Hunting for Easter eggs is a childhood rite of passage and a time in which families come together to celebrate the spring season, enjoy the warm sunshine, and watch their kids take part in a tradition that generated elation during their youth. But across many cultures, an egg is not simply an egg, it is so much more—a symbol of fertility, new life, and even luck. The hunt, as thrilling as it is and can be, holds its own representation too—the discovery of all things new. So, when your kids are pawing through your garden plants or peeking behind the patio furniture, it's also a great time to talk about your family's traditions and what the Easter season means to you.
Here are five Easter egg hunt ideas—candy and candy-free—to spark your imagination and get you into the spirit of things:
- Hunt for eggs at night - Hunting for eggs during the day is how it's traditionally done, but hunting for them at night really ups the ante! Give each kid, or "hunter" of any age, their own flashlight. Make sure that there aren't any dangers or obstacles in the way, and put on some music. Most kids love to be out at night, and this way of hunting for eggs will scratch that itch. Note: You may need to hide the eggs in more obvious places than you would during the day, and avoid any "scary" hiding spots. Another great nighttime hunting idea is to paint your eggs—plastic or real eggs will work—with glow-in-the-dark paint!
- Scavenger hunt - If your hunters are older kids, you can try a more sophisticated way to find treasures. Try a scavenger hunt. Don't limit yourself to the backyard either! Trace the path you want kids to take. Start and end at home, and at each step along the way hide an egg with a piece of candy and a clue inside. When they have found the final egg, they can redeem it for the grand prize. If you have adults helping out, this is also fun with younger children. Just make sure to keep the clues easier to understand and follow.
- Hunting by color - Before you begin, separate your eggs by color. Make each color worth a value. For example, blue colored eggs may have a small prize, pink eggs have candy, and golden eggs have money. Ensure the eggs with smaller prizes are more plentiful, and keep one "golden" egg hidden for each child who participates, which will hold the biggest prize.
- The No-Candy Hunt - Yes, Easter egg hunting is pretty much all about finding candy and then eating every bite. However, for various reasons, not everyone is into the candy aspect—and that's okay! There are still ways to enjoy an Easter egg hunt without the sugar high—and resulting crash. Rather than hiding candies in your eggs this year, hide fun "coupons" for activities or things your kids like, but don't normally get to enjoy. For instance, if your kids are into music, tuck a "coupon" to download a song. Most are only a dollar! Or, write out a "get out of a chore free" coupon, or one they can redeem to stay up later one night or choose what to have for dinner. There's no need to spend like crazy on candy if you start to think about the long-term things your kids might really enjoy.
- Hunting for a song (or a dance!) - Another non-candy way to enjoy an Easter egg hunt is to turn the hunt into a big family activity or game that gets everyone, of all ages, involved. Write out various activities on scraps of paper and tuck them into the eggs. When all of the eggs have been collected, open them up, read the instructions, and perform them. For example, "Sing 'The Star Spangled Banner'", or "rub your stomach while tapping your head", or "have a somersault race with mom", or "make up a poem". There are so many ways to get your family up and moving that hunting for Easter eggs will be just part of the fun!