Easter is just around the corner, and if you've got kids that are just a bit too young for those cutthroat town hunts, what about hosting a backyard egg hunt yourself? We put one together every year and it's our favorite party to throw, as it's easy to prep for, doesn't require a ton of decorating, and since it's outdoors, cleanup is simple. If you make it an annual event, you'll be able to reuse most of your supplies each year. Read on for tips on how to host your own awesome backyard egg hunt.
But first, 10 lucky (and eager) readers will get free tickets to the New York Baby Show coming to the west side of Manhattan this May. It's a great way to test out strollers, high chairs, baby carriers and other gear, learn about new products, and even get some free swag from your favorite local and national brands.
The 2018 New York Baby Show, on May 19 & 20 at Pier 94 will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. Now in its 8th year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. We are giving away tickets for you and your family to experience the show. The normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children), and $20 per individual, but if you're one of the first 10 to click the link below, it's yours for free! Have at it!
And to get you excited for all the cool brands you'll see at the baby show, our friends at Reviews.com have compiled a list of the best high chairs of 2018. They've assembled, smooshed food into, and cleaned dozens of high chairs so you don't have to. Click here for their 2018 roundup. You may be able to check out some of these in person at the Baby Show.
How to Host Your Own Egg Hunt
1. Get the supplies
I go egg shopping on Easter Monday when all the unsold eggs hit the clearance rack. If you don't want to prepare that far in advance, Oriental Trading and Party City have great deals on eggs.
You can ask kids to bring their own baskets, but I like to provide them with my own small baskets (smaller baskets also means that one older kid won't collect 40 eggs before the little ones can even cross the lawn). I use these baskets, which hold about 10 eggs. Once kids fill them up, they move on to opening them and leave the rest of the eggs for the other hunters. Which brings us to:
2. Stuff the eggs
Finding suitable egg stuffers for toddlers is tricky. Since everything you give them fits into a plastic egg, you are basically hosting a choking hazards party. I've managed to find toys and food that are fun and will work for all but the most determined of object-swallowers:
It's not really about what's inside, at least not at this age. Kids just love collecting the eggs, so budget your money towards buying more eggs than towards high-priced fillers. Oriental Trading has some great deals that will give you a lot of prizes for the money. I got 72 bracelets for $6, and if you buy a giant bag of Malt-O-Meal Berry Crunch for about $4, you can stuff dozens of eggs. (sure, it won't be individually wrapped, but since you're with friends, you don't have to worry about hermetically sealing everything inside the eggs).
I forego the whole "golden egg" element for this age group. They don't really understand the difference or that they should be looking for the special egg first, and the rest of them won't be happy when only one child gets a big prize.
3. Send out the invitations
I invite everyone about three weeks before via email, and I pick a rain date just in case there's a washout (or in the case of this year, six inches of snow on the ground!). I like to begin the hunt in the morning, when kids are less cranky and energy is high. I invite every toddler I know, and older sibs can come too. I just make sure the parents know it's geared toward the little ones, so their older sibs shouldn't pick up all the eggs in thirty seconds, even though they probably could.
This party is truly "the more the merrier". I just make sure to stock up on those smaller baskets so I have more than enough for everyone. It's helpful to know who is coming so that you don't start the hunt early in case someone runs late (a perk you don't get at those town hunts!). I send out an email the night before asking to text me if they are running late so I can hold the hunt for them.
4. Start the hunt!
I lay out the eggs in the backyard, hiding a few in foliage but keeping most in plain sight. You don't need to clear the area. In fact toys and furniture legs have great hiding spots for eggs. I try not to put eggs anywhere I don't want kids going (like that small spot behind the bushes), because if one child finds an egg there they'll all be wedging themselves in.
After all the eggs are in place, we gather at a spot where there's no access to the yard (for us it's our deck), and wait for everyone to arrive before we open the gates. I take the opportunity to find any older siblings and explain that their job is to find all the really hidden eggs in the back and let the babies pick up the easy lawn eggs.
We set out bagels, muffins, donut holes and juice, though we've found that a starting time of 10am doesn't require a ton of food (we've all been up since 6, right?). We open up the yard and the kids go load their baskets. After all the eggs have been found (which takes a while with toddlers), they have a blast in the yard playing with toys or discovering what's inside their eggs.
We even managed to borrow an Easter Bunny costume for a quick visit from Mr. Rabbit himself! Left to themselves in the yard, little ones will play until the naptime tantrums overcome them. Our last partier left around 12:30pm last year. We provide goody bags to hold the treats and treasures, and a lot of hunters even left behind their eggs and baskets for us to reuse at our next hunt. At my last hunt I put out 200 eggs and at the end of the party I found almost a hundred pillaged eggshells for next year.
It's that simple! This is a great annual party to have as it doesn't require many decorations, is easy to prep for, and you'll have supplies left over that you can reuse next year.
And even if you host your own hunt, you can still join plenty of these local egg huntshappening around the county. Click here for our list of local hunts and events.
If staying inside is more your style, head to Scarsdale this weekend for a FREE concert at Hoff-Barthelson Music School on Sunday, March 25 at 2pm. There will be music, light refreshments, and the chance to get up close and personal with the instruments. Click here or see below for more information.
That's it for this week! For our (almost always free) Event of the Day, follow us on Facebook or Instagram. And as always, check our website for events and our easy-to-navigate chart of every weekly kids library program in Westchester.
See you next time!