What is more American than a good egg roll? Confused? We don’t mean the deep-fried, Chinese appetizer; we mean the good, old Easter Egg Roll. Our first egg roll started more as parental quick thinking than an act of patriotism, though. We had a lot of fun mixing the dye, gently (or not so gently) placing eggs in the colorful liquid and watching them transform. We even threw an introductory physics lesson in the mix while boiling the eggs. It was magic, really.
Once the magic show ended, though, our daughter asked, "What do we do with the eggs now?" Every suggestion we gave was met with disappointment. Put them in a bowl and look at them? That's it? Pretty boring. Wait a week to put them in the Easter Basket? Delayed gratification=no fun. Eat them? Eat my pretty eggs?!
Fortunately, we remembered that U.S. presidents host Easter egg rolling parties at the White House. In fact, we learned that they've been doing it since 1878. With over 100 years of presidential approval, this game must have some magic to it. They wouldn't still be rolling eggs on the South Lawn every Easter if it didn't challenge and delight.
Hours later, we rallied some equally kooky friends, packed up our eggs, a few large spoons and a few other props. Then, we headed to a local patch of grass, and a new tradition was born. That’s all it takes. Dye some eggs, gather some friends or family and hatch your own egg roll this year!
Why is this activity great for kids?
Trying to use a spoon to roll a soft-boiled egg across grass without breaking it demands that kids’ eyes and hands work together, making it great for developing eye-hand coordination and essential fine-motor skills.
Fun as it is (and, it really is), kids also get a lesson in sportsmanship and persistence. Today, many adults work hard to shield kids from disappointment, leaving them under prepared to cope with life. But, there is no mistaking when you crush a soft boiled egg in the grass—you see and feel real results. The egg roll is meant to be fun, so go ahead and give kids as many mulligans as you want. But, you can also feel good knowing that, if and when their egg breaks, they will get some valuable practice with picking up the pieces and rolling on.
Perhaps most importantly, the egg roll is an exercise in self control. Anyone who rolls has to balance the desire to rush with the delicate nature of task. Even those too young not to break the egg are learning about their own limits as they play. Childhood self-control far exceeds intelligence as a predictor academic achievement, and provides the basis for mental flexibility, social skills and discipline. It predicts success in education, career and even marriage. Pretty sophisticated stuff for such a silly and fun Easter tradition!