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How Do you Make an Easter Basket Without Junk?

Unique Easter basket ideas I’ve collected over the years to fill the Easter eggs without candy OR little junk! Find more inspiration in my Non Toy Kids Gifts for Christmas.

no-junk toys for Easter baskets (without candy!)

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

Junk 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.
Creative Garden-themed Easter baskets
toddler loves his freeze-dried fruit healthy Easter basket

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:

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.

healthier options for Easter basket, no food coloring
  • 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!)

toy ideas for Easter baskets without candy

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:

Summer-Themed Easter Basket Fillers (no candy!)

summer themed Easter basket goggles

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!

What’s Going in Your Easter Baskets This Year?

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.

My answer:

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…

Other No-Candy Holiday Ideas:

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

65 thoughts on “How Do you Make an Easter Basket Without Junk?”

  1. Our family has three sets of grandparents who like to give Easter baskets to the children. We simply and kindly told all of them that we wanted to watch the sugar intake and suggested other items that would be helpful to our family. We ended up with one set of grandparents making a cute basket with different colored socks in the eggs (socks disappear so fast at our house!), one set of grandparents who fills their basket with after school snacks instead of candy, and then one set who does the traditional candy/chocolate. We’ve pared our baskets down to just a fun container that can be used in their rooms filled with a couple of boxes of “movie candy” from the dollar store and a video or t-shirt or some other item that was requested on a previous shopping trip. Personally, I really appreciate the snack box because it saves me time and money. 🙂

  2. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish or Organic Cheddar Bunnies and Bunny Grahams make great plastic egg fillers for little ones! =)

  3. What about a book on Divine Mercy devotion which is the following Sunday or books, cards or anything on Popes John Paul II and John XXIII who will both be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27th. Or anything that will can be used to keep the celebration going all through Easter Week. Things that can be used for whatever you are doing for Spring Break. What about a badminton set to burn off all that energy from the candy. We are giving pretty rosary cases to the girls in their baskets and nice leather ones to the boys this year. The Hobbit is coming out tomorrow on Dvd. We are getting a copy for our kids. We usually have a place arranged for things that they will share like movies instead of in the individual baskets. Cute toothbrushes or earrings, hair accessories, lip balm/chapstick, lotions, sunglasses, flip flops, beach towels. Cookies in a jar mix for making later with Mom along with an apron and cookie cutters would be a good DIY gift and would be a nice activity for Easter Week too. Craft supplies of all kinds would be good too or some kind of kit like a model car or plane for a boy. Seeds and a trowel are good too. Hope this helps. Have a blessed Easter!

  4. My kids are getting a kids cookbook and a homemade apron, then a few plastic eggs with some candy. It certainly is a challenge! In the past I have put in gardening stuff, games, and framed pictures of Jesus.

  5. In the eggs, bandaids, legos, and Annie’s Bunny Grahams, and those TOOB animals by Safari, which we then use for learning activities the rest of the year. In the baskets, Books, some high quality small toy thing from the local toy store around $5 each, this year its a snap block thing similar to legos you can build 5 different things, and a National Audubon Bird Plush (we collect these and Easter is the perfect time for a new one for each kid to add to the collection, we then play a game where you listen to the song and guess the bird)). Fruit snacks are in the basket and the eggs … the ones that are terrible for you and have liscensed characters on the package… i never buy them except at holidays.

  6. Some of our ideas for the baskets this year are: Glory Stories, kids gardening gloves, gold dollar coins, fabric easter eggs, Homemade chocolate easter eggs w/ honey marshmallow inside, ebooks from Catholic Heritage Curricula -printed out. In the E-eggs we keep it pretty simple: jelly bellies and dimes. We hide one golden egg (wooden egg painted gold) and the finder gets a dollar. We also hide some egg-shaped side walk chalk.

  7. Wow my head is spinning with all these great ideas! I was planning on going tomorrow to shop for things to put in them so I went searching on Pinterest and found you!! I’m so over the candy and junk toys too and want the focus to be on Jesus and not the EB! Easter has always been my favorite so I tend to go overboard. I had thought of mostly the same things as far as what to put in the baskets…I love the coins idea (the leprachauns actually left them real money this year and it was so exciting to them) and the puzzle pieces idea! I love Melissa and Doug products and I’m all over the Annie’s bunny snacks too!! I am very practical and the idea of giving my kids toys that won’t last just for the sake of giving them makes no sense to me! I enjoy giving them gifts though and I love to see them all excited over it! Thanks for the ideas everyone!!!!!:)

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    Thanks for doing this post! My cousin’s boys are on a pretty strict diet with no additives/food coloring etc… we were just brainstorming ideas. I hope you plan to make this post a yearly thing! I am always looking for new ideas.

  9. One item i have started giving instead of plastic toys is a new colorful and fun looking toothbrush. I spend a bit more on it than i would if buying at another time of year and the kids get something colorful that is totally useful.

  10. I have 4 boys so bandaids are a major hit around here! 😉 The kids love having characters on their bandaids and it’s stuff we use constantly anyway. They get them in their Christmas stockings, too.

    We always got jelly beans (in 1/2) and coins (in 1/2) for the plastic eggs. I did coins for the first time with my boys last year and they loved it!

    Honestly, I’m at a loss, too. I just feel like I want to do away with Christmas stockings and Easter baskets entirely since I hate stuffing them and it all seems like extra junk and sugar. My husband isn’t so keen on that idea, though. He likes having them for the kids. If only he would stuff them, then!

    I love the idea of a scavenger hunt. My parents did that one year when we knew we were taking a road trip and the end of the hunt was a travel game for each of us to keep us busy on the road. I might do something like that this year since we’re driving FL to WA soon to move.

  11. Last year I found some small kumquats at Meijer and put them in plastic eggs (along with stickers). My boys loved the kumquats (but they generally get super excited over fruit). I think they’d be happy if I filled the whole basket with fruit! I really like the idea of hiding symbolic Easter eggs, or making it into a scavenger hunt. This year I think I’ll do fruit, a few craft supplies (my 5 year old really wants to make a bunny wooden spoon craft he saw), and seeds in the basket itself. And maybe I can do a blend of kumquats and Easter story related items in the eggs and have them “put together” the Easter story. It would be nice to have their focus not be so much on the treats even if they are healthy! Or maybe some year I can find or make a small Easter puzzle and have a piece in each egg….

  12. This is a great post that really got me excited about the possibilities for Easter. I like the flower pot and seeds ideas. I really can’t stand the cheap junk either; I want my kids to value quality not quantity. I really don’t like the Easter Bunny idea either, I think it detracts from the real meaning.

    My in-laws have scaled down a bit on the candy over the past few years (it still seems like a ton to me) but have replaced it with cheap junky toys and I just can’t stand that. I don’t think any of the 20 items they got last year lasted longer than two weeks. Ugh.

  13. It’s really interesting to me, reading about other people’svEaster traditions. Easter was my favorite holiday as a kid, specifically because it was so different from others — sacred, family-focused, Church-focused. We had so many traditions, many of them food centric, but none involving anything like an “Easter basket” that my friends got. My sister and I had Easter baskets, beautiful fabric-wrapped wicker ones that we used year afte year for the egg hunt on Eater Sunday, after Church. The eggs we were hunting were real hard boiled eggs, dyed on Holy Saturday and eaten for Easter brunch along with Polish sausage, placzak (Polish Easter bread) and orange juice. We loved hunting for the eggs — it was a competition, who could find more, and the eggs stayed in the baskets all day, displayed on the brunch and dinner tables.

    The moral of the story: Easter doesn’t have to involve an “Easter basket” at all for kids to love it and understand the specialness of the day.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Love that! We hunt the real hard-boiled ones, too, but we try to have each kid find 6…if I remember right… 😉 Katie

  14. We give saint books-cards or prayer books in the baskets and a nice cross necklace or bracelet is always a hit with our girls and totally appropriate for Easter. One year we gave the boys all St Benedict medals. Maybe we will get St Francis medals this year in honor of our new Pope. Veggie Tale movies or other religious or inspirational movies or music last lots longer than candy around here. We have a tradition of getting new bathing suits, flip flops, pool toys and beach towels in our baskets since we start swimming here after Easter. If you want to disguise store bought treats you can remove them from the original packaging and tie them up with pretty ribbon or cord in a circle of tulle ( netting) or cellophane. Looks LOTS prettier and custom too!

  15. We’ve always put some kind of craft kit in our baskets, which is one of the reasons we started our business, Corps of Re-Discovery. We try to tie it in to what we’re learning in our homeshcooling.

    We’ve also put swim suits or new pool towels in their baskets. We do coins in eggs, and over the year’s we’ve had scavenger hunts leading to a big prize.

    Our dentist gave us an excellent suggestion for the candy – he said to let them eat as much as they want the first 2 days (and parents brush kids teeth before bed) and then throw the rest away. That way, their metabolism doesn’t suffer from a daily sugar fix and their teeth don’t suffer from constantly being bathed in sugar – and by the 2nd day, there isn’t any “good” candy left anyway to tempt Mom!

  16. Finally…oh I am glad to see this posted. I feel the same way about the endless junk in the name of ‘childhood fun.’ This year I bought a nice puzzle and we are putting one piece in each egg…not only will we know if we found all the eggs or not, but it will be much more memorable and fun than cramming jelly beans in their faces.

  17. This is a little on the big side for Easter baskets, but they are awesome and seasonal: They make short, REAL spades, that are _just_ the right size for preschoolers and are decent quality tools, not junk made for kids that breaks just when they’re really working hard at something. They’re usually about $10, and in with the real garden tools at wherever you like to buy such things. I bought kid versions of rakes and hoes for my older kids last year, too, but I passed up the kid spade and bought the small real ones for about $2 more. And then got them the nice metal wheelbarrow that Radio Flyer sells (watch the various daily deal sites for a RF coupon). I have a little boy that likes doing real work, so we get the kids tools that will hold up to real work.

  18. I found a bunch of goodies for really cheap at the dollar store after Christmas. After talking with my sister today, that’s what my 5 year old niece is getting in her Easter bag from me. Some Christmas-y stickers, coloring books, and I love the idea of seeds! I gave her a kids sized rake and shovel for her 4th birthday and she LOVED them!

  19. For the Easter egg hunt, we have always put cut up stickers inside. The kids love it. They don’t have to have candy inside. The Dollar Tree has tons of sticker books for $1, just take them and cut stickers out to put in the eggs.

  20. Do any of your kids like puzzles? My girlfriend gave me a great idea to buy our daughter a puzzle (she loves puzzles, and I think they are great learning tools) and put 1-3 pieces in each egg. Then, hide them. After she finds the eggs, she can assemble the puzzle–if pieces are missing, time to look for more eggs. We are excited to do this this year!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Oh. My.

      My kids love puzzles! This might have to be it!
      Thanks! 🙂 Katie

    2. LOVE the puzzle piece idea! Last year we knew we would be taking the boys to Belize in May so I got them each a new beach towel and folded it into a “basket” then filled it with small beach toys, new flip flops, sunscreen, sunglasses and the like.

  21. We don’t do Easter baskets around here. Mommy is a musician – and that means a Crazy Busy Holy Week. Trying to do one more thing, would make my head explode.

    Instead, we pick a quiet Saturday in Alril for a Welcome Spring party. Our little family has a nice breakfast together, then we do something special together as a treat. In the past this has been family artwork, or kite building. I am thinking we might take a day trip and ride a handmade carousel. (There is an upper weight limit, so if Hubby has met his weight loss goal, it will be EXTRA special for him).

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      What can I say, Julie, I love your whole comment.

      But this – this is something I say often:
      “Trying to do one more thing, would make my head explode.”

      Glad to know I’m not the only one! 🙂 katie

  22. I’m thinking this year I am going to print out some “event” coupons and put them in the eggs. Trip to the local mini golf, an afternoon of board games, permission to stay up late one night, extra bedtime stories, livingroom picnic, trip to museum. There will of course be some candy, sidewalk chalk, a Frisbee, and every year my husband goes out and buys the kids new Easter Outfits that we hang above the baskets. We do coins in the eggs as well.

  23. I do one shared basket for dd’s and they each get a summer outfit new or something cute from goodwill, a book on tape, books bubbles, seeds, bonnets, flip flops, garden tool , wind chrime or the like for the garden- when I was child we had an egg hunt at my grandmothers with 40 cousins nothing in any of the 20 dozen eggs, except one had a $5 bill though that egg involved climbing a tree or building -lol. and then after all the eggs were counted we would have a peanut scramble unless there was snow. I too can not stand cheap junk. oh yes the basket is always hidden with “treasure map” available.

  24. Rabbits are not the focus of our Easter celebration, but Annie’s brand bunny treats are a special treat around here–crackers in cheese or graham flavors are a hit. This year I discovered the gummy “fruit” bunnies that will be a surprise. Maybe some of those could go in your eggs.

  25. We buy baskets each year, but that’s because we do Easter Sand Buckets. I think my little guy will get some other sand toys in his basket, too.

  26. Do your kids have kites? I don’t know if you really wanted suggestions, and they are large, but it’s an idea.

    I think this year we’ll do sidewalk chalk, slinkies, and seed packets…maybe one other thing each. They also (thankfully, and probably only for now) think that freeze-dried fruit and cheddar bunnies (like goldfish crackers) are treats.

    We bought small baskets a long time ago, so it doesn’t take much to make them look full. That was a happy accident 🙂

  27. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Ours got raisins and coins a couple years ago. Also a car (Matchbox) for each boy and a hat and a kids’ outdoor chair. They still have the cars and chairs. Those were nice.

    This year we might borrow the seeds idea. I’d stick it in a clay pot with a paint brush and a little paint, a baggie of dirt, and a small trowel. They can paint the pot, then plant the seeds. And no ‘extra’ stuff. 🙂 This is something I’d like to do with them anyway so why not as an Easter present?

    My mom always buys bunny crackers, Larabars, etc. “Approved” candy. The youngest ones sometimes get a cute outfit from a consignment store. In general we go small though.

  28. When did gift or trinket-giving become a part of Easter? All we ever had was a basket to put our eggs in, and maybe a chocolate bunny. Why on earth do kids need any more ‘gifts’ (aka junk)? Why are parents so afraid their kids won’t get enough junk?

    1. I have to ask the same question, Barbara. When did we get to the point that we think that every holiday not only we as parents, but everyone else thinks our children need plenty. Is this a bad example that we are setting for our children? I use to go way overboard with Easter baskets. Then I switched it to organic candy. Then I had to cut that out because of one daughter’s allergies. Now we hide empty eggs. Everyone is fine with that as it is in finding the eggs that they enjoy. We still do an Easter basket, but it has one book in it and one fair trade, no soy chocolate bar in it. For my girls to get any chocolate is huge. They are perfectly content.

      We have had to tell grandparents that we can no longer have the candies due to the allergies. They actually seemed relieved not to have to buy anything.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hooray! A voice of wisdom! You might not believe this, but to some people in our lives, Valentine’s Day and even St. Patrick’s Day come with gift bags. I am not kidding…

    3. I don’t think that’s the fear at all, if there is a fear. Most parents received an Easter basket with some candy, and some with some trinkets or something special. My own often had a bunch of candy (a lot for me, but nothing compared to nowadays), a little toy, book or box of stationary, and something to go with my Easter dress, one year a hat, another a bow, etc. Traditions vary, but the idea is the same for a good number of families. At the core, it is a bunch of candy. The discussion here is what to do in lieu of all or most of the candy, so children don’t feel like the Easter Bunny loves other children more than our children. All of our efforts are great, but they don’t happen in a vacuum.
      In our house, our Easter Basket generally has quite a few books. Our school book sale fundraiser happens in March, which is excellent timing, the kids shop and make lists, buy their top pick(s) with their own money, and mom secretly picks up a few others from the list for their baskets. In addition, a few small things that they will use, such as small accessory sets for their current Lego passions, or a Hexbug (Easter-themed), or some special or rare part(s) for their other passions (picked up locally, on EBay, or elsewhere). And a small candy item, such as a small organic chocolate bunny or a little bag of gummy bunnies made with juice (Annie’s brand are GREAT for this!).
      Is it a pile of useless trinkets? Nope. Does it overshadow the religious meaning? Not at all, often there is a book or bookmark or other religious item in it, and the meaning of the day is first and foremost in our discussions. But is it a basket they will be excited about? Absolutely.
      Thank you Katie, for all of your ideas on this topic. It is difficult at times to avoid the junk (food and otherwise), and still let our kids have some of the small indulgences in our consumer culture. Your thoughts are always so helpful!

  29. I am a big kid now but my mom still gets me and my husband an Easter basket. I’ve never been big on sweets and now really don’t like them knowing what’s in them. So last year I asked for fruit instead if candy. My mom is super crafty so she wrapped each one with strips of cute pastel or patterned paper to make them look like decorated eggs. I thought it was super cute and healthy!

  30. I love the tape idea!! I used to think my mom was crazy the way she’d carry on about us putting the tape (and her scissors) back when we used it. But now that I’m the mom…I totally get it!! We always do kites in the Easter baskets. Cheap ones that will get ruined by the end of the year anyways. And seeds, and books from the half-price book store or Goodwill. I’m going to try my hand at homemade Reese’s peanut butter eggs this year, those are my husband’s favorites!

  31. The most awesome Easter celebration for kids that I’ve experienced was when my daughter Peggy created symbols of the Easter story and put them in 12 plastic eggs. The kids all participated in hunting for the eggs (no opening until everyone was together again) and as the numbered eggs were opened in sequential order Mama told the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I don’t remember all the symbols, but there were 3 dimes in one, to represent the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received, little nails in another to portray the nails that held Jesus to the cross, etc. You can find a commercial product called resurrection eggs at www.christianbook.com but Peggy was very creative and came up with her own. The kids loved it! and it was far more meaningful and long-lasting than trinkets and candy. It made a Grammy’s heart sing!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Karen,
      How beautiful! Peggy must have had a wonderful mother…

      😉 Katie

  32. My kids’ Easter baskets will be Stuffed animal chairs like these

    http://www.amazon.com/21-x23-Plush-Animal-Chair/dp/B00807FJAQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363281312&sr=8-1&keywords=stuffed+animal+chairs

    That will make a new reading corner for them.

    The grandparents buy the kids enough junk food we don’t have to add to it.

  33. I SO feel for this topic! Our church, along with several others, are sponsoring an Easter egg hunt and they want candy donations. I just can’t!!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Yep…My husband read out loud from the church bulletin Sunday, “Oh, they have an Easter egg hunt!” and I was thinking, “Why is he reading the bulletin for the first time ever right now?” b/c I already knew about it and just felt cynical (cookies and juice afterward too) and didn’t want to do it. 😉 Katie

  34. Oh and one year my daughter was really into Blue’s Clues so we did a Blue’s Clues themed Easter Egg hunt. We sang the Blue’s Clues song and told her we were looking for eggs and some of them would have Blue’s pawprint on them. So we found all the eggs and we found a letter and sang “we just got a letter.” Three of the eggs had clues and we took the clues and sat in our thinking chair to solve the puzzle. The clues led us to the place were the Easter baskets were hiding! That year she got some new shoes, bubbles and coloring supplies…and some homemade cookies!

  35. We did coins when I was a kid, but so far with my kids we’ve just hidden empty eggs and have a lot of fun finding them for the sake of finding them. Their Easter baskets are usually full of things I actually really want them to have…like swim suits, hats, sunscreen…stuff for the coming warm months. And then we usually go to our local indoor pool to try out the new suits. My girls like flowers. My mom always got me daffodils on Easter so I am continuing the tradition. Books, educational toys, stuffed animals….it depends on what I feel they could use at the time. Like my kids has a lot of books so I don’t usually get them more books, but when my oldest was potty training I got her an Elmo potty training book. I love the idea of seeds and gardening supplies!

  36. Kaitlin Jenkins

    You should totally do coins in the eggs! My parents did that for years and we loved it! They would hide them all over the house and yard (always had a count of total eggs hidden) and let us run around and find them. My parents also tried not to give us too much candy, we would usually get a chocolate bunny each and then a stuffed animal, game or book in our basket instead of a ton of candy. We dyed our own eggs the night before which builds the anticipation. We always loved it, and I plan to do something very similar with my future children.

  37. Lego sets! Doesn’t really get rid of the “lots of tiny things” problem, but they are a fun, high quality toy. What about other art supplies, like a watercolor set or finger paints? Sunglasses? And “more stickers than we have time to stick”?? Is this possible? LOL. The more the merrier at our house. 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Ah, we do need watercolors finally, but each kid already has 2-3 pair of sunglasses. I’m not kidding about the excess! 😉 Thanks for the paints idea! 🙂 Katie

  38. My boys are 4 and 8 and my life’s mission for the past few years (among other things) has been to rid our home of cheap little toys – I can’t stand them! But somehow they keep making their way into our lives…the battle continues 🙂 For Easter, I’m planning on some special healthy-ish homemade treats, books and money. Thanks for the ideas above, everyone – I think my boys would love an Easter treasure hunt!

  39. We put clues in the eggs leading to some “thing”. This year it’s a little play doh set and that is all & I’m gonna be ok with that 🙂

  40. Definitely do coins, that’s all we had in eggs growing up so it feels traditional to me!

    Ideas for the basket: the dollar spot at target has Easter socks… At least they’ll get worn! Do any of them need a new sun hat or sunglasses or water bottle for summer? Water color paint set? I think the organic fruit leather sounds fun!

  41. For any of you that have teens who drive: One of the coolest stocking stuffers (or Easter basket goodies) I got as a teen was a gift certificate to the gas station! (yeah, it was before gift cards–I’m “old”) And gas was a LOT cheaper back then–today’s teens would probably appreciate a gas station gift card even more.

  42. Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

    What great ideas, Katie! This is something I had been really struggling with over the years as we switched to a real food lifestyle. Then last year, I decided to do a book basket – since my boys are now preteens and like to read, I picked out a few books from authors they enjoy and put a few dollar bills in the book pages for them to find. I also tossed a bag of home baked almond flour chocolate chip cookies into the baskets along with some plastic eggs filled with quarters. They really seemed to like their baskets and I was glad to finally have something substantial to put in there that they’d use. I’m with you on all the junky little trinkets. LOL! Have a super blessed Easter!!

  43. I’ve got the two older kids (4 1/2 & almost 6) baskets knocked, but am totally at a loss as to what to put in the 19 month-old’s basket. He doesn’t need toys. He doesn’t need clothes. He’ll get a little candy (natural stuff), but less than even the older kids will get. He’s not old enough for the stuff the older kids will get. A package of underwear, maybe? Potty training’s not far off with this one, as our living situation this summer will make it very easy to do.

  44. We usually go to spend Pascha (Orthodox Easter) with friends, who always have an egg hunt that includes a loooooot of candy. So we’ve slowly cut down our kids’ baskets at home to almost nothing. It helps, too, that for Pascha we make up a huge basket full of traditional Slavic foods that we eat at a special meal after the midnight service. The kids help with all the food prep, and with making up the basket, so they get more excited about that than the candy baskets. We fast from meat, eggs and dairy throughout Lent, so by the end, kielbasa and cheese pascha (sort of like spreadable cheesecake, only better!) and kulich (sweet cardamom bread made with farmers cheese and a truly ridiculous amount of eggs) are a MUCH bigger deal than chocolate!

    If you did something like that – cut something they like out of your Lenten diet – then when Easter rolls around and they can have it again, especially if it’s in their baskets Easter morning, it’s a treat without having to resort to candy.

    1. That is an awesome idea! I grew up in the Reform tradition where no one practices Lent and Easter is typically just the day of, but I have always felt there should be so much more. The idea of fasting from certain foods and receiving those in a basket for Easter would be very festive and exciting and such a great physical reminder of the Resurrection and new life!

      My children are very young, so we are still working out what we want to do for traditions since neither my husband nor I have strong family traditions to bring into our celebration. We did do small baskets last year, with a single small chocolate bunny in each, a kite for my son and a new fuzzy blanket for my daughter, and they had fun dyeing eggs and then finding them after I hid them. I think it’s fine for them to have a small treat, they just don’t need a whole basket full. This year I am thinking I will include new sandals for each, though that gets more complicated since good shoes are the one thing I splurge on and typically get them properly fitted.

  45. Can you put dyed Easter eggs in them? (Assuming your kids would eat hard boiled eggs.) My mom used to do that for us.

      1. If you hide any food items around the house, please, please, please…count them and made sure the kids find them all before they start to devour them. We had an unfortunate incident of a long lost hard boiled egg…I’ll leave it at that…

  46. I feel your pain! With 7 kids now, incl. a 16mo old who’s old enough to know when she wants something 😉 it gets increasingly difficult to figure out stuff like this. I’m already overwhelmed in our little place with “stuff” everywhere, so I try to go easy on the candy (I also go for the organic lollipops and other special treats like that) and get one or two special things for each of them.

    This year I splurged a little, and bought them actual chocoloate bunnies (not organic – from See’s, because I have a fondness for their chocolate from my childhood – I’m bad, I know) – bigger ones for the big kids, smaller ones (progressively) for the smaller ones. I’m probably going to get my boys (one who’s 14 and as ASD, the other is 3) a couple of Hot Wheels or Monster Trucks, and I usually try to get the girls something girly – non-toxic fingernail polish, or hair things, or a necklace/bracelet, etc. I’m totally over the stocking/egg stuffer-type stuff fo’ sho. Perhaps a special babydoll for my youngest. I like your idea of seeds; I can’t plant stuff here (it’s a rental apartment) but that’s a great idea for the future. 🙂

  47. Go for the coins! My daughter loves them now and I think they will go into the eggs this year. Also, seed packets can fit into an egg if you smoosh them a little bit. Raisins or other dried fruit, bubbles (dollar store in the wedding section), chalk (maybe for the sidewalk), finger puppets, and we are doing resurrection eggs although they won’t go hunting for those. Good luck and thanks for some great ideas!

  48. I like the idea of coins in the eggs. If our eggs had one or two very shiny coins in each one, I think the kids would LOVE them.

  49. We did coins in eggs last year – perfect! We’ll definitely be doing it again this year…and for the basket, a few snacks. Probably a Bible book of some kind.

  50. Julia Skinner

    No basket, my 8yr old wants a proper treasure hunt with clues, she is over the EB so it is easier. There will be a single high quality egg at the end. They will get some off other people as well. Last years sat in the fridge for months until I through them out.

    I struggle with this at birthday parties too, don’t want to give them a heap of lollies or crappy plastic toys in the take home bag – who started that trend anyway.

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