Garden Easter egg hunt

Easter is the perfect time to get the family outside and to make the most of your outdoor space. An Easter egg hunt is the perfect excuse and with a little effort this annual foraging for chocolate can become a really special event. Better still the preparations and planning can keep the children occupied for days beforehand too.

Children on a Easter egg hunt
We're going on an Easter egg hunt! Image: © CliveNichols.com
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If your garden is not a mass of colourful spring flowers and bursting buds do not panic. A few inexpensive decorations and a dash of creativity can transform the dowdiest outdoor space into an exciting venue perfect for any Easter egg hunt. And if you don’t have a garden large enough you could hold an Easter egg hunt picnic at a local park.

Craft shops will have plenty of Easter themed bits and pieces at this time of year, but a scout around the house will likely turn up pieces of ribbon, coloured paper, tissue, gift wrap and fabric which might be transformed into something festive. Choosing a colour scheme will instantly make your decorations look smarter and as if they belong together. Green and vibrant yellow are the colours of spring in most gardens as the daffs unfurl, and these bright, optimistic colours make a great choice for any Easter egg hunt.

Decorated standard bush. Image: Clive Nichols
Decorate shrubs and bushes with ribbon and Easter eggs. Image: © CliveNichols.com

Decorating ideas

Bunting and banners shout celebration, have a big impact and add movement. They don’t have to be perfect nor durable: bunting of coloured paper or pieces of old fabric can be stuck or stapled to binding tape and will look the part draped on shrubs and fences.

Ribbons and bows, wrapped around prominent shrubs and trees will add splashes of colour around the garden, even inexpensive gift ribbon will do the trick

Polystyrene eggs are inexpensive and, once pushed onto a bamboo skewer, are easily decorated with acrylic paints, set the kids to work and the finished eggs can be pushed into plant pots and flower beds in bright clusters.

Personalise baskets, paper bags or even seaside buckets in which to stow any Easter eggs that they find. Gift ribbons, bows, fluffy chicks, paper flowers and cut out paper eggs can all be used and the all important egg shaped name label.

There is no reason why the adults should miss out on the fun. You could set up adult and child partnerships for the egg hunt, each team having their own special colour eggs to hunt for so everyone gets an equal share of the booty. Or the adults can have their own Easter egg hunt, with much harder to find eggs and set against the clock, haring around the garden as the children look on

Dyed eggs. Image: Clive Nichols
Dying eggs is an activity kids will love. Image: © CliveNichols.com

Decorating real eggs

Decorating real eggs for the afternoon tea table adds to the fun. There are two methods to choose from, each has its own element of wonder and most importantly both deliver stunning results with no skill required.

Nature’s patterns

For a natural approach get the kids to gather a few non-toxic flower heads from the garden arrange them around a fresh egg. Then wrap the egg in dry onion skins, fixing them with elastic bands. This is a bit fiddly but there is no need to be too neat. Hard boil the eggs as normal. Remove the eggs from the water and leave them to cool for a while before carefully unwrapping them to reveal the miraculous pattern of marbling and flower heads.

Bright and funky

The second method makes amazingly, brightly coloured eggs. Start by hard boiling the eggs, once they are cool use a white crayon or wax candle to draw patterns or names onto the egg. Next mix up half a bottle of food colouring, two tablespoons of vinegar, a tablespoon of salt and half a pint of water and slip in the eggs. Miraculously the dye will colour the egg but leave the wax patterns untouched. When the colour is strong enough, lift out the eggs and leave them to dry.

Clare Matthews

About Clare Matthews

Clare Matthews combines a career as a garden designer with garden
writing. As a designer she transforms gardens both large and small,
town and country. She is the author of 10 books all of which are the
result of a real passion for plants, for hands on gardening and
creating unusual and beautiful gardens. Her work has been featured
in publications worldwide. Clare spends most of her spare time in
wellies, tending and primping her gardens in Berkshire and Devon.
View all posts by Clare.