How to Organise an Easter Egg Hunt
The Easter egg hunt
But by far the most popular part of Easter (apart from eating the chocolate) is the hunt. Every year I put on my thinking cap an write a set of rhyming clues. This was last year's effort. (Please remember that I have limited, time and am not a poet - these couplets are within the reach of every mother or father out there! But I am writing this so that you can adapt mine if you want to).
My clues are designed to get the kids to run around outside. We have a stable, barns, a stack of rabbit hutches, orchards, gates at front and back. I also give them limited indoor clues. There are ground rules for the Easter eggs hunt. No going upstairs or into the bedrooms. No going into the back of the house or onto the garden. No one is to leave the borders of the property or go into the woodshed, the fields, the vegetable gardens or the barns.
You will have to adapt the clues to your environment and put suitable limits on the game to ensure safety of the children, and of your garden and house!
The Easter egg has come a long way
When I was young, my Auntie Jenny used to make us Easter eggs by hard-boiling eggs and then dying them with onion skins. I think it was onion skins, (I was quite young at the time), and I think she boiled them. I remember them having a beautiful, marbled pattern in lovely, subtle colours. How the commercialism of Easter has moved us all on! But you can still put a lot of fun back into Easter by organising egg-painting, egg hunting and, if you live near a hill or slope, egg-rolling! Easter will mean chocolate - but it can also be a real family event!
Easter eggs hunt vital preparation
I type up and number all the clues in advance. Then I cut them into strips and put them into my pocket. I also print out an original sheet with the clues and put that in my pocket as well.
I then hide the eggs (or rabbits or both) out of sight. You can have several little prizes along the way, but I had a group of children and didn't want to create disappointment, so in this case I just had a big egg each and lots of little ones at the end for them to share out).
The next part is crucial. You must not put the clues out too early or the eagle eyed little darlings will most certainly spot them. You have to get a friend or partner in crime, to divert them - or remove them from the scene of the crime.
I am not the most clear-headed of people and liable to panic (it is amazing how much excitement is generated by this hunt!!), so I write on my sheet of clues where each clue is to be placed, in effect, on the object that the LAST clue related to. So, for example, Clue number 4 would be tied onto the cherry tree.
The Easter Egg Hunt No 3
I start with this little ryming introduction in the hopes of instilling some rules in a fun sort of way - if you just set them off they dissolve into a great screaming mob that run about like headless chickens!
Hiya children, welcome to
A treasure hunt, for all of you.
Follow the clues hidden around,
And see what treasure can be found.
Stay nearby and do not stray,
And success will come your way.
Think carefully, don’t scream and shout,
Use your head and work it out.
Then I set them off to find the clues. The first clue is read out to the children. This clue led to my painting easel, where I have placed within sight of the children, the clue for the next hiding place.
1. If you are artful you will find, the weasel clue will spring to mind.
2. Think what opens up for you, some are wood and some are blue. (Leads to a blue gate)
3. 2 4 6 8, eating cherries off a plate (Leads to the cherry tree)
4. Little Jack Horner sat in his corner, eating his Christmas pie, He put in his thumb and pulled out a ……………………… (Leads to the plum tree)
5. When is a door not a door? (Leads to the front door with a jam jar beside it containing the clue)
6. The horse has bolted, I said before, you must always remember to close the ………………… (Leads to the stable door)
7. The one that finds the following clue, will run the risk of being soaked through. (This one was definitely the best - bear in mind that it can be quite hot and very sunny in Limousin, and this was such a day. I made sure that I was standing at the outside tap and holding the hosepipe. When the children worked out the clue, I quickly turned on the hose and the bravest child had to run under the water and get the clue off the tap. The poor little thing was soaked to the skin, and needless to say the others shrieked with laughter! This clue then led indoors to a cupboard where I had dangled the next clue on a piece of paper tied to a string and clearly visible hanging out of a drawer)
8. How long is a piece of string, (Leads to one of those globe nightlights for children)
9. The world is your oyster and underneath you’ll find the pearl. (Leads to a cardboard box with a hole cut into it the size of a child's hand. I put cold, cooked spaghetti, later fed to the dog, and the next clue was wrapped up in a plastic bag. The Uuugh factor!)
10. In the box and out of sight, Worry not, the worms won’t bite. (Leads to the piano)
11. “Happy Birthday to You”, Play the tune and get the clue. (The clue was given to the child who could play the tune)
12. You’re getting close, you’re nearly there, Remember, all must get a share. (This led to the sofas and at this point I did hot and cold clues)
Just as an indication, the children ranged from about 10 years old down to seven and five. These clues were all quickly and easily solved by the oldest children, it was the 7 year old who could play the piano, but even the little ones enjoyed the screaming and running around. I would say that the best age for these clues would be 7 - 9 years old.
Chocolate Easter rabbit in the rabbit hutch
The year before I bought 'golden rabbits' (rabbit shaped chocolate wrapped up in gold paper) and they were found in the rabbit hutches. The whole hunt can be scaled down to suit a small flat - even flats have drawers, doors, ovens, beds, wardrobes etc which will make good hiding places. Perhaps you could take the children to the local park if the weather is nice. See the clues from last year: Easter Egg Hunts - The Vital Clues for an Easter Game
And after the hunt?
All you have to do is check that they are sharing them nicely, and set to and tidy up the mess. The kids will be engrossed in eating and won't be available to help!
Our own Easter eggs!
At Les Trois Chenes we keep our own hens and geese so we (nearly) always have a supply of fresh eggs from free-range birds fed on natural products. We keep Maran hens, a local Charente breed, that lay wonderful, dark brown eggs. If you go to a livestock show, they will proudly exhibit eggs that are a dark burgundy red-brown, but I have yet to breed hens to produce show quality shell colour! Perhaps these are not the best to decorate though. The geese, on the other hand, lay beautiful, snow white eggs which show up bright or pale colours beautifully.
Easter chicks and goslings
This is what Easter used to be about. An ancient celebration of re-birth and new life when winter gives way to spring, was taken over by Christianity to symbolise the new life that Jesus and the faith gave to humankind. What better symbol of new life than the egg. From this seemingly inanimate object, a chick arrives and, within hours, it is fluffy, pecking and walking around. Now that is what I call a miracle - the miracle of life.
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Paint you Eggs
First hard boil or blow the egg, have a look at the videos below to see how. Then - the world is your oyster! Hold a children's egg-painting or decorating competition. You can just paint them, or you can use wax, as in the illustration, to produce a wax-resist effect or use oil and water to marble them. You can glue on cotton wool, beads, seeds and beans - use your imagination. Have themes - faces are easy for the kids. What about sun-rise or sunsets? Hens and chicks are obvious! The options are endless.
If you can get goose eggs, so much the better. We are lucky enough to be able to keep our own pet geese.
Find out more:
Blowing eggs can be tricky, especially goose eggs!
There are two methods of blowing eggs. Make two holes, one at the top and one at the bottom. Be sure to pierce the membrane and break the yolk. Then blow hard at one end and the egg should run out of the other. Have a look at this video.
You, should, however be aware of the dangers of salmonella. Certainly wash the egg well before you start. You might even prefer to empty the egg with a syringe by 'injecting' the egg with air and so forcing the contents out. The advantages of using this method is that you need only one hole.
A quick and easy way to decorate the eggs
Here is something simple and effective that even quite young children will enjoy doing. Marbling the eggs with oil and food colouring. Put down cloths and dress the children sensibly as it could be a little messy!
Les Trois Chenes
- Painting courses at Les Trois Chenes B and B, Limousin, France
At Les Trois Chenes Bed and Breakfast and self-catering holiday cottage we organise painting courses for adults, but also special Easter Treats. We have Easter chicks and gosling for children to hold, egg-painting and a Grand Easter Egg Hunt.
Limoges Porcelain Easter Eggs
If you look at the map below, you'll see that we're very near the city of Limoges, famous for its beautiful porcelain, and you might like to have a look at Easter Eggs made from Porcelain in this region.
They make perfect Easter gifts and are great collectable items.