The Thrill of the Chase

Make your Easter egg hunt more than just a five-minute chocolate frenzy!

The annual Easter egg hunt can be a lot like cooking an elaborate dinner, you spend hours preparing and within a few minutes eggs are found, unwrapped and you’re faced with a hoard of sugar-fuelled kids with chocolate lipstick This year we have a perfect opportunity to make more of Easter; with Wills and Kate tying the knot just five days later, why not combine a garden party with more traditional Easter activities?

Down to a tea

Thinking along these lines, you can make it as big or small as you like; speak to neighbours and you may find you’re all keen to celebrate together (and let’s face it, with so much gloom in the news, it’s great to have more than one reason for a party). You can keep it in one space or agree to ‘cross gardens;’ this makes the Easter egg hunt even more interesting.

Once you have decided on space, it’s time to bring out the bunting! Oh yes, as clich�d as it may sound, bunting is essential. It is spring after all so flutters of florals, polka dots, pastels and pinks are fabulous; or perhaps you’d prefer to be a bit more patriotic with Union Jacks sailing happily across your patio.  Get the kids involved too; have them make colourful flags on cut-out white cotton (it may be the only time they’re allowed to draw on the bed sheets!) and tack them to streams of ribbon.

The best thing about garden parties is that nothing has to be formal. Trestle tables covered in white cotton are perfect and give that ‘tea on the village green’ feel. Mis-match china and pottery, and borrow cake-stands and tea-pots to add to the effect, then all you need is your Easter bonnet and you’re away (this, incidentally, should be the only part of the dress-code that is non-negotiable; men may need to improvise).

Food is easy for this type of event; cakes and lots of them!  Easter traditions such a Simnel cake and nests are a must, and who can resist sumptuous strawberry tarts and fresh cream scones?  Add in finger sandwiches scattered with cress and a wonderful English cheese board and you won’t go far wrong.

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Let the hunt begin

As for the hunt itself, this can turn into a longer event by throwing in activities along the way.  Rather than just hiding eggs, hide clues that have to be solved or write out tasks that need to be completed first. Things like boiled egg painting, making Easter bunny masks, eating five carrot sticks (how sneaky?) or taking part in a bunny-hopping or egg and spoon race will while away the time before any chocolate sees the light of day.

Treasure maps are also a good option, especially if you have lots of boys and the more difficult you make it the better. This is where sharing gardens works best as the surroundings are less familiar; you will of course need a supervising adult to manage the masses, especially if they need to cross roads. Rather than place eggs along the route, work in pirate-themed clues where they get pieces of costume along the way such as eye patches, scarves and swords.  At the end mix eggs among chocolate coins in a treasure chest that your little pirates can share.

Making the earth move

But let’s not forget the tradition; Easter, or spring eggs were originally given to celebrate springtime.  The egg itself was a pagan symbol of the rebirth of the earth, so when you see clumps of soil and Daffodils strewn across your lawn as the prized eggs are hunted.

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