Egg hunts are a longstanding Easter tradition. Their history is somewhat clouded, with some sources attributing the development of the egg hunt to efforts to eradicate the pagan tradition of giving out decorated eggs as gifts marking the vernal equinox. History.com suggests the Easter egg tradition came to America by way of German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Eventually, the custom spread across the country and came to include the now-popular Easter egg rolls and egg hunts.
Easter Egg Hunts Gone Bad
Unfortunately, Easter egg hunts occasionally go bad. Bad can come in random form as when egg hunters found loaded guns at a church-sponsored hunt in Flint, Mich., in 2004, as reported by USA Today. Bad can also result from overzealous parents seeking a competitive edge for their own offspring at public hunts as happened in Colorado Springs in 2012. But even home-spun egg hunts can go wrong if kids become frustrated, jealous, or bored.
To keep your Easter egg hunt tear-free and fun for all, follow these simple guidelines.
Make sure there are enough eggs for all. Better Homes and Gardens suggests about a dozen eggs per child. Punchbowl advocates 15 to 20. The number you choose will depend on both resources and the ages of your children, as older children will find eggs much faster than toddlers and may need more to keep the hunt challenging.
Give kids a sense of accomplishment by letting them find the eggs without excessive hints. This means hiding eggs in locations where they can reasonably be expected to find them. When there’s a significant age gap among children participating in an egg hunt, hiding some eggs in obvious locations and some in more obscure spots is important.
Ensure older or craftier children understand the importance of everyone finding eggs at the egg hunt. Take them aside, if necessary, and instruct them not to grab up every egg they see. Instead they should leave the obvious ones for the younger kids and use their superior egg-hunting skills to uncover the harder to find eggs. While some parents let the little kids loose first at an egg hunt, I prefer teaching the older kids empathy by expecting consideration of younger children’s less-developed skills.
It’s mom and dad who might be reduced to tears if eggs remain unfound and fester inside the house. Count the eggs before hiding them and count them before calling the hunt concluded.