Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fun But Healthy And Wise Easter Baskets

Back in 2010, I wrote a post about my feelings on the current trends in children's Easter Baskets, at this link. Why this topic worries me is that we are somehow missing the point of the season. 

While many of us are celebrating the Resurrection, I realize that others might be celebrating Spring and the season of renewal and rebirth. Either way, it is not the season for soccer balls, fashion dolls and NASCAR toys in Easter baskets.

I was a kid back in the 40s. The war was on, World War II. Funds were non-existent. Rationing was in effect. But we three kids always had an Easter basket. Back then, the theme the Resurrection, and only that. Still, it was fun for us.

We always had dyed eggs. Back then, the egg dying kits included a crayon for writing or drawing on the eggs before dying them, and decals and transfers to put onto some of the eggs. So we each had at least one egg with our name on it plus a few more.

We also had just one chocolate item, usually a 1/2 pound coconut egg coated with chocolate or a chocolate bunny. But the most fun we had was the hunt inside the basket. 

Mom filled each basket with grass, and tossed jelly beans into it before adding the dyed eggs and chocolate. That meant we had to use our little fingers to "hunt" for the eggs (jelly beans) inside the grass. For two of us kids, it took time and lots of fun and patience. For one of us (not me), the grass was pulled out and shaken and the jelly beans eaten immediately. That meant the other two had to defend their jelly beans from sneak attack - sibling war.

We didn't get a toy in those baskets because that's not what Easter was all about. Much later, when we were pre-teens, the stuffed bunnies occasionally appeared.

These days, it is still very, very easy for folks to un-materialize the current Easter Basket trend. Here are a few very easy ideas.

1 - Instead of hiding sugary jelly beans inside the Easter grass, hide peanuts-in-the-shell. This gives the kids a healthy snack. It gives them some finger dexterity exercise (shelling the nuts). And it gives you a chance to teach clean-up habits (keeping the shells in one place and disposing of them later).

2 - Keep in mind that these days, even more than in the past, kids compare what they get. Make everything you do, especially if it's different than your past efforts, seem fun and interesting and very special. Make the "peanut hunt" a big thing.

3 - Try to avoid what are the usual "Christmas toys." Try to tie the basket items to the real reason for Easter, whether for your family it is spiritual or whether it is seasonal.

4 -Consider puzzles, mind toys, coloring pages or books, and healthy snacks and healthy treats. Of course there will be a little candy, but make that a treat instead of the whole deal.

5 - For more ideas on ways to DIY toys for the basket, check out my Pinterest spot, Easter-Lent-Spring DIYS at this link. You'll find everything from no-sew sock bunnies to ways to use Easter palm, plus treats and more.

One source for healthy snacks is at - on their website, you'll also find links to Easter ideas and healthy snacks for kids. You can find many more, but this is a start.

I hope you have fun coming up with alternatives to the completely-commercial pre-packaged baskets out there.

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