Some of the most memorable and imaginative traditions that I incorporated into our family tapestry came when our children were young. The first year I did this Magic Jelly Beans to Lollipop Garden Cake, it was pure magic. I wish I could have captured their reaction on video, but that was before the ago of instant video’s, so all I have is the precious memory of wonder and amazement.
Our stair steps children were 3, 4, 6, and 7 years old, and I could tell that even our seven year old son WANTED to believe.
This tradition is just a simple twist to my Magic Jelly Beans to Lollipop Garden tradition where you plant the Beans outside. It’s precious! (Read that tradition idea as well, because both of these ideas can be used together.)
This twist is a wonderful way for me to incorporate and help teach our children essential character qualities, yet have a memory making experience to help solidify the life lesson.
A week before Easter, reveal the Joy Filled Jelly Beans to your children. Explain to them that this week, you are going to focus on the character virtue of (you choose). Our family focused on one virtue a month, so for us it was unconditional acts of service. It could be acts of kindness, generosity, compassion, simple acts of sharing or what ever your family chooses.
Explain to your children that each time you or another family member observes them doing something helpful for someone or going above and beyond without being asked, then they will get to put one Joy Filled Jelly Bean into the “special growing pot.” (The vase that we used to collect our jelly beans became a prestigious place of honor as our centerpiece.)
Each night at dinner, we would discuss the various acts of service, sharing, or kindness that had been done. I encouraged the siblings to “brag” on each other’s kind acts, and not to boast about their own choices. .
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. Prov. 27:2
Our family dinner time created an atmosphere of celebrating others. It’s so important to practice the importance of encouragement. We spent time sharing about how small little choices of serving others makes such a dynamic difference, not only in our own hearts as we learn to serve and give generously, but also the impact we have on the person we served. Especially if it’s a stranger that we helped, we might not know the difference we had on their day, but it makes it no less important.
This is about being intentional. After you’ve spent the week thinking of others and encouraging your chosen family character quality, you finish by making the Lollipop Garden Cake.
The night before Easter, have your children plant their Joy Filled Jelly Beans from your Growing Pot. Get your little ones really excited about what can happen when we all choose and share our joy, and the impact it can have in the lives of others.
To continue using this as a teaching tool for the character quality, you can ask your kids questions as you are planting the magic jelly beans, and use verbiage such as,
“What do you think happens when we plant seeds of loving kindness every day?” Or “Why is it so important to plant seeds of joy into other people’s lives?”
Then, once your children are asleep, replace the jellybeans with colorful lollipops.
On Easter morning, wake them up with a sense of wonder. Tell them they are never going to believe what happened to their Joy Filled Jelly Beans.
Enjoying watching their sense of delight as they see the transformation.
Reinforce the reason that these “seeds” flourished – small gestures of sharing, serving, and showing compassion to those in need help everything around them blossom.
P.S. As a blogger, it’s amazing to watch our own transformation in our photography and writing in our posts from when we first started.
I came across these pictures from years ago, long before I had a blog. I realized I had never shared this most meaningful tradition, but I had to think twice about putting my “less than perfect” pinterest pictures on this post.
Here’s what I was convicted of again. We do not live in a Pinterest Perfect World, although you can still follow me there.
My life of balancing Beauty and Bedlam will never come close to perfect. It’s about celebrating life right where we are! Our cakes do not have to look like Martha Steward to be magnificent. In fact, I highly recommend using this confetti box cake mix and canned frosting, just like I did.
I can guarantee you that the sense of wonder that will be created, is just as wonderful with a box mix, and the kids will not care if the frosting is ugly or if, like in this picture, you forgot to remove some of the “Joy Filled jelly beans.”
For many more Easter Traditions and ideas, see my traditions category.