Sticking to a few collections for each kid makes holiday shopping much easier, but when it comes time for an Easter basket, it's fun to FILL, FILL, FILL those big baskets. You don't have to fill them with future clutter though. Here are some ideas to help you fill those baskets with more thought and value and less cheap junk.
1) Sandals or Flip Flops - Easter is around the start of spring and, if your winter has been like ours, your (and your kids') definition of sandal weather will certainly have loosened greatly from the first cold days of last autumn.
2) Gardening Tools - My kids LOVE to help me in the garden and I love to have them, but I'm not a big fan of my favorite tools getting lost or left out in the elements.
3) Reusable Water Bottles - We all know disposable plastic water bottles are NOT great for the environment or our pocket books. Invest in some BPA-free plastic or stainless steel bottles so you can be earth friendly and economical on the go.
4) Kites - It's time! Might as well make some good use of the strong spring winds.
5) Art Supplies - One can never have too many art supplies. A fresh box of crayons or colored pencils with some fun new coloring books can make for a lovely spring day outside in the sun.
6) Books & DVDs - Books are always a winner in our house. Disney's hottest new flick is also winging its way to us following its March 18th DVD release... now whether or not it MAKES it to Easter for a basket gift is another story. Maybe you'll be better at waiting than I likely will.
7) Fun Band-Aids... with no rules attached. My kids both love to use band-aids with abandon, but I usually put the kibosh on emptying out the First Aid stash for doctoring their stuffed animals. Their own box of fun designs can be quite thrilling.
8) Bubble Bath - This is something we buy anyway but for a special occasion like this, I am more likely to spring for the Hello Kitty bottle and not just what is cheapest.
9) While we're on bubbles... Bubbles - Warmer weather and windy days make for perfect conditions to warm up those bubble blowing lips that have been hibernating all winter.
10) Sunblock - This one may not be as much fun but it is necessary, especially as warmer days mean more time in the sun. Add some fun colored zinc sunblock and the boring bottle won't be noticed quite as much.
11) Sunglasses - Most adults wouldn't dare leave the house without their shades and yet our kids do it all the time. Sunglasses aren't just for the comfort of keeping the glare out of our eyes... they are very important to eye health.
12) Coupon for a Date with Mom and/or Dad - Experiences are the best gifts of all. Movie tickets, skate rink passes, a painting or photography class... the ideas are endless. Check out deal sites like Groupon for date night deals to spend with your kids.
Notice I didn't list candy at all. I'm not a Scrooge... my kids will get some candy. But with a basket filled of so many other FUN things, there isn't much room left for loading it with sugar. I'll spend my money on better quality, fair trade chocolate, rather than loading up on bags and bags of generic jelly beans and chocolate eggs.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Easter doesn't have to be another holiday filled with plastic junk. With a little thought and no more money than a pre-made basket, you can make a wonderful basket for your kids. I hope you have fun creating a one-of-a-kind surprise for your children.