Easter is steeped in both religious and secular traditions. Each year on Easter Sunday, many families feast on ham or lamb. Hot cross buns may be served as morning treats. And faithful Christians may dress up in their Sunday best to attend religious services.
Easter egg hunts are another time-honored component of this festive occasion. According to History.com, the Easter bunny and his eggs may initially have been derived from stories about an egg-laying hare introduced to Americans by German settlers during the 1700s. Children would make nests and the hare would leave behind colored eggs.
Children often relish in the idea of scouring their homes and yards in search of brightly-hued plastic or hard-boiled eggs. A little planning on the part of Easter egg hunt organizers can make this festive tradition even more fun.
· Set the date: If Easter egg hunts are more than just family affairs and involve neighborhood searches or hunts with a close knit group of friends, it may be smart to schedule in the days before Easter. This helps ensure that a good crowd will be available. Hunts on Easter itself may not get as many participants because celebrants could be at church or celebrating privately.
· Gather supplies early. Easter decorations and plastic eggs sell out rather quickly, so it's wise to stock up on items as soon as they reach store shelves. If you'll be using real eggs, consider boiling and coloring the eggs a week before the egg hunt so you won't feel a time crunch. Simply store the dyed eggs in the refrigerator until ready for use. Color around six to 12 eggs per participant.
· Designate a search area. Aim for a relatively private spot for the egg hunt. A park may seem like a good idea, but people who were not included in the egg count could wander in. If you use a public space, rope off an area where the eggs will be hidden. Have a backup plan if the weather won’t cooperate. School gyms, libraries or church recreational centers are some potential indoor options.
· Have pails at the ready. Some children will forget to bring a basket. Therefore, have extra, inexpensive pails or buckets on hand. Sturdy gift bags also work in a pinch.
· Keep ages in mind when hiding eggs. Avoid choosing hiding spots that can be dangerous or prove too difficult for kids to find the eggs. Prior to hiding eggs, count how many you have, which will help to ensure all eggs were actually collected later on. Next, identify hiding spots that will work for various ages. For example, toddlers will need conspicuous spots and older children more challenging nooks and crannies. A map of where every egg is hidden can help as well. Real eggs may not matter outdoors since wildlife could simply dine on any undiscovered eggs. However, plastic eggs are not good for the environment and every attempt should be made to collect them all.
· Send children out in stages. Let the youngest kids go first, and then group each search team by ascending age. This helps make sure the older kids won't simply snatch up the more easily found eggs.
· Reward with prizes. Be sure each child has some sort of takeaway prize, and the best egg hunter with a more substantial prize.
· Gather and celebrate. Encourage guests to bring a small dish to contribute. After the hunt, everyone can gather to enjoy some refreshments.