Programmes like this demonstrate that problem-solving and building solutions together can be great fun as well as an opportunity to learn a great deal from each other. The Dangerous Book for Grandads has several great suggestions for such activities, and now the weather is finally warming up a bit Grandad and the grandkids can venture into the shed to try some dangerous experiments, build a Heath Robinson contraption or, perhaps, to create a record-breaking egg-carrying machine.
In the USA egg drop projects are a popular and fun way to teach scientific principles to young children – see, for example, http://eggdropproject.org/ A recent episode of Modern Family featured an egg-drop competition between Manny and Luke, demonstrating what a smashing time can be had by all the family when problem-solving together!
Of course, as The Dangerous Book for Grandads points out, Easter is the best time of year for egg-related activities. There is a section on Easter traditions that Grandad may like to partake in with his grandchildren. For example, painting eggs, egg rolling and pace-egging. What is dangerous about this you may ask? Well before you paint an egg you need to blow an egg – and this comes with the risk of getting egg on your face (and everything else) if you don’t do it correctly. Luckily our friends at the fantastically useful Instructables website (ideal for the creative Grandad) provide a guide to blowing eggs successfully: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Blow-Egg-Out-of-Egg-Shells/?ALLSTEPS
When I was a child we used to roll painted eggs down the steep hill on which the village church stood. We would blow eggs, paint them and then roll them down the hill to see which would travel the furthest without breaking the shell, with a ‘valuable prize’ for the winner. Dangerous for the eggs, particularly when the dogs joined in and chased the eggs down the hill, and grandads and grandchildren may take a tumble if they run after the rolling eggs. There was also a competition for the best painted egg (which took place before the egg-rolling for obvious reasons!).
Easter egg rolling takes place all over the world and is a centuries-old tradition. There is an annual egg roll at the White House, presided over by the US president:
Take 4 eggs, 1 lb. of castor sugar, 4 oz. of butter and the rind and juice of 4 lemons.
Break the eggs separately into a basin, beat slightly, add the other ingredients and stir over a gentle heat in a pan of hot water for about 20 minutes, or until thick. Pour into dry jars, cover down securely, and store in a cold, dry place.
Lemon curd is a wonderful addition to whipped cream used in a spring Pavlova or roulade. It can be used as a filling for lemon sponge cakes and it is super on toast for breakfast.
If Grandma has plans for all her real eggs for her Easter baking then you could make papier-mâché eggs instead. This is very easy – you use a balloon as the base, blown up to the size of ‘egg’ you are after. Then you soak strips of paper in flour and water paste (or some other glue) and lay the soaked paper strips on to the balloon in several layers. Try to create as smooth a surface as you can as this will make painting the finished eggs easier. Dry the papier-mâché eggs thoroughly. When they are dry you can pop the balloon using a pin by the knot (leave the deflated balloon inside the egg or make a small hole in the top of the egg so that you can gently remove the balloon). Once the eggs are completely dry the grandchildren can paint them to create Easter decorations. Varnish the painted eggs and they will last for many years. Please note that using papier-mâché eggs for egg rolling is definitely cheating!
Eggs represent new life and the resurrection in the Christian tradition but eggs also symbolise fertility and the rebirth of spring in many ancient pre-Christian traditions too. Now spring has sprung and the grass is rizz thoughts often turn to love. That old romantic William Heath Robinson took the opportunity to portray Easter eggs as a useful way to woo a potential partner. This is a technique that he did not include in How to be a Perfect Husband surprisingly so this is one for hopeful swains to add to their springtime wooing toolkit:
For more reviews of The Dangerous Book for Grandads visit the web page for the book at http://www.wordstothewise.co.uk/the-dangerous-book-for-grandads.html
Have a very Happy Eggy Easter!