Coloring eggs for Easter was a yearly tradition. I don’t know how many days the colored eggs sat in a basket on the kitchen table, but I am certain it was not just a day or two. We ate them, and no one got sick.
A week or two before Easter, our mother hard-boiled several dozen eggs. The oilcloth on the kitchen table was covered with newspapers as we filled mug after mug with different colors of water in order to decorate our eggs. I remember that smell of vinegar and the sound of spoons clinking in the mugs as we colored egg after egg.
When our kids were growing up, I colored eggs with them – but it seemed my boys weren’t as intrigued with this business as my girls.
This week we had two munchkins visit us for a few days, and then 48 hours after that, three more came to hang out for a few. I decided it was time to color Easter eggs again. Only this time, the food coloring I used was a gel. Now I don’t know what I did before I had gel food coloring! I ordered mine off Amazon almost a year ago, and in addition to using it for coloring play dough, it’s been used for decorating cookies and cupcakes. I have also used food coloring to make the stuffed Easter eggs. That was before I had my gel coloring, and when I make these stuffed eggs this week, I’ll be using the gel coloring, and I’m certain they won’t need to be in the water that long!
The recipe is so simple that you will wonder why you don’t do it more often.
If you’re using a regular food coloring, you’ll need about 20 drops per 1/2 cup of water. If you choose to use gel, you’ll only need 5 drops to bring vibrant colors to your eggs.
To each 1/2 cup of water, add 1 Tablespoon vinegar (white) and 5 drops of gel food coloring (more if you want it really vibrant, and less if you’re into pastel colors.) Mix those three ingredients together with a metal spoon, then put your egg(s) into the different containers. It will only take a few minutes to color the eggs, so check them often.
If you want to make a math lesson out of this, predict how much longer the eggs need to stay in the colored water if you use half the amount of drops. There are any number of math problems you can use with this project!
My munchkins helped stir the vinegar and gel color into the water. They thought it was so much fun, and so did I. (You really need to excuse the backdrop in my photos. I hadn’t planned on doing a blog post on this, as I’m sure you can tell by all the things hanging out on my countertop.)
This is a great activity to get rid of some rainy-day wiggles in kids. They are busy with their minds and their hands, and they’re having fun while learning.
I’ve had a busy week at my house. During five of the past seven days, I’ve had extra kids hanging out with me. Even the squirmiest of kids sat still for this project!
For a few of the eggs, we sat them on a wire whisk so they were only partly in the water. Then we turned the egg around and colored the other side a different color.
Little man was so intrigued by the colors of the water and would have stirred it for hours.
And little miss? She was in her glory, especially when she got to wear my daughter’s VT apron to protect her clothes.
I used the empty carton from the eggs to store the eggs as they dried. Then we wiped them out and returned the eggs to the carton.
We had quite a few splotches, and our two-toned eggs could have looked better, but considering that I was the only adult in the kitchen, it was a success.
Don’t you think it’s more fun to do things like this when you’ve got a few kids to help? I do!
For this set of eggs, I increased the water to 3/4 cup and added the same amount of gel and vinegar. The eggs were lighter in color, as I expected.
Anybody can tell they’re not done perfectly. I’ve always chosen the help of kids over perfection.
This week, two sets of kids went home happy with eggs they had helped color. It was fun making memories together.
- Hard-boiled eggs (as many as you'd like)
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 5 drops gel food coloring OR approximately 20 drops regular food coloring
- Bring water in a kettle to a boil
- Add eggs, cover with a lid, and simmer for 12 minutes
- Remove eggs from boiling water
- Run cold water over the eggs
- To chill quickly, place in iced water
- To color eggs, mix water, vinegar and gel coloring with a metal spoon
- Put eggs into colored water and remove when desired color