Easter is almost here! For those who celebrate, there is an excitement in the air as we await all of the festivities. For parents young children, there is always a dilemma when it comes to giving the "perfect" Easter basket.
We want our children to enjoy the holiday but at the same time, many of us worry about the amount of candy and sugar consumption associated with the holiday. Full disclaimer: I'm going to give my children candy on Easter. While some may think this is not very "naturopathic" of me, I'm confident in my choice.
My children don't get candy on a regular basis and when they do it is very limited. For example, last year on Halloween, I took the kids trick or treating and we had a blast. They got a bucket full of candy and enjoyed dressing up.
When we got home, I turned the lights down low and let them pick out 6 candies. They ate their candy, while I told them some kid appropriate scary stories. Throughout the coming weeks, I allowed them 2 candies a day. By the time Thanksgiving came around, they had forgotten about the candy and there was still a bucket full of it. I ended up throwing it out in early January the following year because they had stopped asking for it and there was still candy left.
For those parents who feel that they want to completely eliminate sugar from their child's diet for health or medical reasons, here are 10 ideas that can help you sweeten your child's Easter basket without any sweets.
Everyone loves a kite! With the winter weather giving way to a warm spring, a kite is the perfect Easter basket stuffer. It's gets your children outdoors and allows for a rather laid back family fun activity. Bonus points if you get your child a kite of their favorite characters. My son is getting a Bumblebee Transformers kite and my daughter got a Cinderella one.
Slime is always a fun way to fill an Easter basket. There are many different types of slime available from fluffy slime to oozy slime. Kids love them all. Make sure to take your time in choosing the best types of slime for your child depending on any sensory issues he/she may have and his/her personal preference. My children are getting this brightly colored fluffy slime that I got on amazon. I love that each slime color has it's own container for safe keeping after play. As a bonus, 3 little squishy toys came with it which I know the kids will love.
3. Washable Window Markers
I was given this idea by my daughter's physical therapist. Thanks Anna! These markers are designed to work on glass surfaces. So you can breathe easy when you see you're child playing Picasso on the patio door. The best thing about these markers is that they can be washed off with a spritz of windex and a paper towel.
4. A Gift Card
While markers and slime are great Easter basket stuffers for younger kids, older kids might not feel so enthusiastic about reaching these as a gift. Here's where a gift card comes in. Give them the gift to get whatever it is that they really want whether it be music or games. As an aside, I do find games to be a bit addictive, perhaps just as addictive as sugar, but that's for another time in another post. While a gift card may seem to be a bit lazy or impersonal to some, it can be a life saver for a hard-to-shop-for teen.
5. A Potted Herb
I absolutely love the idea of going herbs in an Easter basket. Since my children are still very young, I won't be doing that this year but an herb can be a great way for a tween or teen to start getting involved in healthy food choices and cooking. Potted herb plants are easy to find at many stores this time of year and they are usually inexpensive. The easiest herbs to grow would be basil or mint and your child will learn to love using his herbs to spice up dinner.
6. Small Himalayan Salt Lamp (or an Interesting Lamp/ Night light)
I'll admit that I may enjoy Himalayan salt lamps a bit too much. The warm glow that they give off can make any room feel inviting. Plus they can double as a night light for any child, young or old. Although these lamps are associated with a wide range of health benefits like negative ion emission and easing the symptoms of depression to protection from ionic radiation, there hasn't really been any research to prove any of these claims. Though there isn't research backing up these claims, that doesn't mean that your child can't benefit from the warm peaceful glow of a Himalayan salt lamp. If nothing else, the soft light invites you to relax and reflect a bit, something that all of us could do more. If you can't find a salt lamp small enough for your child's Easter basket, you can always get a lamp of the moon or a constellation projection lamp which is just interesting.
Kids love bubbles. The younger they are, the more they love them! Bubbles are so much fun in so many ways. They encourage activity by inviting kids to chase them and pop them. They encourage curiosity by having kids get interested in their shifting colors in natural sunlight. They encourage patience and dexterity in helping kids catch them on the ends of their bubble wands. They provide hours of fun and they are extremely affordable. What more can you ask for?
Easter is time of rebirth and new beginnings. What better way to illustrate that than a packet of seeds in your child's Easter basket? Seeds in your child's Easter basket will quickly turn into quality time with your child outdoors as you both plant and grow your own food together. If you find that you don't have a green thumb, don't worry. In my experience, the easiest plant to grow for a beginner is yellow squash. These grow pretty quickly and yield a decent amount of produce without much effort. Just make sure to keep the pests away or you'll have squirrels stealing the fruits of your labor.
9. A Creative Memento of Your Love.
A few years back I was traveling with my infant son and then husband in Helen, GA. We came across the most interesting flea market and found a poem of sorts using my son's name. The name was listed vertically, each letter in big bold lettering. Next to each letter was a saying that the author felt exemplified a trait a person with my son's name would have. I immediately fell in love with it and bought it. If you are the creative type and you have some time on your hands, you can easily create a personal poem or saying showing how you feel about your child.
10. A "Get Out of Chores" Coupon Book
No matter how much our kids try to avoid it, family life involves chores. The dishes have to be cleaned and the toys put away no matter how tired you are. Although my children are young (and my youngest has absolutely no clue about an allowance), I have chores for them both to do to get them in the habit of being responsible. Plus there's nothing better than seeing the face of your young son light up on "payday" when he earns his allowance and gets to spend it on whatever he chooses (within reason). A "No Chores" Coupon Book might go over really well in the Easter Basket of an older child. Perhaps have a week's worth of coupons in which they can get out of their chores and still receive an allowance. It will give them an appreciation of the hard work they do and help them to become more grateful.
Using these 10 tips to create a delicious Easter basket without candy can help you give your kids the Easter they want the way you want.
So what are you doing for Easter this year? How do you feel about giving your kids candy? Let me know in the comments below!