Let me begin by saying that when I taught in the UK, there were no such things as egg hunts. In school. Or at home, for that matter. I’ve been here for 15 years now, and I think that the egg hunt may have spread across the pond, but not to schools. So I am looking at the egg hunt from that standpoint. And shaking my head.
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You can imagine my surprise at the first spring party in my school, organized by parents, who painstakingly hid eggs all over the school gardens for the kids to find. Great I thought, it will take them hours to find all those eggs.
After about 75 seconds of a whirling, screaming dervish, two kids had bumped heads going for the same egg. Billy had found 107 eggs. Jasmine had found one. Billy did not want to share the eggs he found. Jasmine was crying. Mallory whined that she was tired. Lilly wanted an animal egg that Jared had found. Jared wasn’t giving it up.
And then it was over, and I still had an hour and 25 minutes to kill of party time, and there are only so many stories you can read.
Fast forward to the next year and every year since. I have organized my egg hunts with military precision, taken back control of the egg hunt and ensured that every student has the same amount of eggs, and had to work at finding them. So if you are looking for a way to extend your egg hunt, make it fair and even dare I say, add a little rigor, then read on…
Ask parents to send in eggs
You want to do this a month before your egg hunt. Yes, you read that right. The sooner you start collecting, the less hassled you will feel. In your newsletter tell parents that you would like each child to donate 12 (not 10) filled eggs. And you need to put that reminder in every week until the week of the hunt. And you will need to purchase some extra eggs yourself and fill them, or perhaps ask for additional donations from parents.
Mark each egg with a letter
As the eggs come in, you need to write a letter on each egg. Each set of 12 eggs is going to spell out the message ‘spring chicks’. So with a sharpie, mark the first egg with an ‘s’, the next with a ‘p’, the next with an ‘r’ and so on. When you have written the whole message on a set of 12 eggs, put them aside in a different bag so they do not get muddled up with the blank eggs, and make a tally mark somewhere. Continue to do this with each set of eggs as the weeks go by. This could be a job you delegate to a volunteer. Either way, as the weeks go by, your bag of marked eggs should be getting bigger and hopefully you have enough for every child to find a set of 12 eggs. If not, you may need to dig into those extra eggs that you purchased. Additionally, you will want to leave around 24 eggs blank. When you have finished marking all the eggs, you should have one set of 12 eggs with the message ‘spring chicks’ for every student.
Ask parents to hide the marked eggs
I always had wonderful parent volunteers who loved to come to the parties and were always instrumental in hiding the eggs.
Give each student a check sheet
You can download the check sheet here as a thank you for joining Sweet Sensations Crafts. Explain to the students that they need to find an egg and match it to a letter on their check sheet. Then they need to find an adult and tell them the name of the letter they have found (and the sound if you want some phonics reinforcement) and the adult will put an ‘x’ through the letter they found. Then they go and find the next letter.
Give each parent volunteer a marker
Explain what they need to do when the student brings an egg that they have found: ask them what letter they have found (and what sound it makes). It’s meant to be fun, so obviously if the child cannot remember, then the parent helps them with the letter name. Then the volunteer marks an ‘x’ through the egg that they have found on the check sheet and the student runs off to find another egg. Make sure the student holds onto their checklist!
Keep some of those blank eggs on hand
And have a marker ready. Inevitably some eggs will have rolled away, fallen down a rabbit hole or been smushed. If you need to, discreetly write letters on eggs that students are having a hard time finding.
Good for big kids too!
You can adapt this idea, having students look for numbers, answers to multiplications or division problems, high frequency words, or whatever concept you want to reinforce. I loved doing this egg hunt with my students, and they had a ball. At the end of the egg hunt, everybody had 12 eggs, and we divided any extras we found or didn’t need between the class and snuck them into their baskets while they were eating snacks.
Happy egg hunting!