While Easter egg hunts might seem like a long-established tradition in the UK, like Halloween, Easter hunts are family occasions that have really blossomed into a major production in the past couple of decades. Whether it’s just a way to jolly up the first (often chilly) bank holiday weekend of the year, or a big family event in your house, there’s always room for a few new ideas, so read on for inspiration...
5 Easter hunt ideas
By around six or seven years, kids usually crave a bit more of a challenge than looking for gold foil in the flower beds. Here are five fun hunts which should still be easy to organise without too much trouble.
1. The scavenger hunt
Spring is the perfect time to do nature hunts because the debris of winter is still hanging around yet there is enough plant life to make the garden interesting again. Position yourself as ‘Hunt HQ’ with a large bowl of chocolate eggs and a list of items the kids have to go and find. Set them all different missions so no two children are looking for the same thing at a time and when they return with each item, they are rewarded with another egg.
2. The clues hunt
Your gang of hunters have to go in search of a set of quiz answers that, put together, will tell them where the ‘treasure’ is buried. You can adjust the number of clues and questions needed depending on how many children are on the hunt, but if there are three or less, double the number of clues and questions otherwise the hunt will be very short! Issue your hunters with a clue to where the first question can be found. When they find it (along with a stash – the first little chocolate egg each) one of the children will be assigned to answer the question. This way you can tailor questions according to the various ages. Once they have their one-word answer, the back of the card will have a clue to where the next question can be found. Repeat at the next hidden place and so on. When they get to the last question, instead of a clue to where the next question is hidden, instruct them to put all their one-word answers together to form the answer to where the treasure is. E.g. if the destination is ‘Inside mum’s blue plant pot’ then the questions will be things like ‘What colour does Chelsea football team play in?’ (blue) and ‘Who fell asleep snoring on the sofa on Christmas Day?’ (mum)...
3. Photo challenge
Take pictures of treasure locations around your home and garden and then distort them on your computer (using a programme like ‘Comic Life’, for example). Print them out and leave them around as a treasure trail which will lead your children to the final basket of hidden goodies.
4. The detective mystery
Even over-10s should enjoy interrogating grown-ups to find out where a stash of chocolate is hidden. This is especially good if you’ve got family or friends visiting, so you can issue each adult with a ‘character’ who has to lead the kids on a wild goose chase. Issue your egg hunters with a basic story – something along the lines of how one of the adult ‘characters’ has stolen the eggs and has to be exposed by the young detectives. The only way they will discover the thief’s identity is by asking each adult questions. However, they can only ask one question at a time so they will have to run between the various adults around the house or garden to ‘gather’ their evidence. The thief will be the only person who tells complete lies – all the other adults will be telling the truth (whether the question is ‘What’s the capital of France?’ or ‘What were you doing at 9am this morning when the chocolate was stolen?’). So it’s handy if you have an uncle on hand who’s particularly good at winding people up with playful lies and the rest of the adults have to bend the truth so it sounds unbelievable! Once the thief has been exposed he or she must confess to where the treasure is stashed.
5. Pass it on
Issue each child with a small treasure trove of Easter goodies and get them to hide it somewhere in the house or garden. Then each child takes a name out of the hat and they are allowed to ask that named person three questions about where the goodies are buried. If they get it right they keep all the treasure, if they need a little more help they keep the treasure but the person who buried it gets a bonus egg. No fibbing allowed to throw hunters off the scent!
Egg hunts with smaller children
If you have a mix of ages taking part in your hunt, the little ones won’t thank you for giving them a head start – even toddlers like to be in there tussling with the big boys! Instead, buy a bag of the larger hollow chocolate eggs available in most supermarkets which are covered in different coloured foil, then issue each child with a specific colour – if they find someone else’s colour, they leave it where they found it. The older ones will probably whizz round in no time, but they can then play ‘hot or cold’ with the younger kids to help them unearth their booty.
If the thrill of the hunt is a bigger deal than finding basket-loads of chocolate (there’s only so much even the sweetest tooth can bear), let the kids enjoy a short search of treats and then play ‘hunt the cuddly’ instead, placing fluffy teddies etc in the bushes to be rescued by your young explorers.
Not all children like chocolate. No, really! If you buy empty plastic eggs you can fill them with a handful of other sweets – much cheaper than going the all-choc route – or even little party-bag type toys. Plus you can re-use them next year.