By Kathryn Trudeau

Easter baskets and candy go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Just imagine all of the Easter baskets overflowing with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and chocolate coins. However, as tempting as that candy may be, more and more parents are looking for alternatives for Easter baskets.  Maybe your child has dairy allergies and can’t tolerate most chocolate?  Maybe you’d like to spend Easter morning with happy kids – not hyper, sugared-up kids? Maybe you just don’t like the ingredients in most conventional candy (I’m looking at you, artificial dyes and processed sugars!). 

Ditching the candy doesn’t mean your Easter basket has to be a dud.  On the contrary, a candy-free Easter basket might give your kids a more memorable Easter plus fun that lasts for days to come.  Not quite sure what to put in the basket? Check out these ideas for an Easter basket that even Easter Bunny would approve of.

The “Experience” Baskets

The beauty of an “experience” basket is that the contents of the basket foster family memories and experiences while giving kids fun that lasts for more than one day. You could even create a theme for the basket, but the overall idea is that you are giving experiences, not just trinkets.

  • The Beach Basket: This basket could include everything your son or daughter needs for beach trips. Think: flip flops, a new beach towel, a new swimming suit, and toys for building sand castles. 
  • The Fishing Basket: Do you ever take your kids fishing with you? Create a fishing basket with a new pole, a new lunchbox and thermos for early morning fishing trips, and a new hat.
  • The Mini Baker: Do you watch cooking shows with your kids? (I do!) Create a fun baking basket with silicone molds, a mini cake pan for kid-sized cakes, and some kid-sized cooking utensils. While I admit that this basket comes close to the “candy” basket, this basket still requires some experience and activity between parents and child.

What other experiences could you give your children?  You could put Zoo tickets in a basket with some new walking shoes and a hat or you could put concert tickets in a basket for older kids with a gift card to go out to eat beforehand.  The sky is the limit here; it’s all about bonding with the familia. 

Spring Fever

Easter is a happy time of year; the flowers are beginning to sprout, birds start chirping again, the days start to last longer.  The spring fever baskets celebrate the season of spring.

Ideas for a spring-inspired basket include:

  • Chalk: You can even find cool stencils for sidewalk chalk too.
  • Bubbles: What toddler doesn’t love bubbles?
  • Jump rope
  • Bouncy balls
  • New outfits for spring: What says spring better than a Sunshine onesie?

The Artsy Basket

Art items are always a good choice for kids, and it’s easy to adjust the items for toddlers or even older kids.

  • Crayons
  • Coloring books
  • Silicone molds to create your own crayons: Simply melt down old nubby crayons (without the paper of course!) and pour the hot wax into the silicone mold and voila! New crayons in fun shapes!
  • Washable paints and giant rolls of paper
  • Playdough
  • Craft kits for older kids

The Reasons for the Season

Of course, we need to consider the reason for the season! Little children, especially toddlers, might not fully understand all that we celebrate during Easter, but we can help them understand Easter by adding a few thoughtful gifts to their Easter baskets.

  • Easter books: Board books are especially good for little hands.
  • The Lost Sheep: The Shepherd’s Treasure guides little minds to explore the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Think of The Lost Sheep as a Christian version of Elf on the Shelf.

But what about all of the Easter eggs?

Okay so you’ve got the Easter basket covered, but what about all of those eggs? Your kids can still have the joy of hunting for Easter eggs, but this year, they won’t find candy when they open up the eggs.  Moms from around the country have chipped in with their favorite egg fillers:

  • Money: Obviously, this works best for older kids, but you could put quarters in for younger kids and help them safely stash their treasure in a piggy bank.
  • Chuck-E-Cheese tokens: One mom stocked up on tokens and filled the eggs with the coins. Later in the week, she took her kids to Chuck-E-Cheese to use their tokens for a fun afternoon.
  • Pretend jewelry
  • Hot wheels car: These fit better in the jumbo-sized Easter eggs.
  • Silly putty: They’ve done the work for you! Silly putty already comes in egg-shaped containers!
  • Little love notes from you to your child
  • IOU for one-on-one “dates”: Consider a Mommy-daughter tea or a Daddy-son date to the movies.

 Of course, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to combine any of these ideas too! There’s no rule that says you can’t have a Shepherd tucked nicely into an art-themed basket! Mix and match whatever you think your child will love the most.

Happy Easter!

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Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at  www.katietrudeau.com