Hosting family, friends, and children for an Easter egg hunt or Easter brunch should be a snap. You throw deviled eggs on the table, dye some eggs with a pre-packaged kit, hide some chocolate-filled plastic eggs around the yard, and call it a day. And while such a modest investment of time can result in a pleasant holiday gathering, with a little bit of extra work you can have an Easter egg hunt that is truly unique, fun, and special.
To help you figure out how to plan the most special Easter egg experience this year, we emailed with Parents editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello to find out what advice she had to give for parents and first-time Easter hosts. From ideas for making your Easter egg hunt educational and appropriate for kids of all ages to learning how to decorate your eggs without the use of artificial dyes, there is no limit to how you can make your Easter special this year.
What tips do you have for creating a one-of-a-kind Easter egg hunt?
Color-coded egg hunts are a great way for everyone to feel like they have a specific role in the search, and it’s equally as fun for younger children as it is for older children. You can sort the eggs by color and hide them in whatever space you are using. Personalize baskets by wrapping corresponding colored ribbon for the color each child should be looking for.
If you have multiple children, you can turn it into a game, tell the kids what number of eggs of each color to look for and see who can fill up the color-coded baskets first.
The younger guests’ eggs can be placed in easier to find places such as on the ground or anywhere at low eye level, while the older kids’ eggs can be tucked in trickier nooks and crannies and placed up in higher spots.
Do you find that parents have a strong preference between hiding plastic eggs or hard-boiled eggs for a hunt? Which would you recommend?
I think that more often than not, parents choose to hide plastic eggs for hunts. Plastic eggs are great for adding Easter treasure to the hunt and many parents like being able to hide something inside. However, having the Easter bunny hide the eggs that the family dyed together is also a fun experience. If you do use hard-boiled eggs, make sure to keep a list of the total number and where you hid them. Any eggs not found may begin to give off an unpleasant odor if not found after a week or so.
Each family has their own traditions. At my house, we use the plastic eggs, and inside the girls find either candy (usually) or a quarter, which bums them out!
Not every parent is comfortable with their kids eating tons of candy. What alternatives are fun yet healthy for inside a plastic egg?
Easter baskets and eggs don’t have to only include chocolate or jelly beans! For an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs, any small item will still create a fun element of surprise. You can hide stickers, stamps, or fun erasers. If you have large eggs, a mini-Slinky, bouncy balls, or bubbles might fit. As I mentioned, I also love the idea of putting a few coins in the Easter eggs, just make sure that each child makes their way to one of those eggs.
Another one of my favorite tips is homemade coupons for special treats at home. For example, an extra book at bedtime, a trip to the ice cream shop, or a home movie night.
Do you have any tips for making an Easter egg hunt an educational activity?
I always love a good scavenger hunt. Fill your plastic eggs with a math fact or letter/sound practice and have your children answer the problem, say the letter/sound before running off to find the next hidden egg! This can also be done with younger children – have them yell out the color of each egg before searching for the next one.
How would you recommend altering one Easter egg hunt for children of different age groups?
Height is a big one! You may be able to hide different eggs at a higher eye-level that younger children may not see. You can also designate different areas for different aged children. For example, younger children could hunt in the backyard, while the older ones get the front yard. No yard? No problem. Easter egg hunts indoors are just as fun — and there is often more hiding places!
Do you have any ideas on how to repurpose Easter candy in fun, creative dishes?
Yes! Our recipe for Bunny Pancakes can be made with berry juice to create the pink bunny face and you can add a few chocolate chips and M&Ms from your candy surplus to make the eyes and nose.
Another fun way to repurpose your Easter candy can be done with all of those jelly beans! A swirl bark gets a splash of color from a swirl of food coloring and a handful of jelly beans. You can view the full recipe from Jelly Belly here.
Finally, another Easter candy we end up with extra of are Peeps. Parents.com has a handful of recipes using these sweet marshmallow treats such as kabobs, necklaces, and chick nests complete with eggs!
What are your favorite creative tips for decorating Easter eggs, for adults and for kids?
I love the ombré effect on eggs. All you really need is the food coloring, a measuring cup, vinegar, a glass, and a bottle cap. Another quick and easy idea is marbled eggs, and I just love the way these look!
When I was a kid we always bought the Paas kits. Who knew you can make the same dye at home with a little vinegar, food coloring, and water? So much more control over everything this way.
For parents who are wary of artificial dyes, what alternatives do you recommend for decorating Easter eggs?
There are more ideas here than you might imagine. One of my favorites is for confetti eggs. These are adorable and just about as simple as it gets. Grab (or make with tissue paper) confetti and a glue stick. Rub glue around the egg and then roll in the confetti pieces and then set aside until dry - voila!
Another fun idea is gluing newspaper or magazine word cut outs to eggs. It encourage the kids to try to find Easter and springtime inspired words, rhyming words and more from your magazine collection and then glue them around the eggs. Super fun and minimal mess here too!
Finally, you can’t go wrong with stickers, washi tape, or glitter and sequins!
How do you make hard-boiled eggs and deviled eggs a kid-friendly snack?
The pretty-pink rabbit is one of my favorites. All you need is a jar of pickled beet juice, a carrot, chives, and black sesame seeds. Soak two hard-boiled eggs in the beet juice jar in the refrigerator for at least two days. Remove from the jar and they should be nice and purple. Cut and assembly the eggs into a cute bunny face. Add a carrot nose, chive whiskers and sesame seed eyes. The dish will almost be to adorable to eat!
Do you have any favorite games to play with hard-boiled eggs?
An egg-on-spoon race is super-fun, and children and adults of all ages can participate. If you have a crowd on Easter morning, turn this game into a multi-round tournament, crowning the winner as the Easter egg king or queen of course. Another plus about this one is that if the eggs are hardboiled, you can feel free to play this game indoors or out!