For my 7-year old son, waking up on Easter morning is almost the most exciting morning of the year. He has learned that the Easter Bunny comes while he’s sleeping, and hides chocolate eggs and small toys all around the house, and he spends Easter morning happily searching for and collecting his treats. As a blind mom, watching him find the treats that “the Easter Bunny” hid, is so much more fun than searching for eggs ever was when I was a kid.
The few times I did participate in Easter egg hunts, I found them incredibly frustrating. All the other kids would quickly and easily gather up the majority of the eggs, while my mom would try to give me verbal directions to find a few for myself. It took so much energy to find each egg, that it hardly felt worth the challenge, even though I absolutely loved chocolate. When the hunt was over, my sister was told to share her eggs with me which made me feel grateful, but also guilty, and her to feel disappointed, and possibly resentful.
In my family, the solution was a large Easter basket always left on the dining room table. Inside the basket were four large cardboard eggs filled with chocolate eggs, jelly beans, and other Easter candies: one for each member of my family, as well as 2 large chocolate bunnies for my sister and I. This kept things fair, and less frustrating for me — but not quite the same as the fun of an Easter egg hunt.
Last year I posted a question in our Blind Beginnings Facebook Group for parents of children and youth who are blind or partially sighted, asking how they made Easter egg hunts accessible for their children, and some great ideas were shared.
One suggestion was to hide multiple eggs in each hiding spot equal to the number of children in your family. If your family has 2 children, place 2 eggs in each hiding spot. If there are 3 children, place 3 eggs in each hiding spot, etc. That way each child takes one egg from each hiding place, leaving the remaining eggs for the other siblings to find at their own speed. You could also colour code for each child. The child with a visual impairment might have a colour they find easier to see like red or yellow, so all their eggs are that colour.
Another family suggested that all the eggs hidden on the floor were for the child with a visual impairment, and eggs hidden anywhere off the floor were for the sighted siblings. Having a smaller area to focus on, and knowing that nobody is going to collect your eggs before you can find them, makes the whole experience much less stressful and more enjoyable. Hiding eggs in places that you know the child will eventually need to look is also helpful. For example, put eggs in their shoes, jacket pockets, beside their toothbrush, or with their favorite toys. It may take them a while to find them, but it keeps the fun going throughout the day.
For those eggs that remain hidden, parents and siblings can use the “warmer, colder” technique to guide children to the eggs! Alternatively, you can purchase Beeping Easter Eggs (which you can find here), so children can rely on their sense of hearing to find those eggs. Warning, the beeper is quite loud, so this works best outdoors.
Yet another option is to create a scavenger hunt where siblings have to work together to figure out clues that guide them to the hidden eggs. Perhaps the clues can be written in braille or large print, and the child with the visual impairment is responsible for reading the clues, the children work together to decipher the clue to determine the location, and then the sighted children can help find the eggs at each location.
Lastly, you could bury the eggs in something, and have children use their sense of touch to dig them out. This could be plastic eggs in a sandbox that you replace with chocolate eggs later, or candy or chocolate eggs buried in Jell-o or pudding.
I hope you find an idea that will work for your family, that the Easter Bunny leaves you some delicious treats, and that you have a very Happy Easter!
by Shawn Marsolais