If you want to do something a bit different to change up your family’s Easter this year, consider an Easter egg treasure hunt. A hunt can be created for one or more people in your immediate family; you can also create a treasure hunt for all the children at a large family gathering or for teams of family members.
The best treasure hunts for family members should not competitive–every participant should have his own series of clues to follow leading to that person’s “grand prize.” You may want to have a special seasonal gift as the prize, or you might want the individual’s Easter basket to be the prize. Either way, each person will have great fun figuring out his or her clues leading to the prize.
If you are going to offer a treasure hunt with clues, you will need to prepare them in advance. Decide how long you want the hunt to last and how many locations each person will have to find—usually about ten, but you can have as few or as many as you want for your purposes. Consider how many participants you will have and how to coordinate hiding places for each one’s trail.
Create simple clues for younger children and more complicated riddles for older participants. The clues need to lead each person from one site to the next with the prize at the final site. He/she might find small prizes on the way, gradually leading to his/her Easter prize or filled basket.
You can write your clues in sentence form like “Go to the room where we keep our food, and look for the pot we cook spaghetti in—look inside for your next clue!” If you feel inspired, write the clues in rhymes. For example, you could write, “If you walk to the left and go down twelve stairs, /You will come to a room with six wooden chairs. /Look under the table and you will find/Another clue of this very kind!”
It might be easiest to choose a starting place and an ending place for each person’s hunt, and then choose the appropriate in-between locations. Plan locations all over for the children–they have plenty of energy to expend, so let them run all over the house or yard to find their clues. If you have smaller children, be certain to plant your clues low enough where they can see and reach them.
The clues can be written (or produced on a computer printer) on colored paper or card-stock. The clues can be written on strips of paper or on paper cut in Easter shapes like that of a bunny or egg. Use the same bright color or motif for each set of clues so that the participants can easily find and recognize their own clues. Here is a link to the Avery Design & Print website for their free Easter templates you can use for writing your clues–the ones I have in the photo above are from this site.
If you plan to have the hunt outdoors, you may want to put your clues in plastic hollow eggs. Label the clues [Henry (I) Henry (2) Henry (3)], so you can keep them straight on hunt day. Put each person’s clues in his/her color of plastic egg, and bag them together for ease of putting them out in their proper locations. A paper list of the locations where each numbered egg goes is essential to include in the bag to help the person putting out the eggs.
Laying out many eggs for a larger hunt is a job more easily handled by several people. If you gather some helpers to assist you before the time for the hunt, the faster the work will go.
If you are unable to put out the eggs or clues before the “hunters” arrive, keep the participants somewhere out of sight for another activity or confined to the house for at least 30 minutes while the eggs are laid. It takes longer than you think, even if the clues are all carefully written out in advance.
When laying the treasure hunt trail for each participant, don’t forget that the place hinted at on the slip of paper is not where the paper goes. It can be very easy to get this confused. For example, if you want the participant to look in the washing machine, then that clue must lead to the washing machine, rather than be in it!
If you plan an outdoor hunt, be certain have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. If you have to move inside, you may be able to read the clues aloud and have your participants guess the location of the next clue—if you have the written list, you can then share the next clue. Ultimately you would produce the prize if they figure out the final location.
A treasure hunt of this type may be a little labor-intensive, but the fun your participants will have following their clues to the prize will create special Easter memories for all involved.
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