I loved Easter as a little girl. I lived in a sugar deprived house but on Easter, my basket was overflowing with jelly beans, creme eggs and malt balls. Yet, here I am, decades later, looking for ways to fill my kids baskets with a little less candy. In the interest of full disclosure, their baskets will not be candy free. That’d be cruel. I do try to make it not all about the candy.

Here are the guidelines I use when filling their baskets:

1. Is it easy? I don’t have the time to go to 5 stores looking for just the right thing. So I keep it simple. I try to pick up things from places that I would be going anyway.

2. Is it affordable? I’m filling three baskets and next year, it will be four. Everything in their basket will either get eaten, used up or played with for a short period of time so I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on it. We save larger purchases for birthdays and Christmas.

3. If it is a more expensive item – is it useful or needed?

4. Is it exciting? We hide their baskets and they hunt them Easter morning. I want them to be thrilled.

My Favorite Ideas for non-candy fillers

Books – You can never go wrong with books. You can get inexpensive books at the Dollar Store or the $1 bins at Target. We all love books so I am usually willing to spend more to get special ones. Nursery rhymes are a great option for little kids.

Spring clothing items – Easter feels like the beginning of spring. I like to get the kids new bathing suits, flip flops, hats and sunglasses.

Buckets, shovels and other beach supplies – It’s time to hit the beach! We need toys in this department every year. The old buckets and shovels are inevitably lost or broken.

New art supplies – My kids go through crayons, markers, construction paper, play-dough, paints and brushes like wildfire. We can always use more of these things.

Glow sticks – You can’t go wrong with anything that glows; necklaces, bracelets, wands, anything.

New sippy cups and waterbottles – My kids love new water bottles. Consider getting insulated ones with summer coming up.

Bubbles

Gardening supplies – On a whim I gave my kids mini pots with sunflowers and basil last year. They were indifferent on the day of but ended up really enjoying watching these things grow. They loved eating pesto made with basil from our garden. If you are into gardening; gloves, kids sized shovels and hoes would be fun too.

Sidewalk chalk – You can find egg shaped chalk this time of year!

Jewelry – In my experience both boys and girls love necklaces and bracelets.

Bath toys – I forget that these really should be replaced every once in awhile. They get mildewed over time.

Gift cards – This might be a better idea for older kids but mine would love a gift card to their favorite store or ice cream shop.

Baby Chicks – Farms all over the country have options to rent baby chicks around Easter. You take care of them for a certain amount of time and then give them back. 

Cooking supplies– If you have a child who likes to cook, getting them their own utensils would be really cute.

Hobby, sport or special interest related – If they play soccer, maybe they need a new ball, cleats or shin guards. If they like animals, introduce them to Beatrix Potter. If they collect snow globes, find an Easter themed one! Get creative and have fun!

Most importantly, when you get all their goodies, hide them well! My kids found all their goodies last week so I will be making another trip to return everything and find new goodies.