It just occurred to me that Easter is right around the corner! Time to get organised. Every year on Good Friday we have an Easter Egg hunt for my girls and nephews. The Easter Bunny also hides eggs at our house on Easter Sunday so I have had quite a bit of practice with Easter Egg hunts. I started working on a list of non-food items to put in our eggs for our Easter Egg hunts this year and I thought I would share my list and some Egg Hunt tips with you.
Keeping it fair.
You don’t want the bigger, faster children quickly finding a bunch of eggs and leaving some children with a tough time finding any. We always have a small group of children where the ages are quite varied, this year we will have ages 1 1/2 - 11. Here’s what I do. Assign each child their own color or design of egg that they have to hunt for. Everyone should have the same number of eggs hidden. For the littlest children you can hide them in very obvious places and for the older children you can be sneaky with your hiding spots. Take note of how many eggs and which child has which color. This is easy to remember for a couple of children but when the number is larger you'll want to write it down, especially if you prepare the eggs in advance. You can do this even with the Easter Bunny's hidden eggs too. Just make sure that he leaves a little note so that the children know what eggs he has hidden for them.
Choosing your eggs.
When you buy Easter eggs there are so many choices. In general, I like to stick to the basics as it’s easy to find replacements when you need to restock from year to year. There are regular sized eggs and then jumbo eggs. You can often get the same colour or design in both sizes so I like to have both sizes on hand just in case. If you already have some jumbo eggs it makes it easy to use a larger item if you find that it doesn’t fit in the regular eggs. At the end of the egg hunt, be sure to collect up all of the empty egg halves and pack them away for next year. Children are usually happy to give them up once they have opened them and found the goodies inside. If not, and someone really wants them it’s ok.
Choosing items to fill your eggs.
I always put some candy in the egg hunt eggs, but since my children generally end up with lots of chocolate bunnies and candy filled baskets from relatives (plus the Easter Bunny hides eggs AGAIN when he comes) I prefer to put as many non-candy items in the eggs that I can. If it's warm out you don't want melted chocolates in your plastic eggs -- eeww! If there is a much larger item that you want to give you can always put a photo in the egg or a clue about where to find it and you can hide that item somewhere. Another tip is to take a plastic egg with you when you go shopping. It’s much easier to judge if something will fit in a plastic egg if you have one with you. Toy stores and party stores often have individual loose toys for sale. That’s a good place to start. I also stop by the dollar store, but here in Bermuda it's really the $2.50 store and the selection is limited so I don't usually expect to find too much there. Please be mindful of the age of children that you are shopping for. If there are any under 3s be watchful for choking hazards and take note of warning labels.
Filling & Hiding your eggs.
In all of my experience filling Easter eggs for a hunt this is the best plan that I have come up with to keep it organized and quick. Line up the hunting baskets that the children will use to collect their found eggs. If they are bringing their own use bowls or just make piles. Then start portioning out the filler items into each basket. You can put little name tags on the baskets if there are too many to keep track. Start with special items that you have for each child and then add in the items that are for everyone. It is very easy to keep the piles of loot even this way. Once you have the baskets filled with what you want to put inside move on to the actual eggs. Sort out the eggs by colour and count out the ones that you will need for each child. Toss out any egg halves that are cracked or missing mates. The total quantity depends on the volume of loot that you have as fillers. I usually stuff 15-20 eggs per child. If there are any very young children you should come up with a more tailored plan. For instance for Emily who is only 1 ½ this year I will probably only hide 5 for her right out in the open and they are likely to be filled with cheerios. It’s a cute photo op J.
So now you have all of your loot sorted and all of your eggs sorted. Take one basket at a time and start stuffing those eggs. You’ll have to use your judgment on what goes in each one. You can do one item per egg or any combination that you come up with so that all of the loot ends up in the eggs! When they are all stuffed put them back in their basket so they are ready to hide. Take a basket and make sure you know who will be hunting those eggs so that you can decide how sneaky your hiding spots should be. Next, go around hiding them in your designated hunting area. I always leave one egg in the basket as a starter. It makes it easier for the children to know exactly what eggs they should be looking for. This is important when you have several children or similarly patterned eggs to avoid confusion. If you are doing this for a few kids and the differences are obvious then go ahead and hide them all.
Scavenger Hunt Eggs.
This is a fun concept. Create a scavenger hunt list of clues and put them in your eggs. Make sure to number the clues so that they can be arranged in the correct order. Once all of the eggs have been found, the kids can follow the clues in order until they find the treasure at the end. The clues could be the only thing in the eggs, or just a part of your general egg hunt. If you are doing this with multiple children you could give each of them a clue and then they can work together to find a prize worth sharing or a hidden stash of named prizes for each of them. The treasure could be an Easter Basket, grab bag or other prize. Keep a master list of the clues in case one is lost.
The Golden Egg concept.
I always have one special egg that is hidden in a pretty tricky spot. Not necessarily a golden egg just one that is completely different from the rest, it could be a fun shape or a different size. You should have two of these eggs. One to hide, and then one to show everyone an example of what they should be looking for. We invite everyone at the party to look for the golden egg, not just the children. At our house, if you find the golden egg you win a special prize. You could also fill the golden egg with cash and make that the prize itself. A grown up does not always find the golden egg. Sometimes, the children are hunting so thoroughly that it is stumbled upon during their hunt.
So now that you know how I easily organize a fun egg hunt that is fair for all ages here are
75 fun items to put in Easter eggs that are not food.
- temporary tattoos
- super bouncy balls
- mini puzzle pieces – put some in several eggs.
- special lego bricks – from the pick a brick section
- lego mini figure or friends mini figure
- lego mini building set – spread the pieces over a few eggs
- magnetic alphabet letters for the fridge
- chapsticks in jumbo eggs or mini lip gloss pots in regular sized eggs
- mini nail polish
- polly pocket clothes & accessories
- Barbie clothes
- littlest pet shop critters (not all will fit so be choosy)
- zoobs – put some in several eggs
- mini erasers
- pencil sharpener
- hair clips
- hair ties
- small army figures
- toy bugs & critters from the dollar store
- silly putty
- mini bubbles containers
- charms for a charm bracelet
- finger puppets
- small windup toys
- mini paratroopers
- sticky hands
- shells – for collage/crafts
- chenille pom poms
- foam sticker shapes or alphabet
- small feathers – for collage/crafts
- stick on jewels
- porcupine balls
- mini yo yo
- small pop up toys
- gold treasure coins
- pirate treasure map (that you create to lead to a bigger toy or Easter basket)
- miniature Dora figurines – some characters need a jumbo egg
- play dough – make your own or use a mini party pack of the store kind, save the containers.
- squishy animals
- flip frogs
- linking bunnies– spread over a few
- mini bowling set
- bead sets to make jewelry
- mini stamps – self inking or mini rubber stamps
- small collectible rocks andminerals
- glow in the dark star stickers for the ceiling
- dice (you can find a bunch of children’s game here)
- baby counting and sorting bears
- teeny tiny rubber ducks (Oriental Trading)
- mini race cars
- bendable animals
- mini funny monkeys
- safari toob mini figures – not all will fit in a regular egg, you will have to be selective
- dollhouse miniatures
- character keychains or zipper pulls
- silly bandz
- small spinning top
- small whistles – if you are brave! Very popular last year. Good thing we were outside ;)
- grow capsules
- angry birds (or other character) pencil toppers
- series of clues to create scavenger hunt eggs that lead to a bigger prize
- soft felt pirate eye patches
- Slime or GAK!
- coupons for privileges - movie night, extra half hour before bedtime, TV time etc