A child’s delight in hunting for Easter eggs (and consuming all the jelly beans stashed inside), dying eggs in vibrant colors, and digging through baskets full of chocolate bunnies may start to wane as they hit their pre-teen and teenager years. Your pastel plastic tablecloth with the flowers and bunnies is suddenly deeply uncool, and they’re rolling their eyes at your enthusiastic suggestion that they peel themselves off the couch to go looking for all the plastic eggs you hid for them.
But I think that’s bullshit; deep down, they want an excuse to enjoy the cheerful holiday, and you can give it to them. Here’s how.
Make the egg hunt worth their while
They’re going to think they’re much too old to be hunting for eggs at this age—that’s for little kids. Sure, it’s for little kids if you’re still filling them with tiny chocolate eggs, but this year you’re going to try something different: cold, hard cash. I always stick the occasional couple of quarters or dollar bill in the eggs I hide as a surprise, but Katie Bingham-Smith writes for Scary Mommy that as kids hit the teenage years, leaning in on that tactic will get them pumped up:
But here’s the catch: Don’t tell them there’s money in those eggs. I realize this only works for the first year, but it will be worth it. I did this for the first time last year and my kids stuck their noses up at finding eggs.
Then, my daughter took pity on me and started collecting a few. When she opened them and saw there was money stuffed inside, her brothers quickly changed their tune, and let’s just say I’m lucky no one got hurt.
I also don’t put money in every one. I stagger in their favorite candy too—makes it more interesting.
My additional suggestion, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, would be to fill the easy-to-find eggs with quarters or dollar bills and increase the monetary amount as they get harder to find. Maybe you cap it off with one particularly well-hidden egg that has a higher denomination, such as a $20 bill.
Help them up their egg-dying game
If you pull out the $2 PAAS egg-dying kit, of course they’re going to groan at you—what did you expect? They are much too old for that. But they’re not too old to decorate eggs entirely, because one is never too old to decorate eggs. In fact, with a smartphone at their disposal, their own creativity, and some more advanced fine motor skills, they can create some truly badass eggs, such as:
Let them be magic-makers
I always loved holidays as a kid, but I really love them as a parent because I get to be the one who makes the magic. Being the person who delights a child on a holiday is great feeling, and teenagers will love it, too. If they’re feeling like they’re too old to fully embrace the Easter fun themselves, put them in charge of creating that fun for their younger siblings or cousins.
If they don’t have younger siblings or cousins but there are young kids in the neighborhood, have your teens hide eggs in your yard and invite the little ones over for a bonus egg hunt. A little kid will not turn down the opportunity to hunt for eggs in a fresh location, and your teenagers will feel all warm and fuzzy about the extra joy they’ve helped create.
Have them help with the meal
Lots of pre-teens and teenagers like to cook, and if yours is among them, put them in charge of one or two dishes for whatever meal you’re planning to serve. Maybe this is the year they learn how to make an egg casserole or Nana’s famous blueberry muffins.
If they’re not cooking-inclined but they are artistic, maybe they want to create some festive place settings or arrange the fresh flowers for the centerpiece. Get them in the Easter spirit by assigning them a few more grown-up holiday preparation tasks.