Unique Easter basket ideas I’ve collected over the years to fill the Easter eggs without candy OR little junk!
It’s not even all about food this time. Or creating things with food like my dye-free Easter eggs.
Clearly we thoughtful parents are going to try not to buy bags of jelly beans, sweet tarts, Cadbury eggs, and pastel M&Ms, to name a few, but we’ll shoot for healthy Easter baskets without candy and attempt to avoid food coloring (and messes) on Easter eggs as well.
Unfortunately, the alternative ideas are often things.
Often cheap little things.
I don’t know about you, but my house is full of cheap little things. With 4 kids, I feel it even worse because little things magically end up all over the floor in random places, all the time. I used to think this was a toddler issue with the toddler thing of emptying shelves and drawers, then carrying something around until the very moment they see the next thing to carry around, at which point they drop the first thing.
Turns out it’s all kids. Darn.
So while people love to give little things to kids, and it makes them very happy in that moment, all that happiness is lost when mom is constantly saying, “Where does that go? Put that away. Why are there so many things all over the house!?”
Even worthwhile “things” are driving me nuts.
My kids have enough pencils and erasers to write their memoirs five times over.
We have more stickers than we have time to stick.
We have hairties and clippies for every room of the house.
More bookmarks than books, a half gallon of bubbles leftover from last year, sidewalk chalk from now until 2030, and more decks of cards than there are kids in our neighborhood.
And those dollar store puzzles for every holiday? They don’t stay together. I kind of use the word “junk” a lot when telling kids to clean up their stuff. 🙁
So as much as I want to make a list of 100 things you could put in an Easter basket without using sugar, I’m not going to.
If you need ideas for little things, check stocking stuffer lists. It’s the same system but with more pastels. (Here’s one from my friend Erin.)
Around here, you’re going to get a dose of practical, with a capital P.
Candy-Free Easter Basket Ideas
Unique Garden-themed Spy Kid Easter Basket Idea
This was exactly what was in our “healthy” Easter baskets circa about 2012, with 2 big kids and a toddler (and how it went):
- kid-sized gardening shears (dollar store)
- kid-sized gardening gloves from Meijer, our local big box store
- a package of seeds for each (the bunnies got Leah’s peas when they were about 3 inches tall, but Paul did manage to grow one whole pumpkin!)
- hair clips for Leah
- Larabars (some of which were still around after a year in our “emergency” snacks stash, oops) They offer minis now which I bet would fit inside Easter eggs though!
- YumEarth organics suckers (also still around after a year because they got so much candy other places, arg!) I do my best to trade out “better” candy for the horrid stuff now. I also see sour now, which might go over better with big kids!
- Surf Sweets no corn syrup/no artificial colors jelly beans and gummies (also still around after a year…sigh…the kids are inundated with parade candy and other junk, and it’s like they know which ones are “healthier” and avoid them. I actually thought about just refilling the eggs with the same old candies the next year! This was the last year I spent money on better candies – almost. See below…)
- Their own tape, since they were always stealing mine
- Along with their baskets, each one got a “spy kit” with a magnifying glass, silly glasses for a spy “disguise,” a notebook for clues and a pouch to keep it all in.
The toddler’s only contained organic freeze-dried fruits that we got for him as on-the-go finger foods anyway. Find freeze-dried fruit at:
- Tropical Traditions (pictured)
- Trader Joe’s
- Wildly Organic is good for dried and freeze-dried fruit too (use the code KS10 for 10% off!)
- Costco also often carries decent options
The toddler was overjoyed and they were definitely long gone before the next Easter. 😉 I’ve gotten smarter now and when I get healthier options for the kids in stockings or Easter baskets, I tell them immediately that they can eat something that morning, and then put the rest in their backpacks for school snacks for the next week. Done.
Easter Basket Idea with “Healthier” Candy and Treats (No Junk!)
Another year you can see that I focused on fun things to eat, but I refused to buy any junky candy.
- freeze-dried fruit for everyone
- fruit strips from Costco (find them here online)
- no-sugar squeeze pouches from my favorite ALDI
- SimplyNature brand granola bars (no refined sugars) and Moser Roth dark chocolate, also from ALDI
- Inside the Easter eggs are little candies from Costco with no food colorings, trans fats or high fructose corn syrup
This was the year I learned that my kids will put good dark chocolate in with a bunch of other candy so it starts to smell bad, and then 6 months later they’ll try to give it to me. I don’t bother anymore! Which leads to the advent of…
The Completely Candy-Free Easter Basket (because they won’t eat it anyway!)
I’ve given up on putting anything edible in the basket, more or less. They may get some of the fun fruit-based foods this year, but last year was ONLY good toys:
- non-toxic nail polish for the girl (check out my huge non-toxic nail polish review!)
- Rubik’s cubes for my oldest who absolutely loves them (wait until you see how smoothly the 2×2 speed cube moves, and here’s the original)
- Wiffle balls for the medium-sized boy
- plastic Easter eggs with coins in them to fill the piggy banks
Summer-Themed Easter Basket Fillers (no candy!)
Never underestimate how fun a set of goggles can be to give the kids something to look forward to for summer! New flip flops, swimsuits, dive toys for the pool, sunglasses, summer hats, sand shovels, or beach towels are great theme ideas too. Tip: wrap the whole basket in the beach towel when you hide it!
We’ve been loving a few of these Glory Stories that Santa got the kids, so maybe the E.B. will have to be in cahoots with S.C. and give them a few more from the stash in the basement that were supposed to be for their birthdays…
We are actually low on bubbles, finally, so those and Legos are the centerpiece of ours for this year. No junk. No candy. Coins in the eggs. Done.
Other Creative Easter Basket Ideas Without Junk or Candy
Gotta switch things up a bit each year, so this is my back-up list:
- Paleo Valley meat sticks
- tape, glue sticks, any craft supplies you’re actually running out of (never crayons, they always have too many of those!)
- Easy Reader books
- .mp3 books for big kids to listen to in the car
- a special new glass drinking cup or fun utensils for each, if I can come across something like that.
- whole fruit like an apple an an orange in each basket, and they can eat them before breakfast
- watercolors or finger paints – only if you don’t already have a zillion
- Clues in the eggs leading on a treasure hunt to one largish toy for the family
I can’t wait to hear your ideas for Easter baskets without candy or junky toys in the comments as well!
Reader Question: How to Keep the Season Holy
I received this question from a reader during Lent and thought I’d share, since minimalizing is on the brain anyway:
This is not necessarily a kitchen question, but more like a Christian mom trying to simplify life.
Easter is on its way. When I was a child we did our own celebration with the traditional baskets and all. Now, everyone involved in my children’s lives feel the need to do it as well. Sigh… Tons of tiny plastic toys and bags of sugar explosion treats piled up in my home. And I contribute to that pile as well!!!
Do you have any suggestions to simplify the holiday? Any thoughts on getting extended family members to back off…or at least scale down?
On such a sacred holiday, I find myself dreading all the times of saying “no”, and sneakingly trashing the majority of the piles of sweets. Thank you for any suggestions.
There’s nothing easy about holiday, even holy ones! First, I would say to keep Good Friday very stark, sacred, and quiet. No one will likely interfere with that, so take the control you have and run with it.
Wake up Easter Sunday and start with prayer in your bedroom, setting the stage for the reason for the day, not the basket hunt. As for baskets, I hear you – my kids get plenty, too. Last year I made a conscious effort to put together baskets without junk…
With any candy that comes into our house, it goes into a bag (each child has their own) and they are always allowed one “dessert” a day. If that’s a homemade dessert, great. If it’s one piece of candy after eating a good dinner, fine. If they have a treat for a birthday party at school, that counts as their “one.” Two on Sundays to celebrate the Sabbath.
I’d love it if they ate even less candy, but for now, this works for us. That way I also don’t have to stress as much about the total amount showered on them, because it just means they’ll have candy until they’re 25 years old. 😉 I make them weed it out from time to time and give away and throw away.
For extended family, sometimes a gentle and clear discussion helps, and sometimes it doesn’t. If you want to be frank, you could honestly say that you hate the thought of throwing away money they’ve spent, but that your kids can never get through all the Easter/Halloween/Christmas/parade/bank/etc. candy that they get, and it ultimately hits the can.
You could point out that your kids go ga-ga over fruit (if it’s true) and that you’d totally love to let them eat their hearts out while singing [insert family member’s name here]’s praises for the gift. My in-laws have always had the tradition of putting coins in their Easter eggs, so although that doesn’t mean they don’t still buy candy, it does mean we have less already unwrapped candy coming in. 😉
If cheap toys are a problem, take the offensive: during Lent, practice almsgiving by weeding out toys with your kids and taking them somewhere in your community where kids need toys. You hit two birds with one stone that way, the “service of God” bird and the “too many toys” bird.
Hmmm, methinks I should take my own advice on the weeding…if only there were 8 days in the week…