When I was a little kid I so looked forward to Easter and the Easter Egg Hunt! We lived on 20 acres of land that had tree “forests” and open meadows and was perfect for the ultimate egg hunt. And the score of eggs was AWESOME!!! The Easter Bunny, aka my father, went all out planning, prepping and hiding the eggs and mini trash cans (not sure where he got these but to this day they are my favorite as was the candy inside!) Rain or shine, there was always a hunt. Those hunts are some of the fondest memories I have.
While I have not yet gotten an opportunity to pay homage to my father’s well executed Easter egg hunts, even before I was married, I’d started planning for the day that I could do the same for my children, help them create similar memories and experiences. Below is my take on the Easter egg hunt based on what my father did as well as some cool ideas I found for a twist on the concept.
Having grown up in a large family that at one point was not well off, my father learned the value of upcycling – turning something used or about to be thrown away into something new and fun. Now this didn’t always work to our advantage as my father never threw away anything…we are talking stacks of old tires, magazines, and oh so much more. But one of the things that he did upcycle well was our Easter eggs.
When I was a kid, pantyhose came in extremely durable large plastic eggs – see the eggs in our baskets in the photos. I bet several people are going, “Huh? Pantyhose came in eggs?” and others are going “Pantyhose?” but they were really, really cool and stood up to multiple years of use. I can remember seeing a snake’s length worth of egg halves stacked together in my mother’s closet, never knowing they were waiting for Easter. (Hey, I was under 6 and there was a disconnect, what can I say?)
Then Easter Sunday my father and mother, I mean Easter Bunny, would have filled the eggs and planted them in our yard.
A Good Easter Egg Hunt Requires Some Stamina
A good hunt should be one that requires you to work for your stash but it should not be impossible. We were always told the boundary of our hunt…usually about 5 acres… so we knew where to search. When we went outside, baskets in hand, we also knew to look for the “grass”. Our eggs and goodies were always nestled in the neon green plastic grass. But my father made sure there was enough grass poking up in order for the nest to not be missed. Some you could easily see by standing on the front stairs of our house but others required you to keep your eyes peeled. They were nestled at the base of trees, by stairs, on the other side of a small land rise, in a flower bed and so much more. You had to look for them but as long as you looked, they could be found in plain sight. Its not advisable to hid the nest under something else, especially with little kids. They can and will miss it.
If you want to add some learning, for younger kids who are starting to learn map reading, draw a map with the “treasures” marked. They can then use the map to find the eggs. You can also help younger children learn counting by numbering each egg and coordinating to a location on the map. Or you can just number each egg and before they open them, have them put the eggs in numerical order. You can also let them know how many eggs are out there in the hunt for each child. Have them count as they find them.
For older kids, you can always create clues to the locations. Start by putting the first mildly to moderately cryptic clue in their basket to lead them to the first nest. The next clue will be in that nest and so on. The clues shouldn’t be super easy like, “Check out the kitchen.” Rather, a little more tricky, “If you are looking for an egg-tra stash of goodies, you will need to find the place where eggs get fried.”
Roll with the Weather and Take a the Party Indoors
One Easter it was pouring outside, and in North Carolina pouring means the equivalent of taking full bucket after full bucket and dumping them out. So there would be no Easter Egg Hunt outdoors. But we got a call from the Easter Bunny (yes we really did not recognize our dad’s voice over the phone), that hunt had been moved indoors. But unlike outside, we had to look under every nook and cranny, behind and under. We found the mini trash cans in the fruit bowl, eggs sticking out of my parent’s bed’s pillows, the bathtubs, sinks, and even in the cookie jar…the grass hanging out was a give away. It was just as much fun. They key was to make sure that where ever you hid the eggs, they could be spotted, even if it took a little grass to give it away.
Equality is Important
This is so true when working with little kids. The Easter Bunny always made sure there were exactly three of each item in a nest…three eggs, three trash cans or three chocolate bunnies…one for each of us. We each had our own basket and each got to pick up “our” egg. Early on, the eggs were even labeled with our names. Way smart.
These days you can do this by assigning a color or two to each child. They are only allowed to pick up the eggs that are their color.
Add Some Whimsy to It
Consider buying some carrots with their greens still on them. After cleaning them, nibble the ends off and leave them at the beginning of the hunt as if the Easter Bunny left his leftovers. You can pair this with some powdered sugar or flour bunny footprints. Younger kids will totally love this. Remember, we believed the Easter Bunny actually called us!
Work with What You Have
I ran across this really cool idea that I think would work perfectly as either a grandparent or loved one sending an Easter Egg Hunt to their grandkids or nephew or niece, etc. If you live in an area that the yard is too small, or your living area is too small or just not conducive to an Easter Egg Hunt, this is an awesome idea. All Things Cute blog tells about the basket that is a box. Its a large box filled with grass and eggs and the only way to access the eggs is to hunt for them through the little windows. I might try this for my husband someday or my son when he goes to college since he wants to go somewhere out of state…I will make it masculine and college “dude” appropriate.
Add a Little Competition
If you are doing a hunt for a larger group or with more than one family, it might be fun to add a little competition. Consider hiding special eggs…perhaps a gold egg…and make it a competition for who finds it. You can also do a competition with whoever finds all their eggs first or even who ever finds the “Old Maid” card or something similar in their eggs. To make it an official competition, you can even award cute Easter Trophies. I saw these (see the photo) on Curly Q Mosaics and though how adorable and festive and thank goodness they are DIY! Its a fun way to add a little spice to the hunt. Though I will say I consider this approach great for adults and slightly older (5 years or more) kids.
Enjoy planning your hunts! Would love to hear your ideas too!