How to Plan an Easter Egg Hunt for Older Kids
Teens and Tweens Want to Participate, Too
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 teamwork, sharing, and even helps them work on their math skills!
Setting Up Your Easter Egg Hunt
Yes, there is a way to plan this Easter activity so both younger and older kids can participate at the same time! You'll have to set up two egg hunts: an easy one for the little kids, and a more challenging one for the older kids. Use color coding to differentiate the older kids' eggs from the little kids'.
The older kids' eggs will be filled with clues instead of candy, and they'll have to use their problem-solving skills to solve the riddle and find their prize!
Step 1: Send Out Invitations
A few days before the party, send out an invitation so the big kids know there's a hunt for them. If you send out a neighborhood flier/invitation, make sure you mention that there will be a special hunt for the big kids. They may not come if they think the hunt is only for the little ones.
Step 2: Color-Code the Teens' Egg Hunt
If you’re organizing a hunt for little kids and big kids, choose one color just for the big kids. For example, if you picked green, you'd tell the little kids to keep their hands off all the green-colored eggs!
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.
Step 3: Hide the Eggs and the Prize
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). Also, set out a large whiteboard 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!
Hosting the Hunt
Step 4: Let the Hunt Begin
Let the little kids go first, and then tell the big kids to go find the green eggs. This is teamwork. 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.
Step 5: Add Up the Numbers After the Hunt
When all the green eggs are collected together, the big kids open them and write all the numbers they find inside on the whiteboard or paper you set out. It doesn't matter what order the numbers are written.
Step 6: Let Them Figure Out What the Numbers Mean
Let the kids take a crack at figuring out what the numbers could mean before you spill the beans; with time, they might just figure it out without your help. And remember to secretly leave the prize bag on the doorstep of the neighbor's house before the hunt starts.
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!
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 Older Kids?
We've had the neighborhood egg hunt at our house for years. When my own kids were little, it didn't occur to me to include the big kids. 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!