I’m going off brand this month because I’m currently working on a different type of writing - clues for Easter egg hunts. I love Easter egg hunts. Now. Some of the first hunts I hosted turned competitive and not entirely full of joy. Over the last fifteen years or so I have put a lot of time and effort into making the hunts at my house something special. This is not advice though. It’s just a few things I’ve learned. If anyone happens to benefit, yay!
1) Color-coded hunts work well for younger kids. Each kid is looking for and only allowed to pick up a certain color of egg.
2) Hunts can be divided with some kids looking inside and some searching outside. (Or different rooms in the house if it’s rainy.) This way you can use more difficult places for bigger kids without them also snatching up the easy ones before the little ones can get them.
3) If you hide eggs indoors, think carefully about where you hide them and what directions you give for finding them. If people start dumping out drawers and emptying cabinets that are nowhere near the hiding places, someone might freak out.
4) You don’t actually have to put anything inside the eggs. You can simply have the kids trade the eggs they found for a basket or bag of goodies. Or have the last egg in a scavenger hunt be some sort of ticket for the treats.
5) Individual scavenger hunts are awesome for kids old enough to read. It’s still best to keep these color-coded for two reasons. One, kids won’t accidentally find someone else’s egg. Two, you don’t have to think of as many hiding places. There can be three eggs in the freezer if they are all different colors.
6) Find someone to play-test your clues. It’s hard to judge the difficulty of something when you already know the answer. If a ten-year-old needs two adults to help him figure out one of your clues, he’ll be well within his rights to give you a hard time about it.
7) An alternative to having kids rummaging through your house is to have the eggs “hiding” in plain sight. Assign each egg a number, and each clue will point to one of those numbers. If there are a hundred eggs around the house, it will still take some hunting to find the right one. (I write the number on a piece of masking tape with a bit of ribbon, then clip the egg to the ribbon so I can stick them all over the walls. You can also write the numbers on the eggs and just scatter them.)
8) Write down the answers to all of your clues. It is a hassle to re-solve each clue as you hide them to know which number or hiding place you need next.
9) Kids will enjoy the hunts more if you use a variety of clues. Don’t make them all lame riddles. Only use one lame riddle per child.
10) Inventing new types of clues is fun. Don’t believe me? Let’s switch to Roman numerals for a few examples. (Roman numerals are fun, too.) i. A maze with letters printed throughout. Solving the maze will spell out a clue. Scramble the letters for an extra challenge. ii. Lame riddles. iii. A mini crossword puzzle with answers like upstairs, bathroom, second and drawer. iv. Codes. You can print something simple with a cute Easter clipart to represent each letter of the alphabet. For a super challenge, have a number represent each letter, only give the kid a few letters to get started and make him run all over the house to figure out which letters they are. Ex. The letter A is represented by the last two digits on the serial number inside the microwave. v. Write out the clue with a few extra letters repeated in the middle of the words and have the kid cross off those letters to read it. vi. If the kids are hunting numbers, just give a math problem. It’s not homework if it’s part of something fun. vii. Write a ridiculously bad nonsense poem where the first letter of each line spells a clue if you read straight down. viii. Kids love silly active clues. Write a list of instructions that involve hopping from one room to another, spinning around and making funny noises before ending at the hiding place. The kids know the last step will lead them straight to the egg, but I have never seen a kid skip ahead. I guess my writing is good even off brand.