The adult Easter egg hunt you need to know about. If your family is looking to spice things up and have a little fun with the tradition Easter egg hunt, this post is for you. Be warned: you may end up owing money at the end of this holiday…
Forget what you think you know about Easter egg hunts.
Frankly, you’ve been doing them wrong. This is the Easter Egg hunt you need to be doing.
I know I run a “kids activities page” and I’m more known as a “game maker for children,” but friends, this long-distance dedication is going out to the adults in my community.
(And she writes…)
If your family celebrates Easter, I’m sure there’s some kind of egg hunt tradition for the children:
You either have an inside or outside the house hunt.
Real eggs or plastic ones.
Money or candy.
Is there a golden egg involved?
I’m trying to remember when Easter took a turn for the interesting in our family, because I was raised very straight and narrow: we had an indoor hunt. We used real eggs. There was some light candy in baskets. It was a mundane holiday or rather, it was as it always had been.
Nothing in my childhood could have prepared me for the Easter’s of my adulthood.
How my Mom changed Easter
It must have been late high school when everything went array and my Mom started to get a little lively with the Easter festivities.
Mom was a teacher so she has that natural teacher sparkle about her.
She has this way of making something simple (like a hunt for Easter eggs) into something you end up writing a blog post about.
Let’s dive in to how my mom transitioned from mundane kid Easter egg hunting into an Adult Easter Egg Hunt worthy of making it into Google.
Please note: for my children, we do a tradition egg hunt much like the one I had as a child. At some point, they’ll join the adult egg hunt (my niece is 14 and I close to joining the ranks) but the kids get a “normal” hunt for now.
It starts with numbered eggs
*2023 note: I’m not sure how this part will look this year with the current cost and shortage of eggs. We will cross that bridge in April.*
After spending time together as a family some days before Easter, dyeing eggs and making memories back dropped in vinegar smells and newspaper, my mom (in secret) numbers each eggs.
Exhibit A: A collection of eggs with numbers written on the bottom.
She numbers each egg chronologically, starting at 1 and ending with whatever was the total amount of eggs dyed that year (usually around 36, sometimes 48, and yes, it’s a lot of egg salad to work through in the days after).
The numbered eggs get hidden randomly.
We’ll get to those numbers and what they mean in a second.
My dad (simple guy, huh) hides the eggs, usually inside the house. The last few years he’s let the grandchildren help and that adds a level of chaos that is *chef’s kiss.* Kids hide eggs really well.
We are typically an inside the house egg family (pipe down you outside hunters: I’m in Seattle. Ask me how many sunny Easters I remember from my youth…).
Quick side not: Egg hunting is a varsity sport to me. I am the Monica Geller of egg hunting. It’s always been a full-contact event between my sister and me – and to be honest, it’s because she’s really bad at finding eggs and #jealous of my skills.
Over the years, many more adults have joined our Easter egg hunt, like my husband’s family, my best friend’s family, etc.
I’m still elbows out.
Egg Hunt Rule: You can only find a set number of eggs
There is ONE rule for our adult Easter egg hunt: you can only find a per-determined amount of eggs.
Based on the number of eggs dyed divided by the amount of people playing (plus the wind speed on a Tuesday) and my mom tells us the number of eggs we are allowed to find.
It’s usually 10-12. Once you find 12 you have to stop hunting.
So, let’s recap this adult Easter egg hunt so far:
- Eggs are dyed per normal.
- Numbers are added to the bottom of each egg.
- Eggs are randomly hidden.
- Eggs are collected (only the specific total amount).
What the numbers means
I know you’ve been wondering. What do the numbers mean on the bottom of the eggs?
Let’s find out.
Once you collect your set number of eggs, line them up in sequential order.
Get familiar with the random numbers on the bottom of the eggs because things are about to get REAL interesting with these eggs.
Pictured above are some of my eggs in order from Easter 2019.
At this point, I have no way of knowing what eggs have what number OR what each number means. You take what you find during the Easter egg hunt and hope…
You hope you don’t end up owing my mom money at the end of Easter.
Yup. You read that line right. Easter typically ends with someone paying my Mom for playing.
The eggs each equal a dollar amount
This is about to get interesting.
After the eggs have been found, after the eggs have been lined up, after you’ve gotten familiar with what numbers you have: my Mom pulls out “The List.”
This is the pinnacle of Easter. The unveiling of the list. She does it with such flair and pride each year. It’s a bit like that moment when the Grinch get’s a wonderful, awful idea.
That’s the same kind of smile she gets.
“The List” has every egg number and each egg number corresponds to a money amount.
Add 50 cents.
Minus 10 cents.
All you have is a prayer and a lucky Easter Bunny foot that you found all the doubles and none of the halfers and definitely a lot more pluses than minuses.
Is this starting to get clearer to you? I hope so. Let’s keep going.
In the random set of 12 eggs in front of you, a few bad eggs means you’re going to pay at the end of Easter. In fact, someone almost always ends up “losing” and having to pay my Mom money to play her Easter game.
We now all show up to Easter with cash or check, just in case. When I was 20, I paid her $1.12 in pennies to participate in an Easter egg hunt.
My sister had a five year stretch of paying for Easter. She started bringing cash along with a casserole.
Start calling out the numbers, and saying prayers
Mom begins with Egg 1 and starts calling out what her pre-made list says.
She says the egg number. The person with the egg identifies themselves. She tells you what The List says. “Oooh plus $1” “Oh I’m sorry, minus .40 cents.” “Uh oh, you need to give half your total to the person you’re married to.”
Each player has to keep track of their own winnings and losings – it’s an application of math that I’m pretty sure qualifies this as a hands-on activity. Thank goodness iPhones have calculators.
Here are some of the amounts from the list pictured above:
Egg 1: Add $1.00
Egg 5: Subtract $2.00
Egg 18: Give half to the person on your left.
Egg 56: Divide your amount in half.
Egg 60: Daily double (double everything)
This is the brutal, real, and honest life lessons that my Mom has been dolling out in her Easter madness for nearly two decades.
By the end, you may have won $20 (I’ve seen it happen). Or you may owe $3.20 (that was my Easter 2022).
That is the risk we take showing up to Easter. I’m sure your Easter is similarly high stakes.
And now, we move on to the games.
The List and The Numbered Eggs are only step one or part one of my Mom’s magical Adult Easter Egg Hunt festivities.
Let’s continue to the next step. There are games, too.
My Mom would never say she is an innately creative person, but Easter really makes her sing. It’s like she stores up for the year and releases a fury of creativity all over us.
Originally, she would just make my sister and me do random things on Easter to earn an extra $1 or $2, like skip around the deck holding the family cat while singing “I’m a little tea pot,” but eventually that stuff morphed into games and competitions.
It was a really natural next step.
Anywho, she found sets of plastic animal eggs and genius struck.
In addition to the regular Easter eggs, my Mom hides the plastic animal eggs too. Typically she says that everyone needs to find 3 plastic animal eggs during the normal hunt in addition to the regular Easter eggs (adjusted depending on number of players).
The plastic eggs come in pairs. I can’t find animal eggs in pairs on Amazon, but these plastic eggs with designs on them would work. The goal is having eggs in pairs. You’ll see why soon.
We set these plastic animal eggs off to the side during The List reading, but we know they are coming… taunting us… mocking us…
And we are terrified.
Remember, there are two of each animal egg.
Whichever two people find the same egg are now in a head-to-head competition-activity for something like $5 or a Starbucks card or absolutely no prize and it’s just mandatory. I’m not kidding.
These games/activities are where Mom really shines.
Example: 2011 The Pig Egg.
When my sister and my husband each cracked their pig eggs open, they found a note inside with one line: “How does the little piggy eat?” If you know the movie The Christmas Story, you can guess what we had to do.
In Easter 2011, we ate pudding with our hands behind our backs off of plates. I do remember there was a $5 prize for this which felt generous.
The thing is: you never know what plastic egg you’ll find.
You never know who will find its mate.
You never know what activity will be inside, but it might help you pay off your Easter egg debt from earlier…
Throughout the years, the plastic eggs have held really sophisticated activities like:
- Lollipop golfing
- Hot potato egg
- Bobbing for peeps
- Chubby bunny
Download a list of Mom’s game ideas
It’s been nearly 20 years of Mom’s Easter Festivities so we made a list of some of the games that have been hits (with descriptions, of course). Each Easter usually has 3-5 games. You can pick the right number for your family and group size.
Here’s a free print out of some of our favorite games from Easter’s past.
Recapping the best Adult Easter Egg Hunt
First, you have the numbered eggs and “The List” of money amounts.
Second, you have the plastic eggs with activities for more prizes and bragging rights.
Third, oh wait, I forgot to mention third. OBVIOUSLY there’s an egg toss at the end to conclude each Easter’s festivities.
Kind of like the Olympic closing ceremonies but for our bizarre Easter.
I will NEVER in my life understand how Easter took this kind of turn in our family, especially when I think back to how idyllic and normal it was when I was a child.
Between The Lists and The Activities, I’m telling you: my Mom is on to something. Like I said, this is the egg hunt you need to be doing.
I’m never one to tell people how to live their lives (I’m great with suggestions but at the end of the day, you do you), but when it comes to Easter with adults… well, there’s only one right way.
Frequently Asked Questions
My mom funds this. In my early 20s, she used it as a way to give my sister and me some extra cash for pizza at college. Nowadays, especially with how many people come to Easter, she’s good at keeping the winnings down to a few dollars per person. A great option: Have a small buy-in. This post has been viral for years and many people have said their family created an Easter kitty: everyone puts in $5 to play.
The kids think this is hysterical. There is nothing more fun than watching the adults they love have some very child like fun. There’s so much laughing at our Easter.
That’s going to depend on your “adult” ages – my Mom definitely started this when my sister and I were 16 and 19. It was her way of bringing childhood joy back to Easter and she crushed it. Twenty years later, we can’t wait for her Easter egg hunts.
Totally! I’d put a number inside each egg and have that correspond to “The List.”
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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