Easter egg hunt ideas

By Roberta Pescow

Easter egg hunts are a timeless favorite for kids everywhere. Plan ahead to help yours to go smoothly and safely for everyone involved.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: Decorations

An egg hunt takes on an almost magical dimension when it unfolds in a beautifully decorated yard. Here are a few ways to transform your property into an enchanted Easter egg garden:

Streamers: Drape and hang pastel colored, crepe paper streamers over tree branches, outdoor furniture, fencing and porch or deck rails.

Balloons: Metallic or pastel balloons float gracefully when tied to tree branches, chairs, railings or weighted centerpieces.

Cutouts of eggs, chicks, rabbits and carrots: Hang these on fences or the trunks of trees.

Garlands: Hang Easter garlands made of plastic eggs, spring flowers or even peeps candy from tree branches, between trees, over outdoor furniture and around porch rails.

Eggs: In addition to the colorful eggs you'll be hiding around the yard, hang some from your tree branches.

Table: Get your picnic table into the holiday spirit with an Easter themed tablecloth, fun centerpieces and tableware.

See Easter Decoration Ideas.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: Preparing Your Eggs

These easy tips will help you prepare the perfect eggs for a safe, fun egg hunt:

- You'll need 10 to 12 eggs per child, so plan ahead and make sure to purchase enough.

- If you're inviting very young children, be sure not to fill plastic eggs with anything that could be a choking hazard. For the very youngest kids, empty, large plastic eggs may be the safest choice, and you can have kids exchange them for safe prizes later.

- Depending on the age of your kids and the size of your eggs, some fun prizes to put inside eggs could include candy, stickers, friendship bracelets, temporary tattoos, movie tickets, gift cards, costume jewelry, dollar bills or coins.

- If you've got kids of varying ages, you might want to color code your eggs based on age, and fill them with age-appropriate goodies.

- Consider designating a "special" egg that wins a grand prize for the child who finds it. You can fill that egg with a gold coin, or just a piece of paper that says "congratulations" in pretty lettering.

- You may also want to have a "hard luck prize" on hand for the kid who finds the fewest eggs. After all, everyone should go home happy.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: Hiding Your Eggs

Now you're ready to hide your eggs. To keep things fun and interesting:

- Hide eggs at or below kids' eye level, where they don't have to climb to reach them.

- Choose age-appropriate hiding places. The youngest kids do best with eggs right out in the open. Easy spots such as in a potted plant or behind a tree work well for preschoolers. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of more creative hiding places.

- If you've got kids of varying age levels, consider designating separate search areas for different age groups.

- Hide your eggs a few hours before guests arrive.

- As you're hiding your eggs, keep a list of hiding places so you can retrieve any eggs that aren't found during the hunt.

To protect your kids' safety:

- Never hide eggs near electrical outlets or plugs. - Choose hiding spots far away from glass or other breakables. - Don't hide eggs in holes in the ground or holes in trees. - Hide eggs far away from your doghouse, dog run or pet food bowls.{}- Never hide eggs near poisonous or sharp, thorny plants.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: During the Hunt

When it's time for the kids to start searching for eggs, defining clear boundaries helps insure their safety and keeps the hunt manageable. You may want to use some crepe paper steamers to rope off the search area, or post some bunny signs on trees to let kids know where they're supposed to be. These other tips will help kids have lots of fun at your egg hunt:

Have some sunscreen on hand if kids will be outside for a long time.

Provide festive bags or baskets for kids to collect their eggs. You may even want to have them decorate their bags or baskets earlier in the day.

To keep things interesting for older kids, vary the game with a team egg hunt or a scavenger egg hunt, or provide a treasure map and make this a treasure egg hunt.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: Foods for Your Hungry Hunters

After the hard work of finding all those eggs, your guests are bound to get hungry. Serving fun healthy foods helps to offset all the candy they're getting in those eggs, and hopefully prevents sugar-induced meltdowns. Here are a few ideas for healthy Easter snacks:

- Use food coloring to create pastel colored scrambled eggs, deviled eggs or ham and eggs.

- Make a "bunny punch" by mixing carrot juice, fruit juice and seltzer.

- Cut cheese sandwiches into bunny or egg shapes.

- Serve baby carrots with hummus or other dip.

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas: Working with Mother Nature

No matter how much planning and preparation you put into your egg hunt, you can't guarantee that the weather will cooperate. You'll need a contingency plan for rain or wet, muddy ground. If you've got the space, an indoor egg hunt can be as much fun as an outdoor one! Hang all your streamers, garlands and cutouts inside, decorate your kitchen table, and hide the eggs in safe areas of your house that respect your privacy.

Whether your egg hunt ends up on the front lawn or in your house, your guests will go home with big smiles, lots of goodies and happy memories.

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