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Special Section: Searching for Jesus

Carmen Kamrath

Egg Hunters Safety

One of the biggest parent complaints at Easter egg hunts is the lack of safety for kids-especially younger children. Make sure your egg hunt is age-appropriate and allows for every child to gather eggs safely with these tips.

• Set up age-specific hunt areas. Establish age-specific areas for ages 0 to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 and up using rope or orange cones to designate perimeters. Place plenty of eggs in each area to guarantee every hunter's success. Keep the area for toddlers separate from the others and free of obstacles that could hinder little ones' hunting success or cause injury. Assign a volunteer to act as the designated host for the toddler area, and station plenty of others in each age area to help keep kids safe. (Plan for a ratio of approximately two adults for every 14 children under age 3, and two adults for every 20 children age 4 and up.) Also, have your team wear matching T-shirts so they're easily identifiable.

• Use staggered starts. Use a PA system to communicate the rules before the hunt begins. Don't start every group at the same time; begin with the toddlers and move up the ladder. Staggered starts keep younger children from becoming overwhelmed by throngs of older kids, and they help control what can be perceived by parents as mass chaos when every child present makes a mad dash for the field.

The Search Party

Give your egg hunt your ministry's fingerprints by ensuring that everyone has a good time and that the families who've ventured out feel noticed and appreciated. Use these tips to make your egg hunt unforgettable.

• Start with a message. Before the hunt, use your PA system to share a one-to-two minute explanation of Easter and what Jesus' sacrifice means to each of us.

• Recruit volunteer bunnies. Assign volunteers wearing bunny ears to each age area, armed with baskets of extra eggs. Train these volunteers to look for kids who gather few or no eggs during the hunt. Your volunteer bunnies can give these kids eggs for their basket so every one has a great time. For extra impact, ask kids from your ministry to be on the lookout for children left empty-handed and encourage them to share their eggs with these children.

• Engage your guests. Have several hosts from your ministry trained to talk with families. Encourage these people to participate in one of the after-hunt activities and to invite the families they meet to do the same. People are much more likely to stay and participate in activities when they get a personal invitation--even if it's on the spot--and they'll get to experience firsthand that your church is friendly and caring.

• Bag it. As families leave your event, give them a bag filled with information about upcoming children's ministry programming and events, your family ministry and special needs ministry, Easter services, and a page of Easter-themed ideas for families to do at home.

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