Easter is coming up and with it the need to fill the kids’ Easter baskets with goodies. I love doing this. Here are some thrifty, practical and fun ideas for Easter basket treats.
I’ve listed these as “traditional ideas” but I think that label might be more personal than anything else. Growing up our Easter baskets were very modest, but there was always something in there from Avon. I remember butter-yellow duck-shaped soaps, packages of bubble bath, and a small item of jewelry in many a basket. Most of the ideas below are probably more health and beauty or personal-care themed, but as the earth renews itself each spring, so can we indulge in emerging fresh and clean after a long winter indoors.
- Hair accessories: I always like to include something for the hair, be it a headband, fascinator, flower crown, or hair clip. I like to think of it as a modern take on the traditional Easter bonnet. Flower crowns have surged in popularity, and I think they fit in perfectly with the idea of spring and can be worn to Easter Dinner.
- Make up: Isobel has discovered a love of make up lately, so I’m going to include an inexpensive sparkly eye shadow in her basket. I think I received my first powder puff in an Easter basket from my Mom. Lip gloss and chap stick would also be a good idea.
- Novelty soaps: the Avon novelty guest soaps of my childhood have given way to a dazzling array of soaps available in every shape and color imaginable for sale on places such as Etsy. I love the idea of giving soap because it’s practical and useful, and also fun, but also because I love the metaphor of things becoming new again in spring and soap being cleansing metaphor for renewal. Also, you can can find soap that looks like Peeps! Really, you can find soap that looks like anything. Donuts. Sushi. A giant one-pound gummi bear. Anything.
- Free samples: Lots of times an order online might come with something extra, like free samples or free gifts. If you save up the little lotions or bits of make up and things like that that come free with a package of something you’ve ordered online, you are half way there to filling up an Easter basket. As long as it’s something that’s safe and appropriate for kids (bigger kids and pre-teens, for the most part), it’s a thrifty way to give them something fun and “grown up.”
- Bath Bombs: My kids love baths and love anything that makes a bath more special. My friend and Stef’s sister in law Maren just opened a shop on Etsy that sells these cute dino egg bath bombs. Each comes with a special surprise inside, too. I ordered one for each of the kids’ baskets. They are going to love that it was made by their friend Maren.
- Socks and Undies: I remember the Easter bunny bringing me frilly ankle socks to wear with my mary janes to church and day of the week panties with Garfield on them.
- Necklaces and Pins: Thank Avon for the adorable little heart necklaces and plastic holiday pins that adorned every coat and sweater I owned. My mom and grandma used to wear either matching or coordinating holiday pins, and so she did the same with me, and I have been doing the same with Isobel. This is the perfect thing to shop for in thrift and antique stores.
Though I mainly focus on thrifty things to do and purchase, I have no problem spending a bit more on things that we need and things that will last. Investing in quality is one way to be thrifty. While I have scoffed at people who spend tons of money on filling their kids’ Easter baskets, there are things that are worth spending money on, especially if you were going to buy them for your kids anyway
- Rain Boots: Our life changed for the better when Isobel’s Grandma Marty bought her a pair of galoshes for her birthday. They were the first shoes she could put on by herself and are essential for rainy day wear and puddle jumping. They have also been invaluable in the summer months for using in the garden and keeping her sneakers from being destroyed. I just got Elias his first pair and now we are never without.
- Summer Sandals: Saltwater sandals or water shoes are necessary when it’s 108 degrees every day for a week as it will be here in a couple months. And they look so pretty in an Easter basket! Flip flops are a good idea, too.
- Umbrella: Necessary to get through the winter but also a lot of fun to take on Springtime nature walks.
- A DVD for Family Movie Night: For the most part I think movies sort of head into Christmas gift territory, but you can find them pretty inexpensively and it can be a gift to the whole family for a special movie night together during spring break.
- A Kite: Kites can be found inexpensively, but the cheap ones can be really hard to use. Stef gave Isi a beautiful yellow butterfly kite that we took on many adventures and used a lot until it finally got stuck in a tree. A nicer, more expensive kite can be another gift for t the whole family.
- A New Game: Whether it’s a board game or a console game, if it’s something that the kids can do together, or even better, something the whole family can participate in, I think it’s worth it.
- Sunglasses: Your kid’s future is bright.
- Books: Any excuse to buy books, really.
OUTDOOR SPRINGTIME ACTIVITIES
I personally believe that the contents of my kids’ baskets need to reflect, at least partially, the season in nature we are celebrating.
- Bug Catching Containers: I’ve seen these inexpensively everywhere. Even the nice ones are pretty cheap.
- Bubbles: I’m convinced you cannot go wrong with bubbles. I bought a bubble blower gun at the dollar store and Elias is nuts for it.
- Butterfly Nets: Kids always have fun with these, though I’ve yet to actually witness them catching any butterflies with it. Mostly it’s an excuse to hold it and swing it around wildly while they run. I guess it’s closer to a piece of exercise equipment that way.
- Watering Cans: Both my kids love to participate in the gardening chores using their own special watering can.
- Trowels, shovels, and spades: Good clean fun, in that the fun gets your kids as dirty as possible.
- Gardening Gloves: Isobel gets a new pair of gardening gloves every year. If you use them they need to be replaced.
- Seeds: Seeds are the perfect gift: they are an activity, a lesson, clutter-free, and recyclable. And beautiful!
- Bulbs: A little more expensive than seeds, but they will come back, year after year! A great springtime nature and Easter metaphor.
- Jump Ropes: Exercise, Secret Garden-style.
- Pinwheel: My kids love waving these around outside when it’s windy.
- Balls: Probably Elias’ favorite thing to hold on to and scream to convince me to buy it when we are at a store.
Craft stuff is great because it’s fun at all ages and I, for one, believe one cannot have too many art projects.
- Crayons: Your kid will always have a hundred crayons, yet will perpetually still need more. They will get lost and broken and used and abused. Trust me, kids always need more crayons.
- Little Craft Kits: It’s pretty easy to pull together small DIY craft kits: some paints, a brush, and some small flower pots, and you have a flower pot decorating kit! A bowl, some gravel, soil, and a plant, and you have a terrarium kit! I’ve also seen small kits for sale inexpensively that make jewelry, or suncatchers, or dozens of other things.
- Water colors: Cheap and always fun.
- Sidewalk Chalk: The return of warmer weather means the return of sidewalk chalk!
- Stickers: inexpensive and fun to use for all sorts of things.
- Play dough: Like crayons, we are perpetually ruining the ones we have and it will need to be replaced. It’s a thrill for kids to get new play dough.
DOLLAR STORE IDEAS
Our dollar store has some really fun stuff for cheap.
- Kazoos and Recorders: My kids love to get out their instrument box and play along to music.
- Whiteboards: Isobel has been using her tiny personal white board to write little messages and has so much fun she doesn’t even realize she’s practicing her reading and writing skills.
- Puzzles: The dollar store always has tons of puzzles, from popular kids stuff to scenes from nature.
- Squirt Guns: Fun for the bath, too!
- Temporary Tattoos: Another fun item that won’t add to household clutter.
TREATS TO EAT
Personally, I use Easter as an excuse to indulge my love of seasonal candies like robin’s eggs and Peeps, but here are some other fun basket options.
- Baby carrots with tops still attached: My kids (well, Isobel) know that the Easter bunny isn’t real, but she still loves to play along, and it would be super cute and lots of fun to leave some miniature whole carrots, tops intact, in her basket as a treat from E Bunny. I bet it would get her to eat the carrots without a fuss, too.
- Small jar of homemade jam: We are a jam-loving household.
- Fruit leather: bonus points for homemade deliciousness.
- Girl Scout Cookies: They are usually gone by this point in the year, so why not make your kid’s life by saving some in the freezer for their Easter basket?
- Candied Nuts: They are really easy to make from scratch, and better than those fake chocolate eggs wrapped in foil.
- Beautifully packaged macarons: The trendiest cookie alive right now and for good reason: they are as beautiful as they are delicious, and often come in pastel, Easter-friendly colors.