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Go Ask Mom

Egg Hunt Ideas: Five alternatives to candy, cheap plastic toys

Posted March 29, 2015

Plastic eggs sit on a picnic table prior to the start of the Pullen Park Egg Hunt Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013.  The annual event is held for children ages 10 and under with the eggs containing healthy snacks and other prizes.  (Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati)

I have two complaints about Easter egg hunts: I don't want the candy and I don't want the cheap plastic toys in my house.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind my kids having candy and toys.

I do mind that every holiday seems to be like another Halloween when it comes to candy acquisition. Since October, my kids' candy bags have been filled and refilled again. And I'm tired of cleaning out plastic dinosaurs or tripping on little plastic jumping frogs from treat bags that my kids spend about five second with and then forget. We also have more than enough stickers. Our themed pencil container is full.

So, our Easter morning egg hunt at home won't just be all about the candy. It also won't be all about cheap plastic toys or high dollar items that break the bank. I don't need or want any of that stuff in my home. It's all too much.

So, in the interest of their teeth and general health and my sanity, here are a few ideas that I've tried or will attempt this year during our Easter morning egg hunt at home:

1. Money. My girls would be thrilled with finding a few quarters or dimes in an egg. They'd scream with joy if they found $1. You could even get creative and have the amount of money in the eggs add up to the total needed for a special treat or toy - like an ice cream cone (I know, it's still sugar), hair bands, book at a used bookstore or other item. If you want to get crazy creative, you could include letters in each of the money-filled eggs that, when put together, spell out "ice cream" or "book."

2. Coupons. Not the kind that you clip to save money at the grocery store, but the kind that gets the kids a little treat. For instance, kids could turn those coupons in for a night off from setting the table or completing another chore; special time with mom or dad playing a favorite game; a trip to a playground that you don't get to regularly; a visit to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences or other free destination; or a trip to a discount movie theater.

3. Outdoor toys. Think sidewalk chalk, bubbles, water balloons. You might need some of those bigger plastic eggs to actually hide these little surprises inside, but I like these because they don't clutter the house. They stay outside!

4. Seeds. It's spring! It's time to plant something. My kids love helping my husband plant the garden each year. Even more, once everything is ready to pick, they love harvesting the cherry tomatoes, beans and other veggies straight off the plants and eating them right in the backyard. Why not stash some flower or vegetable seeds in those plastic eggs? After the hunt, the kids can help plant the seeds. Don't have a backyard where you can plant a garden? Look for small, indoor growing kits so you can bring the garden inside.

5. Puzzle. You probably can't hide an entire puzzle in an egg, but you can hide one or two pieces in each egg. Once all of the eggs have been collected, the kids can put the puzzle together.

Happy Easter!


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  • Clovis Sangrail Mar 30, 2015
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    After 40 days of giving up candy for Lent, let the kid have some candy. Yeesh.

  • Jaymi Allen Mar 30, 2015
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    Fantastic article and ideas!