Continuing on the theme of Easter....
A colleague of mine was complaining about having to fill so many Easter eggs for her classroom. I asked her why she didn't let the kids fill the eggs. After all, that's half the fun of Easter.
I usually ask the parents to send in plastic eggs and filler starting two weeks before the big Easter Egg Hunts (see previous blog). Besides the obvious chocolates, jelly beans, etc., I also ask for non-candy fillers: erasers, small toys, stickers, etc. As the items come in, I thank each parent in our daily e-mail. This usually results in even more donated items the next day. I keep the parents aware of how many plastic eggs we have and how much filler we have so that we get the correct balance (not too many empty eggs!).
The day before the Easter Egg Hunts, I place piles of the filler in the middle of each table. I demonstrate how to stuff each egg. One small candy just won't do, I explain. You have to get as much stuff into the eggs as you can. That usually means filling up both halves and quickly closing the egg before things fall out! I then show them the "Shake Test." Once you close your egg, shake it. If you can hear things inside moving, open it up and stuff in more! The kids have a ball! With 32 students, the eggs are filled up rather quickly. I usually have some parent volunteers in the room. Once the kids head outside for recess, they then perform the "Shake Test" on the eggs that kids have just filled and add more candy where needed.
I use only wrapped candy for this activity. Any bags of jelly beans, M&M's, etc. are used for other activities. One such activity is a jelly bean graph. I make sure to save an empty plastic egg for each student so that once they finish the jelly bean graph, the candy goes into the egg before being put in their basket.
The most frustrating part of this for the kids, of course, is that they can't eat any of it! At least not until the next day (and even then, I only allow them to choose one candy!)