Perhaps the most time-honored tradition for children in Washington D.C. is the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Dolly Madison is usually credited for initiating this Easter Monday event somewhere around 1809-1817. Originally families with young children would roll Easter eggs, colored by the children of the President and staff, across the lawn of the Capitol. As this activity took its toll on the grounds, the tradition stopped in 1876.
There is a cute little tale of how children armed with Easter baskets confronted President Rutherford B. Hayes about the cessation of the event. The President and his wife were charmed by the kids and reinstated the tradition in 1878. Since then, children accompanied by an adult roll eggs on the lush South Lawn of the White House unless poor weather conditions or wartime cause it to be cancelled.
After it had been reinstated, the only president to skip the annual White House Easter Egg roll was Franklin D. Roosevelt. But thankfully, this tradition was brought back after Eisenhower came to term.
Presidents, First Ladies, and celebrities have attended this event where children hunt for eggs and collect candy in addition to the Easter Egg Roll. As a souvenir, each child receives a wooden egg signed by the President and First Lady.
Besides being a fun activitiy for kids and families, the White House Egg roll has also had it's historical milestones and memorable events. First lady Mamie Eisenhower was the first to invite African American children to participate in this event during President Eisenhower's term. And only in 2009 did President Barack Obama invite same sex couples and their children to take part in this age old activity.
Organize Your Own Egg Roll
Even if you can't make it to Washington D.C, you can still organize your own egg roll right in your yard! Set up a "track" for the eggs to roll down - complete with a start line and finish line. Use hard boiled eggs, and make sure you pick a terrain with a downward slope.
Have kids decorate their own eggs beforehand so they can tell them apart. Give them the creative freedom to decorate as they see fit. At the end, have the top 3 take a photo in the "winners" circle for a truley memorable experience.
The President may have a huge lawn full of celebrities, but nothing can beat a beautiful day with friends and family. And who know, maybe the Easter Bunny will hop his way over to join in on your race!