I remember Easter being a pretty great holiday when I was growing up. Coloring Easter eggs with those Paas tablets was really fun, and the Easter bunny always provided us with a really decent selection of chocolate, Peeps, and jelly beans. Then, of course, there was the main event: the Easter egg hunt. Ours were always indoors — northern Illinois in March or April is too chilly to be going outside that early in the morning. And, it turns out, there are plenty of ways to spice up an indoor Easter egg hunt, whether you're in the same boat weather-wise or just looking for a rain contingency plan.
My family's version of "spicing things up" was not one I'd necessarily recommend. Rather than plastic eggs, we hunted for the very real hardboiled eggs that we'd colored a few days before. That definitely heightened the sense of anticipation for an indoor hunt, because there was at least one occasion when not every egg was found (at least, not until we sniffed it out a couple of weeks later).
A couple of tips: Depending on how patient you are, you might want to limit the hunt to one room or one part of the house. We always stuck to just the living room and the dining room, which were right next to each other. More than that, and you may find the search dragging on well past breakfast time. Also: if you're going to use real eggs, maybe don't wing it like my parents did. Make a list of all your hiding places so that you don't end up discovering any forgotten eggs — by smell — well after Easter is over.
1. Word search
If your kids are at the age where they're learning to spell, you could put their burgeoning skills to work with this idea from She Knows: Put a letter inside of each egg, and make it so that all the letters together form a word or phrase. You could color-code the eggs by child, so each one gets their own word, or you could encourage teamwork by having them combine their letters to create one phrase. The prize is... a sense of achievement? Or something more tangible, if the Easter bunny is feeling extra generous.
If your kids are a little younger and just learning the alphabet, you could carry over the same idea and just have them find 26 eggs with letters inside, and help them put them in order. If you want to make the letters neat and pretty, try this free printable from About a Mom.
2. Map it out
If your kids are really little and still learning what this whole egg hunt thing is about, they'll probably need a few big pushes in the right direction. You can try using the free printable footprints at Embellish Goods to guide them from their room to the eggs. Or, as Current Blog suggested, unwrap a ball of yarn to make a trail leading around the house and ending with their Easter basket. You can stash eggs and other treats along the way to keep them going.
3. Make them work for it
They're going to be on the highest of sugar highs all day, so why not wring out some of that excess energy by giving them exercises to do? She Knows suggested putting an instruction inside of each egg like, "Do 10 jumping jacks," and having the kids complete the exercise before they get a piece of candy. For tiny tots, you could simplify the directions to age-appropriate things like, "Do a bunny hop" or "Sing a song," as Current Blog suggested.
4. Blindfold the kids
Kids really enjoy games of "you're getting warmer/colder," so why not carry that over to an indoor Easter egg hunt? Put a blindfold on them and gradually direct them to each egg, as Current Blog suggested. Bonus: with this version, you don't actually have to do the work of hiding the eggs.
5. Get tricky with hiding spots
If your kids seem to always know exactly where to find their eggs, try getting a little tougher with your hiding spots. The Cafe Mom offered suggestions like: in between books on the bookshelf, inside the dishwasher, amid remotes and game controllers in the TV cabinet, in the toothbrush holder, inside shoes, or in a dollhouse. Additional options from WikiHow: tape an egg underneath a chair seat, or unscrew the lightbulb from a lamp and place an egg in the socket.
6. Turn off the lights
This is a particularly good solution if you're heading off early on Sunday morning to spend the day with grandma and grandpa. Rather than wake up at the crack of dawn to fit in some festivities, move your egg hunt to the night before. Use glow-in-the-dark eggs, turn off all the lights, and hand out flashlights so the kiddos can see where they're going, suggested Current Blog. For an extra treat, throw in some pastel-colored glow sticks and glow necklaces. The kids definitely will not mind that they don't get to do the hunt on Easter morning.
7. Turn the tables
Once the kids have found all the eggs, have them turn it around on you, suggested She Knows: Close your eyes while they hide the eggs, then you have to find them. You can up the stakes by having them give you a time limit, and maybe giving them a prize if you haven't found them all by then.
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