Get Things Hopping!
As your little guest arrive, get them started on an activity as they wait for the others. A perfect start is the String Maze. You’ll need several balls of brightly colored yarn and some special treasures (i.e. plastic Easter eggs filled with candy, themed costume jewelry for girls, Matchbox cars for boys, themed coloring books and crayons, etc.).
Tie one end of the colored yarn to the treasure and hide it behind the couch, in a cabinet, or in another nook. Unroll the ball of yarn throughout the house or rooms designated for the party. Swoop it through chairs, under tables, behind bookcases, and back and forth across the room. (Remember to keep the “maze” age-appropriate for your guests. You may have to do some very easy ones for younger children.)
Repeat this with a treasure for every child and make sure all the yarn mazes begin at a central location. Put one child’s name on the beginning end of each maze. As they arrive, let them find their name and start following their yarn to their special surprise!
Or you may decide to get all the dying done at the beginning of the party, so the eggs have time to dry before hunting. Have the table and materials set up and ready to go when the children arrive. Provide many different materials for the kids’ imaginations. Several different dying-kits will provide more than enough dye tablets for a group of children. Make sure there are several dye-cups of the same colors to limit spills as children reach across the table.
Dying kits are also a cost-effective way to offer different dying techniques. Maybe combine a tie-dye kit with a glitter-dye kit and a sports-themed shrink-wrap kit. Put several bottles of glues, some markers, wax crayons, glitter, buttons, stickers, pompoms and any other craft supplies you think the children would enjoy. Show them the basic techniques:
– Drawing on eggs with crayons before dying results in a wax-relief effect. The dye cannot stick to the wax.
– Dye eggs in light colors and then re-dye the ends in darker colors by holding the tips dye cups.
– You can simulate the tie-dye eggs without the store-bought kit. Wrap the eggs in plain cloth and tie several strings or rubber bands tightly. Using an eye-dropper, squirt dye all over the egg. Feel free to combine colors and experiment with designs. Allow them to dry completely before removing the cloth.
Remember, the point of a party to let kids have fun, and as a kid having fun usually means getting a little messy. Make sure the other parents know you will be dying and dress their children appropriately, but keep some oversize T-shirts or aprons handy just in case. Transfer dyed eggs back to egg crates and let them air-dry safe from prying hands.
The Joy of Marshmallows
Nothing is more versatile at an Easter party than marshmallows.
Mallow Creatures: Give your guests a handful of large and small, colored and white, marshmallows and some toothpicks. Give them 10 minutes to design their very own creature. Each child can present her creature, tell it’s name, where it’s from, and what it likes to eat.
Chubby Bunny: One at a time, children put a jumbo marshmallow in their mouths and say “Chubby Bunny.” Keep adding marshmallows until they can’t enunciate the word or marshmallow explodes from their lips. The child who can fit the most marshmallows, without swallowing, and say the phrase is the winner.
Peeps Racing: Get a package or pink and yellow Peeps marshmallow candies and separate the guests into color teams. One member from each team puts their color Peep on a plate in the microwave and everyone watches as they swell up and explode. Keep a tally of whose Peep exploded first to see which team wins.
Keep Them Entertained
While your helpers are hiding the eggs in the designated area, keep the guest preoccupied with a few races and games.
Balloon Pinatas: Put a small treat (candy, character erasers, etc.) in a brightly colored balloon and blow it up. Tie a balloon to one foot’s shoelaces for each child. When you yell, “Go!” they run around trying to pop everyone else’s balloon while guarding their own. If they pop a balloon, they get that prize.
Egg Rolling: Set a start and finish line and see who can roll their egg across the finish fastest…using only their nose…or elbow….or…..you get the point.
Egg Bowling: On a hard floor (concrete outdoors or hardwood indoors) draw a large circle and place a solid white egg in the center. Each player has a different colored egg and tries to roll it closest to the white egg.
Jellybean Toss: Tape two egg crates together and decorate, numbering each cup. Each player gets three jellybean tosses. Add up the numbers of the cups he lands his jellybeans in and see who has the highest score.
Relay Obstacles: Spice up the traditional egg-in-spoon race with a little obstacle course. Use 2-liters as cones, swimming pool inner tubes for a tire walk, yarn to mark a belly-crawl. Be creative and make it as hard as your young guests can handle. Whoever makes it through the obstacle course with their egg still balanced on their spoon wins. (Better make this one a good prize.)
This is most kids’ favorite part of the holiday, so make it extra fun. Give each child a plastic egg with a scavenger hunt hint (but not too easy). Each egg leads them to a new hint with a large, hollow, prize-filled egg at the end. This way, each child has an opportunity to earn their own prize egg.
Have special prizes for the child with the most eggs, most eggs of a certain kind or color, etc.
If you have a large age difference in your guests you may want to set up two separate egg hunts. Allow the older children to help the younger children find their eggs before racing off to their harder hunt.
Most parents will prefer picking up a calm child, which can be hard after all the running and excitement. Use a simple craft to give everyone a chance to relax. Use pipe-cleaners and white and pink felt (or brown, black, polka-dotted, whatever your guests want) to create an Easter Bunny headband. Give everyone some big orange carrots with the leaves still attached and take Polaroid photos of their best bunny faces. Provide felt or foam cutouts, constructions paper with Easter cutting patterns or stencils, glitter, buttons, stickers and markers for children to make their own picture frame.
When their parents come, they will be bubbling with stories of the day and have a cute, keepsake to look back on for Easters to come.