Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Tisket, a Tasket, A Candy-free Easter Basket

non-candy Easter basket ideas
What's in your Easter basket?
I'll never understand how it's possible for my kids to naturally have more energy than I do after a gram of cocaine.  Are they just high on life?  Whatever their secret I could really use some of this magical energy elixir because the six cups of coffee I'm chugging on the daily really aren't cutting it.

With all the vitality that my kids seem to possess, I'm not too enthused about stuffing them full of sugar come Easter Sunday.  I can barely keep up with them on a normal basis, let alone when they're on a sugar high.  First off, let's just get the confusing stuff out of the way: yes, we're Jewish.  Yes, we celebrate Easter.  No, we don't go to Church.  We celebrate the fact that Christ is risen by hunting for colored eggs and drinking mimosas with our gentile friends.  Don't worry, our kids are probably as confused as you are.

For the last several years I've done candy-free Easter baskets for the kids.  Call me a party pooper if you will, but there's nothing I find less enjoyable than parenting sugared-up children.  Okay, maybe my annual mammogram.

But I digress.

The point is that there are plenty of fun things to put in Easter baskets that won't result in your kid having a sugar crash in the middle of Easter dinner.  Also, if you're an idiot and you have white furniture (like yours truly), the last thing you want on the loose is a toddler in possession of a chocolate bunny. 

Giant bubble wands.  I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't like bubbles, which is why we gave these out as favors at Noah's birthday party.  Sure, there's a 95% chance that your kid will dump out all the bubble solution about ten seconds after he gets outside, but if you keep the wand and just fill it up with Dawn dish soap, your kid will be entertained for weeks on end.  Perhaps the best thing about bubble wands is that your kid doesn't actually have to be able to blow a bubble to use them, because they are large enough to catch the air and create bubbles that way.  This frees up Mommy and Daddy to toast the resurrection of Christ with a delicious adult beverage.

Sidewalk chalk.  If you have not yet discovered the beautiful things hiding in the Target dollar spot section, I urge you to head over to your local Tar-jay and take a looksee.  They almost always have sidewalk chalk in their spring selection, and this year's packaging is super cute.  Grab a box for both kids to ensure that each of your offspring gets his or her favorite color.  I suggest you pick up a few extra boxes to have on hand for use after your kids inevitably leave their new chalk out in the rain.

Stickers.  I have a love-hate relationship with stickers.  On the one hand, I cannot stand how the stupid things always end up stuck to everything - car windows, rugs, toilet seats - and how much of a pain in the ass it is to remove every trace of the sticky stuff, but on the other hand I love that stickers are a dirt cheap way to entertain my kids for at least ten minutes.  Throw a couple of different sheets of stickers in everybody's basket and let the kids sticker their plastic eggs to their heart's content.  Pro tip: try to avoid getting stickers in any hair, or your kid may end up with a special holiday buzz cut, which is definitely not a great look for your annual Easter family photo.

Matchbox cars.  I like to think that we're all modern parents and can understand that girls like cars too.  If you have not yet learned how vital it is to carry matchbox cars for entertainment at restaurants, consider yourself educated.  They come in all different colors and types, they're inexpensive and portable, and they encourage your kid to use his or her imagination.  If your child is into cars and trucks, you can never have enough matchbox cars.  Double points for the fact that these little guys fit inside plastic Easter eggs, which means fewer jelly beans inside your kiddo's tummy.

Band-Aids.  In kid life, a week without an ouchie is basically unheard of.  We go through a lot of Band-Aids in our house, especially since my kids enjoy using them to accessorize their outfits.  Pick up a few boxes of your child's favorite superhero or princess, and let them enjoy wearing as many as they can all at once.  Believe me, I share your disgust when confronted with a used Band-Aid, but one box will keep your child occupied for quite some time, which is a win in my (lazy) parenting book.

Glitter stick.  I loved these as a kid, and even as an adult I find watching them to be rather zen.  Pick one up in your child's favorite color and enjoy their looks of wonder as they watch the glitter move from end to end.  Pro tip: keep an eye on older siblings who may be inclined to use the wand as a weapon.

Play-Doh.  The bane of every toddler parent's existence is opening up a jar of Play-Doh only to find it empty or, worse, dried out.  Sure, you can make your own for pennies on the dollar, but ain't nobody got time for that.  Order a giant batch of Play-Doh, throw a jar or two in each child's bunny basket, and stash the rest for emergencies.  If your kid enjoys eating Play-Doh as an appetizer like my daughter does, I want to remind you that the stuff is made with wheat flour, so if you have a kid with a wheat allergy you may have to spring for the fancy (read: expensive) gluten-free version.

Let me say this: I'm not a complete Grinch-who-stole-Easter.  I think you should absolutely put one high-quality chocolate bunny in each of your kid's baskets; that way you are guaranteed to have something decent to steal from their loot when a sugar craving strikes. 

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