- At Home
I remember a few years back, watching my girlfriend pack her daughter's Easter basket with enough candy to feed a small village - for months! I often wondered what that darling little girl was going to do with all of that candy.
Now if the basket was filled with dark chocolate to give antioxidant power that would be a different story. I just can't stop thinking about why we feel the need to fill our children's Easter basket with loads of unhealthy candy. Is it lack of creativity? Are we just too busy and the easiest thing to do is stop at the grocery store and buy bags of candy? Or are we too concerned that we will disappoint our little ones as they anxiously await their yummy treats and sugar highs? Maybe it is a little bit of all of the above.
However, with obesity rates still climbing among children, we have to change our thinking about what we put in our children's body. Now many of you are probably thinking,"Easter is just once a year, what is the big deal?" The big deal is that most parents want to make the Easter basket look full, and that is going to require more than just one or two chocolate bars.
Believe it or not, children get just as excited about an Easter basket that has a variety of different items, other than candy. If you start this tradition at a young enough age, they won't even miss the sweets. Try to come up with some items that you can make a tradition year after year. Try to put something in the basket that your children really love. For example, my daughters love Disney pajamas. So every Easter we put a new pair of Spring/Summer pajamas in their basket. Below is a list of fun, inexpensive items that you may want to add to your child's basket this year.
Every young child loves bubbles. Great idea if you live in a cooler climate as the kids are anxious to get outside and play again as spring arrives!
2. Sidewalk Chalk
Craft stores like Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics sells chalk shaped like Easter Eggs and bunnies almost every year.
3. Easter Socks
These are fun to put inside large plastic Easter eggs. Every year Target stores carry adorable socks that have Easter eggs or bunnies on them. This is another Easter basket tradition in our house.
4. Necklaces that kids can make themselves
Check craft stores as most will have a necklace kit that includes a bunny along with beads. If you can't find a a necklace with a bunny, look for beads that are shaped like flowers to signify the beginning of Spring.
5. Graphic bunny T-shirts
All kids love festive T shirts. Many stores carry fun t-shirts around easter with bunnies and fun spring graphics. If you have a silkscreen place close by, you can even design an Easter t-shirt of your own. They will have a variety of designs to choose from.
6. Coloring books, sticky notes and stickers that have an Easter theme
If you have a Dollar Store nearby, they usually have a great variety of coloring activities for kids.
7. Annie's Organic Graham Bunny Crackers
Of course you have to put something yummy in the basket. These crackers are perfect for the basket because they are shaped like bunnies, they're healthy and they taste delicious.
8. Matching bunny T-shirts
If you really want to get hokey, get matching bunny t shirts for all the kids and mom and dad. Wildfox Couture sells the "baby bunny tee" for women, which has a fun graphic of a bunny with heart shaped sunglasses. My kids got the biggest kick out of this t shirt. This same company has a line of t shirts for kids called Little Fox. They also sell some cute bunny t shirts with fun graphics for kids. This line is also a favorite of celebrities worldwide. The women's line can be purchased at wildfoxcouture.com and the children's line can be found at izzyanddash.com. Don't forget to get matching photographs with the family in their matching tees. I am sure the kids would love if you showed this to their boyfriends and girlfriends when they get older!!
If you want to add candy, choose an extra dark chocolate bar rather than milk chocolate. Try to avoid chocolates coated in colors such as pink, reds or greens as they can be loaded with dyes and preservatives. Many of these dyes and preservatives can trigger allergic reactions in children and adults. Also remember that if you are putting together an Easter basket for someone else's child, always make sure to ask the parents if the child has any food allergies. There is nothing worse than giving a basket full of items that will be taken from the child!
There are so many fun and creative items that you can add to your Easter basket along with a FEW yummy treats. We need to teach our children at a young age about the benefits of healthy eating. This Easter, embrace the new bunny's philosophy and try to create a healthy, fun Easter basket. You can keep a few yummy treats in the basket, by choosing healthier food options as suggested above.
Remember - it is never too late to start new traditions, especially a tradition that is going to keep your family healthy!