Are you constantly repeating yourself when trying to get your kids to do something? I know you’re all nodding your heads. Kids are notoriously terrible listeners. But the truth is that even adults can be pretty bad at listening. That’s because it’s a skill that needs intentional practice.
This Directional Egg Hunt is a fun activity that kids will be very eager to do over and over. And it gives you a chance to help them sharpen their listening skills.
This is a lot like a scavenger hunt, but instead of kids reading clues, the adult is guiding them verbally with specific directional words.
Before starting the directional egg hunt, just do a traditional egg hunt. Give the kids a few rounds of just finding the eggs for fun. This lets them give in to their impulsiveness and lets them run around and get some wiggles out.
Once the kids have done a few rounds of the regular egg hunt, and the novelty is starting to wear off, then you’re ready to begin the directional egg hunt.
To start with, the directional egg hunt should be done in a familiar area where kids have already found eggs previously. (This cuts down on their natural tendency to want to wander and explore on their own – and ignore you, the adult.)
Step 1 – Choose your level of difficulty.
For Toddlers and Preschoolers
- hide eggs mostly in plain sight.
- use simple directional words such as “under”, “over,” “behind,” up,” “down,” etc.
- eventually add in directions that include simple counting such as, “take three steps forward.”
For Early Elementary Age Kids (K-2)
- Eggs can be slightly more difficult to find, but should be placed at their eye level or below.
- In addition to the ones listed above, use directional words like “left,” “right,” “sideways,” “diagonal,”
- Give two-step directions, such as “Take four steps forward, and then turn right.” or “Take one step to your left, and squat down to look under something.”
For Older Elementary Kids
- Eggs should be hidden completely out of sight.
- In addition to those listed above, include the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), and terms of measurement (90 degrees, about 6 inches, one meter away)
- Give multi-step directions. For example, “Take ten steps forward then turn 90 degrees to the right, and then look left.”
Step 2 – Hide the eggs.
- Only hide up to ten eggs.
- Keep the difficulty level appropriate to the age of the child.
- Keep the hiding places simple during initial rounds of the directional hunt.
- Try to make sure the eggs aren’t visible from across the room/yard.
- Think about the kinds of directions you want to give when hiding the eggs. (See below for more examples.)
Step 3 – Establish the rules
- Determine a starting place.
- The child can only move when and where directed. (This rule is probably better for older kids only.)
- One child at a time? or is everyone hunting together? (You can have multiple kids following the same directions, but I would hide multiple eggs in the same spot, so each kid can claim an egg when they arrive at that spot.)
- Add a timer for extra competition. (For older kids who are ready for an added challenge.) For example, can they find all ten eggs in under 5 minutes?
- What does the winner get? (Maybe they hide the eggs for the next round?)
Step 4 – Play the game
- Show the child(ren) where to begin.
- Give instructions one phrase at a time.
- Add clues as necessary to help child find the egg.
- Once child finds the egg, give the directional phrase to lead them to another egg.
- Repeat until all eggs have been found.
Tips to keep in mind.
- You don’t need to formally plan the clues out, but it helps to have a rough idea of what kinds of directional clues you will use to guide kids to each egg.
- Try to make sure the eggs aren’t visible from across the room.
- If kids spot an egg out of order, let them go get it, then continue your directions.
- Have kids stop in place after they collect an egg and listen to your next set of directions.
- Keep your directions simple and clear.
- It’s better to start simple and increase the complexity rather than challenging and frustrating the child too quickly.
- If you notice frustration setting in, reduce the difficulty level.
- Give extra clues as much as needed. (See some phrases below.)
- After 2-3 rounds, let the child hide the eggs and give the directions. This helps them practice their communication skills.
Directional Phrases You Might Use
Choose phrases based on the age level of the kid(s) you’re playing with.
- “Turn and face me.”
- “Now look around at eye level.”
- The egg is about a foot off the ground.
- Walk forward 10 steps.
- Turn 180 degrees.
- Look inside something that’s about 6 inches from your right foot.
- Face east and walk about three yards.
I don’t have to tell you that kids LOVE egg hunts. Use this fun activity to your advantage, and help your kids practice their listening skills.
When Easter is long gone, you can do this with painted rocks hidden in the yard. Or use intentional directions whenever an opportunity arises, such as when you’re pointing out a pretty bird you spot in a tree.
The more practice kids get with listening to directions (in fun ways), the better they’ll get at it.
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Looking for more ways to play with plastic eggs? Check out these Fun and Educational ways to play with eggs.