How to Plan an Easter Egg Hunt for Older Kids
There they are. That awkward assortment of random heights, pimply faces, and ill-fitting jeans that we call teenagers. Huddled together by the breakfast table’s Box O' Joe (well, they can't be seen drinking juice boxes, can they?).
The sun is shining, the colorful eggs are strewn like glittering jewels across the spring grass, and the neighborhood friends and families are gathered. The tots scamper about in their pastel frocks and bunny ears, bursting with excitement about the upcoming egg hunt.
But how about those big kids? It's a wistful age for them. They'd probably never admit it, of course, but they miss this stuff. It's hard growing up: puberty, dating, GPAs and SATs... and now they can't even hunt for candy-filled eggs! They're either too old or too young—it stinks!
So here's a cool solution we came up with for our teens and their neighborhood friends that was a huge hit. Not only is this super-fun, but it encourages team-work, sharing, and even works on their math skills!
How to Set Up the Hunt and Get the Kids Hunting
Before the Hunt
- Sending out an invitation before the hunt lets the big kids know that there will be something for them at the Easter party too!
How to Set the Hunt Up
- If you’re organizing a hunt for little kids and big kids, choose one color just for the big kids, say green (hands off, little kids!).
- Write different numbers, any numbers, on small pieces of paper and put one inside each green egg (no candy yet). It's helpful to write the numbers down somewhere that way you'll know which numbers/eggs come up missing (if any do).
- Scatter all the little kids’ eggs in pretty obvious places as usual, and then hide the big kids’ green eggs in more challenging places (so the little kids won’t find them!)
- Now, set out a large white board and marker. A big pad of paper and pencil works too.
- Get the big kids' prize ready! Fill a gift bag or a grocery bag with candy. Ask a friendly neighbor if you can leave this bag on their doorstep the morning of the hunt. All set!
How to Have the Hunt
- Let the hunt begin! Let the little kids go first, and then tell the big kids to go find the green eggs. This is team-work. They are working together to collect all the green eggs. Be sure to tell them how many green eggs are hidden—they need to find every one of them.
- When all the green eggs are collected together, the big kids open them and write all the numbers they find inside on the white board or paper you set out. It doesn't matter what order the numbers are written.
- The big kids add up all the numbers. The number they end up with is the number of the friendly neighbor's house where the prize bag is.
Note: When the big kids get the answer, they may not know what it means right away, give them a moment to figure it out. They will talk about it, brainstorm, and work together. This is good stuff. And yes, they are having fun, I promise you. Kids enjoy a challenge. Then watch the excitement as they race to the neighbor’s house for the goodies!
Step One: A Few Days Before the Party, Send Out an Invitation so They Know There's a Hunt for Them.
Step Two: On the Day of the Party, Pick a Single Color for the Big Kids.
Step Three: Have Them Hunt the Eggs, and Then Add Up the Numbers.
Step Four: Wait Until They Figure Out What the Numbers Mean, and Enjoy!
- Keep a note in your pocket of all the numbers that are in the green eggs and the hiding places.
- If the kids simply cannot find one or a piece of paper goes AWOL, you'll have to step in and provide the missing info so the hunt can keep going smoothly.
Here are Some Ways to Change it up!
- Use a Sentence: Instead of numbers, write a phrase such as "The prize is on the doorstep of the yellow house in our neighborhood." And put one word in each green egg. When the kids have found all the words, they will need to sort them into the right order to get the clue to the prize.
- Use a Neighbor's Last Name: Instead of numbers, write the name of the family whose house the prize is at, and then put one letter in each green egg. For example: "W-I-L-S-O-N-S H-O-U-S-E" The kids have to unscramble the letters to figure out the clue that will lead them to the prize.
- Add More Math: Make the math harder by putting a - or a + in front of each of the numbers. So when the kids write the numbers down, they have to add some but subtract others.
Why Include the Big Kids?
We've had the neighborhood egg hunt at our house for years. When my own kids were little, including the big kids didn’t occur to me. But as my own started to “age out” and I noticed them just hanging about and watching, I decided some kind of fun plan for them was needed.
This is a great “transitional” activity to keep the tweens and young teens engaged. After all, this is the same group that will turn up on your doorstep on Halloween with a pillow-case and no costume! These big kids still want the fun but feel awkward about joining in.
This age needs a break from all the stresses of growing up, and this activity lets them be kids still. The math challenge gives the activity "big kid status," so that they don't feel they're doing something baby-ish. But they can still have fun like the little ones!