Possibly some of you have already ventured through an "Easter Egg" hunt or some kind of "hunt" today or earlier this week. To the rest of you.... get ready. :) Be prepared and have fun.
A Few "Easter Egg Hunting" Tips!
First... before going...."Visualize" the event.... I do not mean in a "mystical sense" - I mean... really/ realistically, what do you expect to happen and what is the goal? Do you want your child to just enjoy being outside? Do you want your child to mingle or interact with some other children? Do you just want to relax outside and enjoy the fresh air? Do you want your child to find some Easter Eggs?, Etc. Whatever, you want.... then you will have to pave a way.. or prepare for alternative routes. So, realistically.... know what you want.. what the event entails... and your child's strengths and challenges before jumping into an Easter Egg hunt amongst 100's of screaming children. :)
For example, find out what your child thinks he/she is going to go do at an Easter Egg Hunt... place eggs in a basket - does he/she think they are going to place "all" the eggs in their basket? Does your child know that other children will be there? Does your child know that other children will be running and grabbing eggs to place in their basket? ........ Ensure that your child knows what to do and expect at the site.
So.... Let's Do a "Mock" Plan...
V: Visual Supports: So much can fall under this category which can help.... You may want to draw this out... Act this out... , etc. beforehand. Help your child "see" the expectations. Help your child "see" what they are supposed to do. You may be able to find a video clip of children "hunting" Easter Eggs. You can easily draw it out, etc. Help your child know "when" - "after church" or "after lunch"... place it on a schedule.. or write it out. Help your child know "where" the "hunt" will take place.. but also what are the parameters of the hunt... you may need some boundary markers if it is not in an enclosed - fenced in area, etc.
I: Interest: The Easter Egg Hunt may be a motivating factor in and of itself... however, if not, then use your creativity... place stickers of the child's interest on some Easter Eggs; place items of interest inside a few of the Easter Eggs; or.. if your child "looks" in different areas.. (you may want to map these out - Visual - earlier ) then he can play with an item or activity of interest. However, first the 5 areas to look... (be helpful if he actually finds an egg in one of the places to enhance his interest in the new activity... looking for Easter Eggs) and then he can spin in the swing.... or play his portable video game, etc. :)
Note: if this is a community Easter Egg hunt.. then you may want to map out the boundaries and items of interest(s) beforehand. For example, if you are building the event up as an exciting event.. and there are only 10 Easter Eggs for 20 kids.. then you might want to look elsewhere for fun. :)
C: Communicate - Make sure your child or student knows what to do - communicate this to your child/student beforehand and during.... there will be many distractions - so prepare for a way to communicate amongst the distractions. A thumbs up (gesture) or green card (visual cue) can be held up to indicate all is well - Clap, tickle, laugh, .... communicate "fun". However, make sure you communicate "no" or "off-limits" too. Safety is important!
T: Transitions - O.K., prepare for the trip to the hunt... "waiting" for the start signal... and ending the activity. If this is a "planned" Easter Egg hunt, and you have access to the area, etc., then make sure your child finds 5 Easter Eggs... or "3".... by stating a goal... it may help with ending the activity. Of course, "you" will have to make sure he/she can locate "5" or the "3" Easter Eggs - also, make sure the transition plan is known to the child... so.. after you find ___ Easter Eggs, then we say "Thank You" to Ms.____.... and get in the car to play your "video game", etc. (again, visual cues can help with this.. especially if you review the sequence of events beforehand).
O: Opportunities - This is actually a wonderful opportunity to teach prepositions, joint attention, sharing, turn taking, etc.. For example, "Look up (as you are pointing up with your finger) on the grill.... or plant the egg where they see it, but need to "communicate" to you to get it for them - you can say, "Oh, so you want the.____" and they end the sentence or attempt to say, "Egg".
R: Reinforcement - Make this a reinforcing event... if there is screaming, pushing, and grabbing... then it may be a nightmare for your child and you. You don't want your child to run - escape the event.... so, prepare in the other areas.... map out where he/she can find the eggs, take turns, interact with others, etc., but in a safe and reinforcing manner. Again, you may need to tie your child's interest to the hunt, if he/she is not thrilled about a "hunt". You can also practice a hunt in the backyard... with your child hunting items of interest... (e.g., you can say, "We are playing a game - 'Dinosaur' hunt... there are 3 dinosaur surprises in our "fenced in" backyard. If you find them, then you can keep them...." ) ... again you may have to help to make an "Easter" Egg Hunt reinforcing. :)
I: Independence - This is a great opportunity to teach a child to look for "clues" in the environment vs. focusing highly on one aspect. It will need to be a reinforcing activity or it probably will not be repeated. So, plan, plan, plan....Make it where the child can find them, place them in their basket, etc. Preparation again helps. Prepare your child to seek assistance for help.. encourage your child to communicate ... , etc. However, planning and preparing opportunities for this helps.
E: Environment - Examine the environment.... if it doesn't look safe.. and the boundaries are not clear.. then find an environment that is conducive to your child's strengths and challenges. I'm not saying.. don't go to the church's Easter Egg Hunt.. however, I am saying.. all environments are not equal. Therefore, know the environment... look for triggers which could cause problems... for example, if the hunt is next to a fire station... and your child is fearful of sirens, then either prepare the child for the sirens... (headphones, social narrative beforehand, rehearse what to do when the siren occurs, etc.) .. or move your Easter Egg Hunt to a different environment.
S: Socialization - This is a great time to practice social skills... for example, smiling, saying, "Thank You", "Please", or "No Thank You", asking for help, etc. This is a time when your child could practice conversing with other peers or complimenting others. For others, it may be a time to "wait" next to other children, "share" eggs, or "take turns" playing on a certain toy, etc. If you expect your child to do this and they have the skills, then support it by tying social reinforcement to it. Help make it a "win/win" situation - where social reinforcement is tied/paired with something your child likes.
I didn't cover going to church or the Easter Story. If you would like a visual for church or some ideas.. then let me know. I'll check back before the end of the day. A hint regarding church: how can it be a pleasant experience for your child? Where is the best place to sit or go regarding a service? What questions or confusion may occur regarding the Easter Story? It might help to go over these things before tomorrow.
I hope you have a truly blessed and pleasant Easter. Take care!