Easter Egg Hunt ideas (with NO Chocolate!!!)
I know that for many people, Easter is all about chocolate. People just love it and cannot imagine a life without it! But what if your children are tiny and they haven't even eaten chocolate yet? Or what if you don't want to kick-start a battle with sweets by introducing them too early? Or what if you just don't want to deal with the tantrums that ensue after your children wolf down the chocolate eggs? What if your kids want to have another go of a hunt and you've run out of chocolate? Or, in my case, what if your little one doesn't actually like chocolate? (it does happen!). For these times, we need to play with new and creative ideas.
Here are 5 things I've tried out on my own children, my family and my playgroup kids;
- Hide decorative eggs - Last post I wrote about the thrill of hunting down hidden things in Hide and Seek games and Easter is a perfect time to play! It is easy to find decorative eggs that can be used year after year for the Easter Egg Hunt, whether they be plastic or wooden. The more colourful they are, the easier they will be to find (perfect for the smaller players). Some may have a string attached and can be hidden in trees or on bushes. Hide others in little nooks and crannies. Get creative and think about what your child would love the most. You know best whether they can reach up high, if they have a favourite outdoor play area and how well-hidden the eggs should be. Put in as much or as little effort as you like! A handful thrown onto the grass will be delightful for some children and requires minimal effort!
- Paint real eggs - The simplest way to do this with small children is to boil the eggs first, then let them cool. Use mud, paint, textas or food dye to colour the eggs. Let the children be creative and get messy. If you'd like to do a more ornate pattern, then definitely get your own hands dirty too!! (If you choose to paint eggs before Sunday morning, then make sure you use paint that won't wash off with the early morning dew!)
- Make mud, salt-dough or clay "eggs" - Kids and mud make a perfect combination. Let little fingers and hands, brains and bodies be stimulated by mixing dirt with water, squishing it and making egg shapes. Of course you might have to use your imagination with some of the "eggs" the kids create, but this is all part of the fun. Use colourful petals to decorate or paint them once dry. Otherwise you may never find them once hidden!
- Paint some rocks/big leaves/seed pods - This is a favourite in Nature Play sessions. It captivates the kids attention for longer than I first imagined was possible! You just need some simply paint colours, a few paint brushes and rocks/leaves/pods of any description. I always prefer to do these activities outside so that floors and furniture don't get too messy. Again, let the kids be as creative as they like with their painting and make your own if you'd love to see a neat, colourful pattern. Let them dry off in the sun and start your hiding games!
- Hide their favourite toys - One Easter I decided to sneakily take a few toys out of circulation a few weeks early and then hide them for the hunt. The kids were young at the time and unaware of our society's desire to consume new things every year, so were thrilled to discover something familiar hiding in the garden!
If you are going with the Easter bunny tradition, and you're hiding eggs before Sunday morning, you may choose to create the above ideas yourself. If you'd love to spend time crafting with the children instead, then go for it! After the first hunt, the kids may be so excited they want to repeat it again, and again, and again! (unless it's chocolate, in which case they may just want to eat, and eat, and eat!). This is the beauty of using something other than chocolate for the hunt, as you're setting up a habit where the thrill of the game is in the finding, not in the sugar consumption!
I am a fan of real chocolate, but the health professional in me knows too much about children's health to be comfortable with a sugary Easter frenzy for all. If you really want to put chocolate in the hunt, then invest in a smaller amount of better quality chocolate. There are many companies making delicious, healthy chocolate, with awareness of issues such as sustainable cacao farming, cutting out palm oil, using sweeteners other than cane sugar etc... So do a little research while your kids sleep and make a better choice for their bodies and their world.
Happy Easter. Hope it is full of good food, family, friends, outdoor play and adventure.