Easter candy is one of my weaknesses. There’s so much fun stuff that you can’t find the rest of the year. When I make up Easter baskets for my family, it’s too easy to have way too much candy involved. Still, I always make sure to include some good non-candy stuff. I know I’ve gotten it right when the kids are more excited by the non-candy items than by the candy.
I do very little Easter theming in my baskets. Having an Easter theme always raises the question of whether things will be used the rest of the year. Sure, they might wear the bunny shirt throughout the year, but then again they might not. I recommend that you aim for things your kids will like regardless of how recent Easter was.
I also avoid the really cheap plasticy stuff. It’s good for a day or so, but most will end up in the trash all too soon. It’s better to get less stuff that is better quality.
1. Geeky Shirts
My kids love geeky shirts, and I have a lot of fun finding new ones for them. Teepublic is my favorite resource, although I sometimes find interesting shirts on Amazon or in local stores.
Think about what your kids like. Mine love Harry Potter, cats, science, computers, Doctor Who, Disney and other such things. It’s pretty easy to find shirts on Teepublic that they’ll love.
Think about what your kids love when considering adding a shirt to their Easter basket. You want something they’ll be ecstatic about, not meh. Consider whether they have fandoms, love sports or something else, and pick out just the right one.
2. Electric Toothbrush
This one only works once in a while. The very first time I gifted my kids with an electric toothbrush was in their Christmas stockings several years ago. It was hilarious, because they seemed happier about those than almost anything else. I figured with all the candy associated with the holiday, a better toothbrush would be a good thing.
If your kids already have electric toothbrushes, disregard this one. It works best on kids who have never or rarely had an electric toothbrush, especially if they’re on the young side. It’s just really funny when it works.
3. Water Balloons
You can get the Bunch O Balloons or just regular water balloons. I snagged a big pack of Bunch O Balloons at Costco early on, because you never know when they’ll disappear from there. Bunch O Balloons don’t hold the water in as well as regular, tied off water balloons, but they are easier to fill up. They do a bit better, in my experience, if you fill them over a bucket with water in it.
If you want to make regular water balloons easier, get a water balloon pumping station or at least a water balloon nozzle for your hose. Make the balloons easier to fill for your own sake.
4. Squirt Gun
If the mess of water balloons is too much, squirt guns may be a better choice to get those kids outside and soaking wet. You can go anywhere from the little cheapy ones that only shoot a short distance, up to the great big Super Soakers. You may need to get one for yourself for self defense.
When the kids are little, bubbles are a big hit. If you want to go fancy, get a bubble machine. You’ll get less spillage if you tell the kids not to touch it as they chase the bubbles. Bubble machines are also a huge hit at birthday parties for young kids – they’ll entertain themselves a long time so long as you keep the machine full of bubble mix.
6. Sidewalk Chalk
Encourage your kids’ creativity and get them outside. That’s what’s so great about sidewalk chalk. They get dirty, your sidewalk, patio or driveway will have strange markings on them for a time, but the kids will have had fun.
What movies would your kids love to own? Are they out on Blu-Ray or DVD?
8. Movie Tickets
If there’s something out they really want to go see in the theaters, movie tickets make a great outing, whether it’s a parent and child outing for the younger kids, or a chance to be more independent for an older child or teen.
9. Gift Cards
You know there’s something your kids would love to get using a gift card. It might have to do with iTunes, Xbox, Starbucks or something else entirely, but the right gift card will make any kids happy.
We usually put coins inside plastic eggs as a part of the egg hunt. We get rid of the loose change that has built up through the year, the kids get money. Works all around.
Think about the books you would like to read to your kids or that they would like to have read to them, depending on their ages. Fiction, non-fiction, comic books – what will make them happy and get them reading.
12. Video Games
Most kids love video games. There’s a limit on how much they should play them, but kids will gladly push those limits. Video games fit very nicely in Easter baskets, of course.
One of my kids’ favorites is Family Game Night 3. I like it because they talk and laugh with each other while playing, rather like they do when playing a real board game.
If your kids are like mine, they have too many crayons. If yours could use some new ones or you want to do melted crayon art with them, a box of crayons can be a nice addition to the Easter basket.
How fast do your kids go through markers? Hopefully they quickly reach the point where the lids usually go on tight enough. Pick the right type for their ages and likelihood of drawing on the walls.
Paints can be great for any age range if your kids are artistic. Cheap ones for the younger kids, then better quality as they get older.
My kids’ school sells Smencils regularly in fundraisers. The kids go crazy for them. It’s amazing what a little scent can do for an otherwise plain pencil. They’re also available as colored pencils.
17. Colored Pencils
With the popularity of coloring books for all ages, colored pencils have become very popular. Your basic Crayola colored pencils are good for younger kids, but consider Prismacolor and other higher quality brands as your kids get older.
A good pair of age appropriate scissors is a great choice for any child. You don’t have to stick with plain scissors if your child likes to get creative with them. Take a look at the paper edger scissors.
19. Glitter Glue
Give your kids the fun of glitter with less mess. The dollar store by us carries glitter glue regularly. The color choice ranges from great to “that’s what’s left,” so buy it when you see the right colors.
20. Glue Gun
As kids get older, a small glue gun can help the do more challenging projects. The dollar store by us carries small glue guns, and they work just fine. This is only for kids who are old enough and responsible enough to handle something that can give a pretty good burn and/or make an awful mess.
21. Modeling Clay
Modeling clay is great for your budding sculptor. Be ready for a mess, and don’t forget to include some tools to make their sculptures even better.
22. Craft Kits
Age appropriate craft kits can be a lot of fun. Watch your local craft store for good sales, especially if you get coupons from their app or in the mail. I once had a combination that gave me a total of about 75% off my entire purchase. I should have bought more, as extra craft kits would have done well for friend birthday presents.
Beads are great for making jewelry or decorations. Include supplies to make jewelry or wire to bend into shapes for decorations.
24. Perler Beads
Perler beads are great fun for kids, although they can be a bit tiring for parents until the kids are old enough to iron their creations on their own. You can find lots of patterns online so that your kids can make lots of things from Perler beads. We once did Minecraft themed creations for a birthday party in Perler beads.
There are some nice, small Spirograph kits as well as the bigger sets. Either way, they can be both fun and frustrating.
26. Etch A Sketch
Etch A Sketch is one of the great solutions for letting your child draw without making a mess. Nothing to lose except the whole thing, and easy to carry along.
When kids are too young to handle an Etch A Sketch well, Magnadoodle type toys work well.
28. Small Musical Instruments
How much noise can you stand? If you’re pretty tolerant of noisy children, consider a small musical instrument such as a harmonica. They’re an easy introduction to music.
29. Mad Libs
Mad Libs are lots of fun once your kids are old enough to understand what nouns, adverbs, verb, adjectives and such are. They have so many books out now. We appealed to my oldest daughter’s geeky side with a Doctor Who Mad Libs last year.
30. Sand Toys
Whether you have a sandbox at home or only play in the sand when you happen to make it to the beach, sand toys are a big hit with younger kids.
31. Stuffed Animals
OK, your kids probably have too many of these. They’ll probably still love any you give to them. If you want to change it up a little, go with a cold virus or other Giant Microbe. It’s fun to play “catch a cold.”
32. Rubik’s Cube
My son has recently become obsessed with Rubik’s Cube and similar toys. You can sometimes find basic cubes (offbrand, of course), at dollar stores. One by us even had a cylinder variety.
33. Play Dough
When your kids are at the play dough age, they almost always want more. It dries up or gets mixed up so easily. There are simple recipes if you want to make your own, but it’s pretty cheap if you just want to buy it.
34. Bath Toys
Bath time is so much more fun with a few bath toys. Just make sure there’s still room for your kid in the tub.
35. Bath Bombs
As kids get older, bath toys just won’t do. A bath bomb on the other hand, may be greeted with delight. You can even make them at home if you like.
36. Card Games
What card games are you missing that your kids might enjoy? They’re a good way to spend more time together as a family.
A small Lego set may fit well in an Easter basket. It’s easy to get too expensive, as Legos add up fast, but sometimes you find that perfect set.
38. Outdoor Games
Take a look at all the outdoor games you can find on Amazon or your local stores. Something is bound to appeal to you without costing a fortune.
39. Jump Rope
A good jump rope isn’t just for jumping rope. Many a child will use one for a tail as well.
40. Bouncy Ball
Cheap yet beloved, your kids may drive you up the wall with bouncy balls, and more up the wall if it gets away down the street. Be sure you have a good place for your kids to play with these.
41. Sports Gear
Do your kids like sports? Which ones? Could they use some more equipment? Even a spare ball can be nice to have.
Kites can be basic and cheap or a bit pricey. Either way they’re fun. I find them at the dollar store sometimes, but other times basic kites can be had for a few dollars.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a small quadcopter or drone. Keep it simple and age/skill appropriate. Most kids will be really, really excited to get one. The one in the picture is what my kids have, and it’s a decent little machine. The main problem is that one of the cats thinks it is prey. Then again, she also thinks a fairly big remote control car is prey. The problem may be with the cat. She’s small.
44. RC Car
Remote control anything is usually a big hit with kids.
45. Matchbox Cars
I can’t tell you how many of these were given to my son back when he was obsessed with Matchbox cars. He had a lot of them. Every new one was greeted with delight.
Slinky is a lot of fun to play with for kids, so the real question comes down to how you, as a parent, feel about untangling them. It will happen. Plastic is usually much easier than metal to untangle.
47. Polished Rocks
I find polished rocks on eBay. Considering the rocks kids will bring home as “treasures,” giving them some rocks that are actually special works really well. I used some once to fill “dragon eggs” for a birthday party. Small ones are good for little kids; older ones may appreciate something big enough to display in a collection on their shelf.
If your children have ever been to a school assembly where they have the yo-yo people come around, they may well have begged for one already. Once they know that neat tricks can be done with yo-yos, they’re interested.
A bit of jewelry is fun to give. Little kids will love just about any brightly colored item you give them, while older ones may have some preferences.
51. Small Plants
If your child likes plants, find something they can keep in their room. You might have to water it for them, but at least you don’t have to clean its litterbox.
52. Gardening Tools & Seeds
For the child who is more interested in gardening, get some basic tools and seeds, and give them a garden space of their own. My youngest is currently growing marigolds from seeds, as they’re her favorite flowers.
53. Fairy Garden Supplies
Fairy gardens are pretty popular, so there are lots of supplies out there to add to a garden.
54. Hair Accessories
Many little girls love having pretty hair accessories. They can be a huge help in keeping their hair out of their face, and possibly a little neater.
55. Nail Polish
Even my oldest daughter, who loathes makeup, will get into the nail polish sometimes. Pick out some fun colors.
Chapstick can help with dry lips, plus it’s easy to find flavors or containers kids like. Consider the SPF as well – lips need protection from the sun just like the rest of your skin.
Do your kids lose their sunglasses like mine do? Good quality sunglasses can help your eyes avoid damage from the sun. Don’t go super cheap – make sure those eye will benefit from the sunglasses.
Kids can be tricky about hats. You really have to find one they will want to wear. They are great for protecting the face from the sun, and that’s a good thing with summer coming up. Get the kids started early on the hat habit.
59. Spherification Kit
A spherification kit is going in my kids’ basket this year, or maybe right in front since it’s for the whole family. They’ve been very curious about how those balls at the frozen yogurt shop are made, so I decided it would be fun to give it a go at home.
60. Healthy Snacks
Some healthy snacks are seen as treats by kids. What do yours love that they don’t get too often? Pretzels, raisins, granola bars, freeze dried fruit? There are many good options out there.
Whatever you get for your kids’ Easter baskets, make sure that it’s age and personality appropriate. You want them to be happy with what you buy for them.
Don’t go overboard on the Easter baskets. Make it fun, but what do your kids really need anyhow? I try to lean toward a combination of fun, practical items (the shirts, they’d be disappointed if I skipped the shirts), and things that will get them active or working on a hobby they enjoy.
What did I miss? What do your kids love to find in their Easter baskets that isn’t candy?