April 9th, 2012
12:16 PM ET
(CNN) – With the Easter Bunny at his side, President Obama kicked off the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll Monday while receiving a warning from the first lady not to get too competitive.
"I think the president is going to try to beat a three-year old," Mrs. Obama said as the president shrugged his shoulders. “I hope he does not.”
As the Marine band concluded familiar medleys from Indiana Jones and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the president briefly spoke to thousands of children assembled on the sunny South Lawn of the White House. He then introduced his wife as “the one truly in charge.”
Mrs. Obama ticked through the day’s myriad of activities, including book readings by actors Julianne Moore and Forest Whitaker, a basketball clinic led by NBA stars Mitch Richmond and Daryll Dawkins, and musical performances by several “tween” performers including Janelle Monae and Cody Simpson. More than 30 thousand children are expected to participate in the day-long activities.
The president himself partook in several of the activities, beginning with refereeing a few rounds of the egg roll as star-struck parents looked on. He soon came to the aid of one young boy who was having a particularly tough time getting his egg over the finish line. When the two managed to get the job done together, they shared a mutual high five before an army of press cameras.
Obama proceeded further down the lawn for a reading of “Where the Wild Things Are,” the classic 1963 Maurice Sendak book. That was followed by a quick stint at the basketball court where the president was forced to complete a couple of pushups after missing three jump-shot attempts.
"Somebody saw me cheating on my push ups," Obama joked after members of the press grumbled he did not fully complete them.
“Smells delicious!” she said.
The more-than century old event officially dates back to President Rutherford B. Hayes, though some historians say the event might go back even further than that.
While the egg roll itself has largely remained the same, some of the day’s other activities have a bit of a newer feel.
“We’ve got a wonderful Yoga Garden,” the first lady said to cheers. “There’s something here for everyone.”