Just before Easter, I learned to make Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs) at a workshop here in Berlin. I was then quite eager to try it out with my own kids as part of our Eastertide activities. So I ordered A Kid's Guide to Decorating Ukrainian Easter Eggs that came with the dyes, beeswax, and a kistka (the tool for applying the beeswax).
I tried it out first with my 8-year-old son, who really enjoyed the experience. The most difficult part for him was drawing the actual design on the egg. I suggested that for the first egg, we should actually try to follow one of the designs in the book, in order to learn how it's done. Not an easy thing for this creative fellow to do!
He had no big problems applying the beeswax with the kistka, although there were a couple of splatters here and there. One potential problem for children is that they load too much beeswax into the kistka and then it comes out in a blob on the egg. This definitely happened a couple of times. I also think an art exercise like this one helps children to learn patience. Making pysanky is a tedious, but rewarding process.
I also decided to limit the colors to four (yellow, orange, red, green) until we got the hang of what we were doing. I added blue to our third round.
This is what the egg looked like after the final color of red was added:
Here is the fun part where we melt the beeswax and rub it off with a tissue to reveal the design. Afterwards, you need to varnish the eggs with a non-water soluble medium. Then, you can either blow the inside out or leave the egg intact.
Our first two eggs looked like this:
In our second round, my six-year-old daughter joined in. She also enjoyed applying the beeswax with the kistka. The process proved to be a little long for her and she became a bit impatient towards the end. Her egg was not as detailed, but still very beautiful.
Here are all of our finished eggs. They are on our table and we enjoy looking at them as we eat!