Alternatives to Candy-Filled Easter Baskets

I’m not sure which generation started the candy-toting Easter Bunny tradition, but if you’re looking to start fresh with better food habits this spring, I can’t think of a better way to introduce your kids to the season than with a healthy and enjoyable approach to celebrating the start of all things new. In lieu of baskets brimming with artificial flavors, synthetic ingredients and cheap, sugar-laden candy, here is a long (but not exhaustive) list of themed ideas to get you thinking about healthy ways to lavish simple, yet meaningful gifts on your children. No sugar required! Be sure to get grandparents and other special gift-givers on board with your new plan, and feel free to adapt to the age and interests of your little egg-hunters…

1 – Big Bug Adventure: bug-collecting kit, junior binoculars, magnifying lens, butterfly garden, sketch pad, books on insects

2 – Athletic Action: shin guards, cleats, mouthguards, athletic attire, hair bands, socks, swim cap, goggles, bat/ball/glove, paddock boots, riding pants, tickets to sporting event

3 – Gardening: seed planting kit, ruler for measuring plant growth, note pad and pencil, gloves, gardening tools, mud boots, recipe book, flower arrangement book

4 – Family Night: UNO, playing cards, board games, favorite healthy snacks, DVDs, fun pillows and blankets,

5 – Arts & Crafts: play-dough, paint and brushes, finger paints, glue sticks, stickers, sketch pad, construction paper, glitter, markers, crayons, colored pencils, canvases, art lessons, gift card to local art shop, craft rubberbands, beads

6 – Rainy Day Fun: rain boots, umbrella, rain jacket, pail and shovel

7 – On the Town: library card, tickets for movies/concert/bowling/museum/bounce house/aquarium/zoo, gift card to Target, gift card to favorite restaurant

8 – Customized Coupon Book: play date with a friend, special favorite outing, FaceTime with faraway friend or relative, iPad time, new learning app, one-on-one date with mom or dad, delayed bedtime, purchase from dollar section at Target

9 – Book Mania: selection of wish list books, gift card to favorite bookstore, bookmarks, bookends, reading lamp for bed, cozy blanket, packets for tea/hot chocolate/cider

10 – Beauty Shop: makeup, hair accessories, earrings, clip-in extensions, ribbons, mirror, hairbrush/comb

11 – Handy Man: tools, toolbox, easy-to-assemble building project, hard hat, class at local hardware store

12 – Outdoor Fun: kite, scooter, Frisbee, bike helmet, special destination, bubbles, playground ball, silly string, water balloons

13 – Summer Ready: swimsuit, beach towel, sand & pool toys, sunglasses, rash guard, beach chair, popsicle molds, membership to local water park, disposable underwater camera

14 – Animal Lover: trip to local SPCA, pet care and nonfiction books, zoo membership, a couple goldfish and supplies, animal poster, DVDs from the library or bookstore

15 – Aspiring Foodie – kitchen gadgets, recipe book for kids, Dr. Yum class (for locals) or other cooking class, visit local farmers market, field trip to working farm, bake sale for favorite charitable cause

Keep in mind – the chocolate and candy industries would be absolutely thrilled if you equated the amount of sweet stuff in your kids’ baskets with the depth of your love for them. But I know – you are smarter than that!