Easter is one of the most joyful and anticipated holidays of the year (next to Christmas, perhaps). It signals the end of the long, gray winter season that begins after New Years and seems to stretch on and on until finally, one day, green grass and tiny flowers start popping out of the snow. The coming of Easter means that Spring has finally sprung, with the rebirth of plant and animal life and the ability to finally get out of the house without the need for hats and scarves, and enjoy the rapidly-warming weather. Whether you regard Easter weekend as a religious holiday or a vacation from school, it is always something wonderful to be enjoyed by all, and what better way to celebrate springtime than with a good old-fashioned Easter egg hunt?
There are tons of ways to host Easter egg hunts for children and adults of all ages. Whether you’re keeping a troupe of rambunctious little ones entertained for an afternoon or trying to plan a fun and unique Easter outing for your adult friends, there are ways to create something for everyone. Read on, and you’ll find lots of ideas to get you started planning your perfect Easter egg hunt.
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Real, Hard-Boiled Eggs
Decorating hard-boiled eggs is a wonderful activity for both kids and adults, and there are several ways you can go about it.
- Dye Kits – Around the Easter holiday season, most grocery stores carry egg-dying kits with all the tools and instructions you need to host a lovely egg-dying party with your little ones.
- Paints – If you want to get even more creative, buy some paints in lots of colors and an assortment of small brushes, and let the artistry begin. If you want to get really crazy, buy some glitter or glittery paint to add to the mix.
- Crepe Paper – This method is a little trickier, but creates a beautifully stunning effect. The tricky part will be finding crepe paper that is NOT color-fast. You’re going to want brightly colored crepe paper that bleeds it’s color when it gets wet. The cheap dollar-store variety typically works best, but be sure to test it before you begin the project. To test it, dip an edge of the paper in some water and then set it against a sheet of white notebook paper. If the color runs onto the notebook paper, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, that paper can be saved for gift bag filling. Once you’ve got the right crepe paper, tear or cut tiny pieces off in any shape or size you’d like that will fit onto the shell of a hard-boiled egg. Dip your pieces of crepe paper in water and lay flat against the shell. They should stick and stay there until they dry, at which point you can remove them. This creates a lovely stained-glass effect on the surface of your egg.
Tips for Boiling Eggs: Make sure you buy common, Grade A white eggs at the supermarket, and don’t be afraid to by eggs closer to their expiration date (but not past). Eggs that are very fresh do not make for good hard-boiled eggs, as their shell tends not to peel away very cleanly. If you’d like to enjoy eating your egg after the coloring/decorating process, go for eggs that are a few days older in their package. However, if you’re not interested in eating them, buy whatever eggs you like, only make sure they’re white and not brown.
Plastic eggs are a popular favorite because they can be filled with all sorts of goodies, which makes hunting for them all the more exciting. Plastic eggs can be bought in all colors and sizes, and there are even some biodegradable varieties available, just in case a few eggs are never found during the course of the hunt, or they aren’t properly disposed of after use.
Fillings for Children
- Candy – Use discretion when filling plastic Easter eggs for kids. What is safe and healthy for older kids may not be so for younger ones. Easily dissolvable candies like Smarties or individually-wrapped cookies are best for small children around 2-4 years old. With older children, the candy-filling possibilities are endless, provided your child doesn’t have any particular allergies.
- Toys – You’ll be limited to what you can actually fit inside a typical Easter egg, but party-favor toys generally work well for Easter egg hunts. Bouncy balls, small slinky’s, action figures, fun erasers…these are just a few ideas of small toys you can use. They also typically come in party-packs, which make them ideal for Easter egg hunts for large groups and families.
- Money – Who doesn’t appreciate a little free money? Again, depending on the age-range you’re working with, you can use anything from pennies to dollars. With pennies, you may want to fill an egg with as many as possible, which will seem like a real hidden treasure to a youngster. For older kids, fold up bills of whatever amount you choose and hide them in the especially hard-to-find places.
- Tokens – Another great way to host an Easter egg hunt is to place tokens in the eggs that can be redeemed for prizes later. This is a good idea for much older children, who are perhaps less interested in the hunting aspect and more into the rewards. This works well for larger toys and games that do not fit inside plastic Easter eggs.
Fillings for Adults
- Candy – I’ve found that more adult-friendly candy can be pretty wide-ranging, from miniature candy bars to whiskey-infused chocolates. The candy you choose to fill your eggs with depends largely on the kind of Easter egg hunt you’re conducting or, more specifically, the nature of the group hunting for them.
- Toys – Again, this will depend on the group you’re working with. Use your own discretion.
- Money – This works the same for adults as for children. Choose whatever monetary amount you wish, and it will always be appreciated.
- Tokens – Again, can be redeemed for bigger and better prizes, such as electronics, games, housewares, novelties and so on.
- Alcohol – This is a special item for adult Easter egg hunts, and will require extra-large plastic Easter eggs. 1-2oz bottles of alcohol will generally fit into an extra-large plastic Easter egg, and are always a treat (depending on the group). Additionally, alcohol and other adult-friendly treats can be part of the token-redeeming process as well.
Hiding the Eggs
Now comes the fun part (for you): hiding the eggs. If you’re using hard-boiled eggs, it’s best to keep them well refrigerated beforehand and hide them very shortly before the hunt is to begin. This is especially important if the eggs are more than likely going to be eaten once they’re found. Even if they aren’t for consumption, it’s still better not to hide them too early in advance because they will begin to go bad as soon as they reach room temperature. Hiding plastic eggs is significantly easier because you can hide them well in advance of your Easter egg hunt, giving you plenty of time to be creative about your hiding places without having to worry about the eggs going bad before they’re found. You also don’t have to worry too much about being careful with the eggs, as the plastic will not crack as easily as a natural egg shell. If you do happen to break a plastic egg, don’t worry. Plastic Easter eggs are inexpensive and easily replaceable, and not nearly the amount of time and energy was put into decorating them.
Even More Easter Egg Hunt Ideas for Kids
If you’re looking for more ways to get your kids involved in the Easter festivities beyond just searching for eggs, try a few of these games:
- Egg Race – Give each child a spoon and an egg. Hard-boiled, decorated eggs work best for this game because the egg really will crack if it’s dropped. Have the children place the egg on the spoon and have them balance it there for the duration of a race, either across a lawn or through an obstacle course, depending on the age-range you’re working with.
- Egg Toss – Have kids get into pairs and assemble in two lines, with each child facing their partner. Give each pair of kids one egg and have them toss it back and forth to each other. Every time one child fails to catch the egg, that pair is out of the game and each remaining contestant has to take one step back, widening the gap between them and their partners. The last pair to ave their egg still intact without dropping it wins.
- Egg Roll – This works the same way as the egg race, only instead of using spoons, have the children roll their egg across the finish line.
- Hot Egg – If this sounds similar to the popular game Hot Potato, that’s because it is. You can use a hard-boiled egg or a plastic egg filled with something heavy and taped securely. Have the children sit in a circle and toss the egg around while music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the egg is out. The last child who has the egg wins and gets to keep whatever’s inside the egg.
- Egg Bocce – This game is basically Bocce Ball, but with eggs. Use a plain, white hard-boiled egg as the target and give each child 1-3 eggs. Each child’s eggs should be the same color, in order to keep track of who’s eggs are who’s. Each child takes one turn rolling or tossing their egg to see who can get an egg closest to the white egg without touching it. The child with the colored egg closest to the white egg at the end of 1-3 rounds wins.
Don’t Forget to HAVE FUN!
No matter who you’re planning on inviting to your Easter egg hunt, the key is to have fun. This applies to you just as much as it applies to your guests, whether they are children or adults. Even though you don’t get to participate in the hunt (that would be cheating), take pleasure in being the secret keeper and drop creative hints about the whereabouts of the eggs if people are struggling in their search. Keep it light and fun, and everyone will have a good time.