Editorial note: We’re delighted to turn the blog over to guest blogger David Hyche, a NAPVI dad and ATF agent, for his tips on hosting a beeping Easter Egg event for children who are blind or visually impaired.
Holding a Beeping Easter Egg Event
To hold one of these events you will need a large flat grassy area with no holes, large rocks or fire ants. If you are from the northern US or a country that does not have fire ants, count your blessings.
I mark off an area appx. 50 meters square with stakes and crime scene tape as a safe boundary. Leave a space for easy entry and exit for the kids and helpers. I then have helpers turn on the eggs and place them on the grass around the area.
I use appx. 40 eggs at a time. As the kids find the eggs and pick them up the helpers turn them off and put them back in the child’s basket so that the noise is only coming from the eggs that are still in play. VERY IMPORTANT that partially sighted kids and sighted siblings wear blindfolds or they will find all of the eggs. During the event we make sure that all kids find eggs by placing more on the ground if needed.
My sighted son also has been caught looking under his blindfold so watch out. I also advise that you limit or exclude sighted participants as much as possible because it is difficult to tell small kids not to find all of the eggs. We will have a separate area for a small traditional egg hunt for sighted siblings and this works better.
After the kids find all of the eggs I have them go to a table and we exchange the beeping eggs for candy eggs and start over again. I run about 8-10 kids at a time and keep it going as long as they like.
We also have other activities for the kids that make the event more special. We have had hay rides, fishing, horse back riding along with police and fire equipment and personnel for the kids to meet and learn about through touch.
Constructing the Beeping Easter Eggs
There are several methods for constructing the beeping Easter Eggs and my way is simple but durable and dependable. I purchase the components from Radio Shack. The items I have been using are:
- a small steel toggle switch (275-635) or a cheaper small toggle switch if available
- a 3-24v piezo beeper (273-066)
- a 9v battery and 9v connector (270-325)
- electrical tape
- large plastic Easter eggs
Many stores have these eggs for sale in packages of six or twelve and I usually buy them after Easter at Hobby Lobby for about 99 cents for 6.
1) I construct the eggs by drilling one hole in the long end of the egg just large enough for the threaded end of the toggle switch to fit snugly through.
2) I then drill several holes around the egg with an appx 1/8 inch bit to allow the sound to escape.
3) I solder one lead from the 9v clip to one connector on the toggle and solder one lead from the beeper to the other toggle connector. The solder is needed on the toggle connections to keep that connection secure through rough handling.
4) The second beeper wire can be attached directly to the remaining 9v battery lead. This creates a single switch series circuit that allows the battery to be replaced by simply removing the 9v clip and re-taping the new 9v in place. The wires can be twisted together and secured with electrical tape.
5) I secure the toggle switch to the hole drilled in the long end of the egg using the nut and washers supplied with the switch. Tight but not so tight the egg cracks.
6) The piezo beeper must be secured to the 9v with electrical tape. Make sure that you attach the battery to the beeper with the long ends of the beeper running the length of the battery so the egg will close securely. You might want to put a small piece of tape on the outside of the egg holding the two halves together.
Please contact me if you have questions or need assistance.
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