Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Easter Baskets for Little Kids

The twins' first Easter baskets, with Big Girl's basket in the middle.
I am still using those little felt baskets, which cost practically nothing at Walmart,
because I haven't found an alternative that I like just yet
and they don't realize that Big Girl's basket is bigger!

The Easter Bunny has been busy preparing to visit our house. With three children's baskets to fill, he has to start early or he won't be able to shop on a budget. Luckily, the twin toddlers' baskets are pretty much ready to be delivered, thanks to a few trips to Target's Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree.

Are you still stumped for ideas to fill a toddler's Easter basket? I've got a list of suggestions below. Next week I'll tackle the "tween Easter basket," because the Bunny is still working on that one but plans to wrap up all the shopping this week. (I will post it on Friday.)

I must preface my list by saying I have one important rule "gift-giving" rule for Easter. Each kid gets a basket, and a basket only. That means all "gifts" must fit in the basket -- there are no piles of wrapped gifts or big things which will not fit in the basket. This is Easter, not Christmas, right? And speaking of baskets, we use the same ones every year. Right now, the twins' ones are small, but eventually I would love to get all three kids baskets with their names on them, like the ones with monogrammed liners at Pottery Barn Kids. Right now, that doesn't fit in the budget. It's fun to take out the same basket every year and leave it out for the Bunny, don't you think? If you don't have a basket yet, try any container for your child -- a bucket, a plastic bowl, a metal pail, whatever works or fits in your budget.

Little gifts to fill baskets are usually not expensive. There are several little things, and perhaps a pricier DVD, affordable piece of jewelry, and the occassional video game for Big Girl are sometimes included. There are no filled plastic eggs in the basket, because the Bunny leaves some eggs to find in the house, with tiny trinkets, edible options (like small M&M bags), and coins. (The egg opening is monitored carefully and we count to make sure we have found them all. The Bunny only hides a few eggs so it's not crazy, and each kid has a different kind of egg to find, so it makes it easy to cater the "fillings" to each child.)

For toddlers' baskets, let's start with edibles. My little kids are not candy connoisseurs yet, and frankly, we get candy from a lot of other generous folks on Easter as well as in the hidden eggs. So that is not a priority from the Easter Bunny in the basket. (If you are filling Easter eggs with candy for a hunt, be sure to watch for coupons -- there are many this time of year! Dollar stores also offer great options for egg-filling; I've found tiny bags of jelly beans, which are better than putting handfuls in the eggs, which usually end up squished on the floor, right?)

The Easter Bunny found adorable chocolates at Aldi last week.
The bags of little bunnies and chicks were only $1.49 ea.,
and will be divided up among the children.

There are many alternatives to candy in Easter baskets. All the options below are great because you can pack them in the snack bin to grab-and-go for an outing:
  • Goldfish crackers, or even better -- Annie's Bunny Crackers!
  • pretzels
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries (my twins LOVE thes)
  • little boxes of cereal
  • little boxes of animal crackers
  • travel containers of Ritz bits, little cookies, etc.
The Bunny can include some future necessities for the warm weather season:
  • sun hat/baseball cap
  • bathing suit
  • socks
  • sandals/sneakers for spring
  • hair accessories, like barrettes, bows, etc.
  • sunglasses
  • underwear for those starting potty training
Our bunny always likes to include some "art-ful" fun:
  • coloring books (check out $1 stores and Target's Dollar Spot, which had pocket-size ones recently with stickers -- great for restaurants and outings)
  • washable large crayons
  • drawing pad
  • play-doh
  • stickers (again, look in $1 stores and Target's Dollar Spot)
  • finger paints
  • art smock
Of course, tiny toys always please the kids:
  • travel toys, like small Magnadoodle-type boards
  • small cars and trains
  • bath toys
  • finger puppets
  • flash cards
  • small LEGO Duplo sets
  • small baby dolls, and bottles/clothes for baby dolls
  • play phones
  • toy dishes and play food
  • small sets of figurine toys, like Little People (check age restrictions)
  • magnetic letters for the refrigerator
Practical stuff may not be exciting, but toddlers might not care yet and it fills in gaps in the basket grass. Plus if you get excited when they are "opening" their baskets, the tiny ones will get excited too:
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • sunscreen
  • comb/brush
  • band aids with a favorite cartoon character on them (affordable with coupons or look at $1 stores)
  • sippy cups
  • new utensils -- fork/spoon sets with favorite characters
  • plates and bowls for dinner time
  • bibs (mine must still wear bibs and they know it!)
  • disposable plastic placemats for when we eat out
  • snack storage cups
Outdoor supplies for when the weather warms up:
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles, lots of bubbles!
  • small gardening tools
  • pin wheels
  • small balls
  • plastic trucks
  • sand toys
  • mini license plates with their names for tricycles and outdoor "cars"
Of course, our Bunny always includes BOOKS -- we can never have too many books in our house!!
Dollar stores are great places to find inexpensive board books that can be abused by toddlers without worrying that money was wasted. The Bunny found some really great ones last week at Dollar Tree. Other entertainment ideas include:
  • DVDs of favorite children's shows and movies
  • CDs of children's music, classical music, etc.
  • A photo album featuring favorite people, or create your own A-B-C photo book with familiar pictures
Hopefully this will help the Easter Bunny fill up baskets for your tots.
If you think of anything I've missed, please include it in the comments section!

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