Easter Egg Hunt Goes Hi-Tech, Using GPS Devices & Beepers For The Blind

It’s a sign of the modern times – the popular tradition of the Easter egg hunt just went to another level, with kids in Johnson County, Kansas, using GPS devices to track down their tasty treats. And then there’s the St. Charles County, Missouri, police bomb squad, who helped blind children on their Easter egg hunt this year.

The annual Easter egg hunt in Antioch Park, Merriam, saw around 90 people searching for Easter eggs filled with candy or toys, with the Easter Bunny on site. The Johnson County Park and Recreation District reportedly lent out pre-programmed GPS devices to the participants in the annual hunt, lending a hi-tech air to the festive fun.

The Kansas City Star reported that 7-year-old Aubrey Massoth of Prairie Village, along with her 4-year-old sister, Kate, used a GPS device to track down the caches of chocolate, tasty treats hidden in various strategic spots around the park.

Reportedly, after Aubrey had gone in a circle around the small pond in the park, she announced, “It should be around here somewhere,” before eventually finding the box of eggs under a nearby bush.

According to event co-organizer, Lisa Scharnack, last year the Easter egg hunt was held at Shawnee Mission Park and was planned like “Amazing Race,” with the hunters given clues to track down the treats.

She added that this year, they decided to move the venue and to use GPS devices for the kids to find the eggs.

Another co-organizer, Nicole DeHaven, said, “We kind of change it up every year.”

“We’re probably going to stick with this for a while.”

Reportedly, the event was so popular, they had to lay on a second round of searching after the first group spent around an hour gathering the eggs. Each participant received two eggs, at each of the eight set caches.

Apparently, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, as the GPS devices directed the hunters to an area within about 20 feet of an Easter egg cache. After that, they had to go searching in the normal way.

It seems someone came up with a similar idea in San Francisco, this time with around 600 people interested in entering.

A GPS device wouldn’t be of much help to a sight-impaired child, however, and the similar event, held in Dardenne Prairie, St. Charles County, Missouri, needed a different kind of help to find the caches of goodies.

Members of the local bomb squad got to work, wiring a switch to a nine-volt battery along with a small speaker, on each egg cache, allowing the Easter egg to “beep” when a child got anywhere near it.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Cpl. Steve Case, commander of the bomb squad, as saying it took his crew around 10 minutes to prepare each egg and they’ve been doing this for the past five years. However, previously they had handed the eggs to special education schools, who hosted their own hunts.

This meant they normally didn’t see the kids finding the eggs, but he said this year they got to experience the Easter egg hunt firsthand.

“This makes it all worth it. All the burns from the soldering irons.”

Juley White, a St. Charles County park ranger, said it is so empowering for the children, adding, “To have the support of other people who understand you.”

Some kids still found the hunt difficult and others ran from egg to egg all over the park. One little girl found the eggs with her cane and announced the discovery every time. According to some of the parents, children who rarely smiled beamed all over their faces on finding the eggs, making the efforts of the bomb squad totally worthwhile.

[Photo via Flickr by Barney Moss cropped and resized/CC BY 2.0]