Obama reprised what has become an annual reading of Maurice Sendak's children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are." With a group of children arrayed before him, Obama mimicked the book's monsters, gnashing his teeth and growling and challenging the youngsters to a staring contest.
But if there was a feat he did not want to repeat, it was his 1-for-15 hoops shooting from last year. This time, the president, an avid basketball fan and pick-up game player, missed his first two shots from the foul line of the White House's outdoor court, and then sank his third.
Wearing khakis and with his sleeves rolled up, the president also hit tennis balls, posed for photographs and joined his wife in encouraging children in an Easter egg roll race.
Mrs. Obama also participated in a healthy snack cooking demonstration with celebrity chef Marc Murphy and cast members of Disney's "Jessie." The group prepared fruit salad with honey and kale smoothies.
"I have a smoothie like this almost every day," she said, adding that she likes to include green apples and ginger in her green drink.
Mrs. Obama did her own storytelling, making an appearance with the family's dogs, Sunny and Bo, who quickly disappeared for their own walks with National Park Service staffers. The first lady read "My Garden" to the youngsters and asked what non-foods they would grow in their garden. After the children replied "money," she said, "Wow, this is a very sophisticated crew."
"You guys have big dreams," she added. "I love it."
The White House was expecting 30,000 people to take turns participating in the event on the South Lawn.
Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.