingly told tale of friendship and caring. You’ll absolutely fall in love illustrations!
Reading Rainbow episode of Rechenka’s Eggs
Here is a fabulous Reading Rainbow episode, featuring the author of Rechenka’s Eggs reading the story and then telling about her own Russian Babushka, who taught her how to paint Ukranian eggs as she demonstrates her skill. You’ll love the finished product so much you’ll be ready to break out your own wax and dyes. But where will you get a goose egg?
Literature Activity: Wax Resist Egg Dyeing
You might have to make do with chicken’s eggs from the grocery store. But you can still use the same wax resist dye method that Patricia Polacco demonstrated in the video. You don’t need any special skills or tools, either. You can just use regular old crayons, sharpened to a nice point.
First, hard boil or blow out your eggs. We just boiled ours because I don’t particularly want to save them. But if you want to save yours, you should blow out the contents carefully.
Mix your egg dyes with slightly less water than is called for in order to make the dye brighter, more intense and less pastel.
When you draw your wax designs on white eggs and then dye the eggs, the designs will be white after you’ve melted off the wax. If you dye the eggs a solid base color and then add the wax, the patterns will be the base color. Remember to dye from the lightest color to the darkest color.
Start with line drawings, or fill in areas if you want, then submerge your egg completely in the lightest color of dye. Remove egg and let it dry about 10 minutes. Draw on the egg further, keeping in mind that the areas you cover will remain that color. Dye again and let dry again.
It was just a little hard for my younger kiddos to get the hang of at first, but with every egg they made they got better!
Once your design is finished, it’s time to remove the wax from your eggs. Place them on a baking sheet (I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper to catch wax drips) in an oven preheated to 250 degrees. When the wax starts to melt, after about 10 minutes, it will get shiny. Remove your eggs from oven, and wipe off the wax with a paper towel. They may be quite warm, so be careful.
Literature Activity: Ukrainian Geography
Find and label the capital of Ukraine.
Color Ukraine one color and each border country a different color.
Label and color the Black Sea.
You can learn more about this history and geography of Ukraine at Britannica.com.
Literature Snack: Easy No-bake Bird’s Nests
I know you worked hard on your wax resist dyed Ukranian Easter eggs. So today’s snack is super easy. We’re making 10-minute, edible bird’s nests filled with my favorite — Cadbury mini eggs.
- 1/2 cube butter
- 16 oz package mini marshmallows
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter
- 16 oz package chow mein noodles
- Stir butter, marshmallows, peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the marshmallows melt completely, about 5 minutes.
- Add chow mein noodles to the peanut butter mixture and stir gently to thoroughly coat the noodles.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
- Butter your hands so the noodles won’t stick. Scoop noodle mixture from bowl with an ice cream scoop and form into balls, hollowing the center out to create the nest. Arrange 3 chocolate eggs into each nest.
I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing a few of our Easter traditions with us! We’ve enjoyed having you! Happy Easter!
Would you like some ideas for Easter books to put in your children’s Easter baskets? Books make the very best gifts! If you your books carefully, you’ll grow every time you read them. Books won’t give your kids cavities, or break the first time they’re played with, or leave a mess for you to clean up. They just might save your sanity!
Check out our list of favorite Easter books!
If you enjoyed this fun storytime about Rechenka’s Eggs, check out my other Story Time selections!