Friday, April 3, 2009

Hop to it, Mom!

Easter is a week and a day away. And Moms and Grandmas everywhere are getting ready. Why, in the Easter section of Target the other day, I saw at least six of them per aisle, doing their best to hide their whiskers and long ears and filling their carts with every treat imaginable...

At our house, the -ahem- Easter Bunny is sure to include a few items that are not sweet treats. Sure, there are plenty of jelly beans, malted milk balls (this writer's favorite), Peeps and the requisite chocolate bunny. But we also enjoy small toys and games that will last beyond Easter Day.

Here are some great non-traditional Easter Basket fillers to try:

  • For an artist, try Crayola Pip-squeak Washable markers. They are small and colorful and fun.
  • Outdoor toys like jump ropes and bubbles come in many bright colors. They are one of our favorite Easter basket toys. Walmart and Target even sell brands of bubbles that are sweetly scented.
  • Tie a bundle of sidewalk chalk together with a pastel ribbon. Be sure to take time with your child to draw together outside in the sunshine.
  • The party favor aisle can be a great place to find fun egg-fillers, too. Try gold coins (plastic or chocolate), spinning tops, or super-balls.
  • For boys, there is nothing like opening an egg with cool matchbox cars or hot wheels.
  • For girls, try filling eggs with pretty hair ribbons or barrettes. Or go to the shoe department and get fun summer shoes like jellies in a couple of colors.
  • I like to add learning software to an Easter basket every so often. Some great games to try are Scholastic I Spy games, Bejeweled, Jump Start, or Adventure Workshop games, like Dr. Seuss Kindergarten or Arthur's Computer Adventure.
  • Fun Pads are always an inexpensive treat my children enjoy. They come in Easter themes with mazes, dot-to-dot, coloring pages, and word games. You can find them at Big Lots or virtually any Dollar store.
  • Story books are a fun addition, too. We like The Daddy Book by Richard Scarry, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, or Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Pat the Bunny is also great for young ones.
  • Small LED flashlights are great. They come in all sorts of colors and will come in handy during your next camping trip.
  • School supplies are also a hit -- try glue sticks, erasers, Spring-themed pencils or crayons.

I have the most luck shopping throughout the season at a variety of different stores. Although I am a frugal Bunny Mommy, I do have standards when making a purchase. Be careful about buying toys at the dollar store, especially since many of them are cheaply made in countries with lax safety regulations. Be careful about toys with paint that might chip or weak plastic parts that may break or be ingested. Be extra careful about buying toys made of soft plastic or transparent toys that may puncture and leak whatever mystery substance fills them. Plastics can degrade, especially in sunshine, so remember that you get what you pay for.

I hope these ideas give you inspiration. I'll see you in the Easter aisle!

- Midwest Mom


  1. WE HAVE THE SAME BUNNY! Really! We give our kids chalk, markers, bubbles, sandbox toys, kites, all that sort of thing! And those pipsqueaks ARE the most adorable markers EVER. The names of the colors, too:)

  2. LOL! Must be the Midwest Regional Bunny... She *does* get around!

    ;D - Julia

  3. Cool ideas :) we always make our own baskets!

  4. The legacy, good or bad depending upon how you look at it, of making your own Easter baskets is that your kids will fall in love with this tradition so thoroughly, that you'll find yourself, as I do, putting together baskets for teenagers. As far as I can tell, each one of my kids will continue to want the surprises of a basket from the bunny until they move out of my house.

    The one item I would add to your great list, Julia, is stickers. These were always a big hit with each of my kids during that window of time when children love to have stickers on everything (including my TV set, the family dog, on the wall behind the bathroom door--OK so maybe stickers AREN'T such a great idea, from the mom's perspective :-D).

    I'm really enjoying the blog. Keep up the good work.

  5. I'm in limbo between mom and grandma now so the only bunnies I see are the ones eating the new buds in my yard. VERY cute project!

  6. Great ideas. I know the Easter bunny has already secured the cars and pipsqueak markers. Today at Target, he/she will be picking up a new bubble blower. My favorite Easter bunny gift when I was a kid: a butterfly net and box. I loved catching and releasing butterflies.


  7. Big Sis,

    Thanks for coming by and for your great suggestion.

    I had actually thought of putting stickers on the list, but because the week after our sticker supply is renewed, I have to spend at least an hour pulling stickers off of every item of my children's clothing that goes through the wash, I thought I'd leave it out.

    The funniest sticker moment in my own family was when a certain someone decided to surprise my Mom by putting puffy sticker hearts on all the bathroom mirrors. Apparently, he didn't realize that once stuck, they would remain there forever. (They're still there, and if you're a guessing gal, I bet you've already figured out who the culprit was -- Dad.)

    Have a great weekend, everyone!
    - Julia

  8. These are some great Easter basket ideas!

  9. You have some great ideas!! I'm writing them down.


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