Egg-citing adventures: Chocolate fun with a dash of learning this Easter – Childminder | Connecting parents to children

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  • Mar
    19
    2024

Egg-citing adventures: Chocolate fun with a dash of learning this Easter

Egg-citing adventures: Chocolate fun with a dash of learning this Easter

As we hop closer to Easter, a time synonymous with chocolate eggs and bunny-shaped treats, it’s a golden opportunity for childminders to explore the tradition of chocolate-giving with the little ones in their care. We know chocolate, with its rich, creamy allure, captivates not just the taste buds of children but their hearts too. So, let’s delve into this cocoa-infused world, shedding light on why chocolate is much more than just a sweet treat, and how we can weave it into Easter activities that align with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.

Why children (and adults) adore chocolate

It’s no secret that children have a fondness for chocolate, a sensation that goes beyond just taste. When consuming chocolate, both children and adults experience a profound feeling of satisfaction and happiness. This is largely due to phenylethylamine, a natural substance found in cocoa, which triggers feelings of joy, well-being, and tranquility. It’s as if chocolate whispers to our emotions, promising a moment of blissful peace. Or something.
And on top of that, as if by coincidence, chocolate often comes wrapped in brightly coloured packages, making it visually appealing to children.

The Victorian roots of chocolate eggs

But what’s it all about? The tradition of gifting chocolate eggs at Easter has its roots in Victorian times, evolving from the practice of giving painted chicken eggs to celebrate spring and new life. The Victorians, ever innovative, saw an opportunity to blend this symbol of new beginnings with the indulgent charm of chocolate, crafting eggs that celebrated the resurrection with a touch of sweetness.

Chocolate has been a source of joy for around 5000 years, and its moderate consumption can fit into a balanced diet, thanks to its antioxidants and minerals. It’s a reminder that chocolate can be more than just a treat; it’s a part of our shared history and wellbeing.

Chocolate in Easter activities: A sweet balance

Incorporating chocolate into Easter activities offers a unique opportunity to balance the excitement of the season with valuable developmental goals. Here are some ideas:

  • Chocolate-scented playdough: Various studies, including one from the University of California, have shown that the scent of chocolate can significantly uplift mood and reduce stress. The aroma of chocolate positively impacts our emotional state, fostering feelings of happiness and relaxation— this sensory activity helps develop fine motor skills and creativity without the sugar rush.
  • Easter egg hunts: Mix the traditional chocolate egg hunt with eggs containing stickers, small toys, or clues. This encourages physical activity and cognitive skills, making the hunt a well-rounded wholesome adventure.

Healthy chocolate smoothies: Introduce children to healthy chocolate smoothies. Discussing the nutritious ingredients promotes awareness of healthy eating, blending the joy of chocolate with the benefits of a balanced diet.

A note on the role of ‘discretionary foods’

While celebrating with chocolate, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Chocolate, as a ‘discretionary food,’ has its place in festivities, but its consumption should be moderated. It’s also important to be mindful of not over-controlling children’s eating habits. Overly-strict restrictions can inadvertently lead to disordered eating patterns later in life. Encouraging a healthy relationship with food involves teaching moderation and offering diverse nutritional choices.

The bigger picture: Active kids and balanced diets

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure children enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, with chocolate as a treat, not a staple. Emphasising physical activity, a varied diet, and saving special treats like chocolate for occasions like Easter, helps instill a balanced and mindful approach to eating and health.

Here’s to a memorable Easter filled with happiness, play, and perhaps a little bit of chocolate, all in the spirit of fostering healthy, happy children.

By Ivy Steele