My kids love doing Easter egg hunts at Easter so much that we sort of do them all year round, particularly in the months leading up to and following Easter. However, what I don’t like about Easter egg hunts is that we used to always fill the eggs with food. Since we do them so frequently, I’d moved away from candy and cookies and started filling them with things like stickers, goldfish crackers, raisins, and yogurt melts. (Even better is when I get my kids to fill them instead. Then all I have to do is hide them.) However, I still don’t love the idea of them filling themselves up before dinner on raisins and crackers, even if it is a better situation than when they gorged themselves on jelly beans and mini Oreos.
This year, I came up with an improvement which has worked out REALLY well. I bought a roll of 2000 raffle tickets for $3 and started filling the eggs with raffle tickets instead of treats. I also bought a bunch of cheap prizes like pencils, Hot Wheels, inflatable beach balls, and rubber stamps and put them in a shoe box. Now, after they play each game they can use their tickets to “buy” a prize, Chuck E. Cheese style. This has worked out well for so many reasons. 1) No more edible treats. 2) It’s such a great opportunity to practice math skills (counting, number recognition, even addition and subtraction). 3) They’re also getting practice with money concepts and learning that if they save their tickets from one game to the next, they can earn an even bigger prize. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.
Recommended Age Range: Preschool, Kindergarten
Time Required: ~1 hour for initial setup. Subsequent games are about 10 minutes to fill eggs and hide them plus another 5 minutes to help them count their tickets and choose a prize (per child).
Difficulty: Super Easy
Cost: About $5 to buy raffle tickets and sticker labels for writing “prices.” I got a little carried away buying prizes and spent about $30 or $40, but honestly, I think you could get by spending maybe $10 to start. I estimate the prizes I bought will last at least a year. We already have way too many Easter baskets and plastic eggs, but you will need those as well.
- roll of raffle tickets
- sticker labels (I used Avery Color Coding Labels)
- plastic eggs
- basket (or other container/bag to collect eggs in)
- shoe box
- prizes (The best deal is to buy packs, like gift bag packs of toy airplanes or stationary packs with pencils, sharpeners, erasers, and note pads, then divide them up into multiple prizes.)
Supplies & Tools:
- A sharpie or other marker
- The first time you play, add sticker labels to all your prizes and write a “price” on each one. I roughly did a third to half the number of cents that each prize cost. For example, a Hot Wheels car cost $1, so I made the label say anywhere from 33 to 50. I tried to vary the numbers even for the same type of prize so that my preschooler would have more opportunity to recognize different numbers (i.e. similar cars for 33, 37, and 44 instead of all of them being worth the same number of tickets). Another advantage of this which I didn’t anticipate is that my 5 year old has figured out to look through the box to find the best “deal” for what he wants.
- Place all the prizes in the shoe box and, if you want, label the box with a sign that says “Prizes”.
- Each game, you will need to fill the eggs with a few raffle tickets. I placed between 1 and 5 in each one, so that there would be some variety. Most commonly I put either 2 or 3.
- Hide the eggs.
- Give each kids a basket and say “Ready. Set. GO!”
- After they are done hunting, help them count their eggs and “buy” prizes.
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