Easter wouldn’t be Easter without a egg hunt. Ever since our boys were tiny, we’ve enjoyed doing one every year. Each time, they’re slightly different – from their first wobbly steps to elaborate treasure hunts. Last year we even did one in the garden of a beautiful Welsh holiday cottage – with the salty tang of sea air.
I know you’ve probably read quite a few Easter themed posts by now, but I can’t resist putting in my two-penneth as well. Here’s everything I know about a good old-fashioned egg hunt…
If your children are really little you can make it as easy as you like. We started off with a few eggs in easy to reach places – flower pots, on chairs, on the lawn – and guided them around the garden. It’s all over in a few minutes, but that’s just about perfect for toddlers. Remember, you don’t actually have to use real chocolate eggs – a few plastic ones are just as exciting when you’re two. Perhaps include just one or two chocolate ones at the end.
Once your children are a little older you can make things a bit more challenging. You can follow two approaches – a general free-for-all, or a hunt based around clues.
If you’re going for the free-for-all, you can make the hiding places quite tricky to make it last a bit longer – under flower pots, in a bush, on a windowsill… One tip is to make sure you hide an egg for each child in every spot. Explain to the children beforehand that they can only collect one egg from each hiding place. This – in theory, anyway – should avoid too many cries of ‘that’s not fair!’.
The egg hunt I really prefer though is one based around clues. This makes it last longer, and it keeps them interested. Children are also much more likely to work as a team this way. Basically, it’s like a treasure hunt. You start with one clue which leads you to a spot with the first eggs – plus another clue to lead you to the next hiding place.
You can make the clues as tricky as you like. I tend to keep mine quite descriptive – something like, I’m round and you plant things in me. But you could think up some really complicated riddles for older children (and adults!). We always finish with the children finding their large Easter egg at the final clue.
Clearly, all these option require an adult to get up rather early (preferably before the children are up) to get things ready. Sorry about that.
What happens if it rains?
A toddler friendly egg hunt can easily be transferred indoors. If you can’t face the mess you can always do what my mum did one year: cut out lots of paper bunny paw prints and lead them to a hiding place. I still remember the excitement of that one!
It’s harder to move a treasure hunt indoors at the last minute if all the clues are for outdoor things. Try and get out even if it’s wet – older children’s desire for chocolate usually outweighs their dislike for rain.
If the forecast looks terrible in advance though, simply plan an indoors treasure hunt instead. There’s actually a lot more scope for hiding things indoors and the clues could be really clever. Plus, you could get it ready the night before without the fear of wild animals or pets eating all your prizes!
One last bit of advice: don’t buy too much chocolate. I know it’s tempting to let them fill their little baskets, but do you really want them to eat it all? Especially when other people will come calling with yet more. Better to stick to a small amount and just let them eat it straight away. You can always give a little present instead – last year we had little cuddly lambs and Lego bunnies.
I hope you all have a lovely Easter!