J. Schatzel works in healthcare administration in rural upstate New York and has a master's degree in history.
As a child, I always looked forward to finding my Easter basket and exploring what the Easter Bunny had brought. Although there was always an assortment of candy, what I remember most are the experience-based gifts they contained. Back in the 90s, I was thrilled to receive a disposable camera and a photo album, and the Disney piano sheet music felt like a huge score!
With my own children, I have taken the approach of reserving Easter candy for an occasional treat throughout the season (e.g., a marshmallow peep in their school lunch or jelly beans added to their trail mix). In their Easter baskets, I include items that they need but that can be a bit more fun when coming from the Easter Bunny. Whether those needs are physical, educational, developmental, or emotional, I try to include an assortment of items that I think will make their everyday life in the coming weeks or months a bit brighter.
The following are some examples of items I have included in my children's Easter baskets so far and some ideas for items I might include in the coming years. You know your child better than anyone; think about what you might enjoy if you were in their shoes. Is there something specific they need that the Easter Bunny might be able to put a fun spin on?
Non-Candy Easter Basket Gifts
- Dental Care Items: Toothbrushes with matching toothpaste, toothbrush holders, mouth rinse, and other oral hygiene items featuring characters your children love can make brushing more fun. Crayola and Paw Patrol were big hits with my three-year-old this year!
- Seasonally Appropriate Footwear: Rainboots, sneakers, water shoes, socks, sandals, or other footwear appropriate for your location/activities will allow your kid to splash around in the spring weather with confidence. Rain boots with a matching umbrella were a big hit last year with my two-year-old, and my one-year-old this year loved his Sesame Street socks!
- Art Supplies: Coloring Books, sticker books, activity books, construction paper, watercolor paints, crayons, markers, colored pencils, chalk, beads, glue, and other arts and crafts supplies can give them the tools needed to get creative. The list is infinite, and what supplies you include should really depend on what your child enjoys. My three year old needed safety-scissors for starting preschool in the coming weeks, so I gave them to him for Easter so he could start practicing with them. He had a blast!
- Bath Supplies: Bubblebath, bath bombs, bath toys, soap, shampoo, towels, washcloths, tub mats, safety tub spout covers, and scented Epsom salts can all make bath time more enjoyable. Try to find products that feature their favorite characters from movies or books. My oldest son absolutely loved his elephant spout cover and Elmo tub mat in his basket when he was two. We made a big deal about getting to take them to the bathroom and put them in the tub, and for months, he was always quick to cooperate for bath time.
- Summer Supplies: Sun hats, sunglasses, child-safe sunscreen, chalk, sand toys, bathing suits, beach towels, life jackets, and other supplies that will be useful come summer are also good ideas to include. My sons always (at least until they’re older and want to pick out their own) receive their swimsuits and rash guards in their Easter baskets.
- Kitchen Supplies: Aprons, oven mitts, cookbooks, recipe cards, fridge magnets, whisks, spatulas, or wooden spoons set in their favorite color might get them excited to help in the kitchen. Water bottles or sippy cups with their favorite characters are also good choices.
- School supplies: Reusable snack bags with their favorite colors or characters, water bottles, fun printed pencils, and shaped erasers to bring to school are always appreciated.
- Gardening Supplies: Seeds, gloves, trowels, flower pots (with paints to decorate), plant identification books, watering cans, vests, and picnic blankets can all make gardening and outdoor time more interesting. Whether you live in an apartment with a windowsill or on a farm, using gardening supplies can be a fun project for hours of entertainment and learning. Three years later, my son is still happily using his gardening tools. His Green Toys watering can led to endless hours of fun in the kiddie pool and bathtub as well!
- Exploration Supplies: Children’s binoculars, bug identification books, bird identification books, gardening gloves, safari hats, journals in which they can write about or draw their findings (with gel pens in their favorite colors) can get them excited about learning and exploration. My son uses his binoculars from the living room to watch the birds at our neighbor’s bird feeders. (They probably see him in the window and think he’s watching them in their kitchen!)
- Outdoor supplies: Roller skates, helmets, knee/elbow/wrist guards in their favorite color, jump ropes, bubble wands, and other outdoor items will equip them for hours of recreation in the summer. My oldest son learned to roller skate in the living room, as there was still snow on the ground by Easter. He didn’t care whether he was inside or outside—he was just thrilled to try out his new skates!
Fourwaystoyummy from Coupeville WA on May 06, 2020:
Our kid always got an empty basket that he needed to fill with the colored hard-cooked eggs we hid in the house. This was so fun and often took quite a while since my husband can be ruthless in his hiding abilities. Our holidays always focus on special foods and everyone helping in the kitchen. Setting the table in a special way and doing a craft project is fun. This year we made a bunny scarecrow for fun!