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When it comes to toys and gifts, our mantra is usually that the more natural something is, the better.
We try to stay away from plastic and electronics and aim to offer our kids things that are beautifully made and will withstand more than just a few years of use in the hands of a toddler. While these gifts are generally more expensive up front than your run-of-the-mill, Toys R’ Us finds, they do last and pay for themselves in the long run. We’re also hoping to teach our kids there is value and beauty in quality-made items that someone has crafted with pride, as well as give them an appreciation for the natural world. Wood, wool, cotton, beeswax, and silk are fantastic building materials for a healthy imagination!
Easter is probably one of the more notorious holidays for cheap, plastic trinkets, plastic grass, plastic baskets, plastic everything, and we’ve opted to take a more natural approach here as well. I like browsing around to see what goodies I can find to put in their baskets and here are a few things that have caught my eye this year.
Baskets are fairly easy to come by at places like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, but you may also want to look into alternatives that benefit the people who make the baskets. Organizations like The Blessing Basket Project sell baskets that offer crafters and artisans a chance at a better life by paying them a fair wage. Whole Foods and Natural Grocers also offer different types of baskets in their stores that follow a similar system, and, of course, Amazon has an offering as well.
In the past, we’ve lined baskets with play silks which have been a huge hit. B uses them for anything ranging from butterfly wings to blankets to covers for a wagon that he builds in the living room with pillows and a kid-sized rocking chair. C uses them to play hide-and-seek, but we’re sure her repertoire will expand. 🙂
This year I’m thinking of trying fleece which we can use later on for B’s nature table or felted soap or any number of about a million other things you can do with wool. 🙂 If I was organized enough and started this Easter basket planning business a while ago, the Grow-Your-Own-Grass kit would’ve been fun too.
We like to give books as B is a bit of a voracious book-looker (as was his mama at his age). I happen to LOVE the Gerda Muller season books, which are beautiful and wordless, and Spring is especially fitting for an Easter basket.
One of the books that B has requested to be read over and over and over again, to the point that we have some of the stories memorized, is his Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book that is now so worn and beat up that it wouldn’t stay together if it wasn’t for copious amounts of packing tape. B still loves it, though.
For C’s basket last year, I wanted something with beautiful illustrations and picked up a puffy board book version of Home for a Bunny which she now happily gnaws. The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies is a book I would’ve loved to get as a little girl and another one that fits so well with the time of year.
For silly books, The Sun Egg, by Elsa Beskow, features a fairy and her forest friends mistaking an orange for an egg laid by the sun. Her books are so weird, but so kid-friendly. 🙂
For Christian-themed books, I can’t recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible enough. I absolutely LOVE this book and plan on picking up a second copy for C.
I don’t think any Easter basket would be complete without animals, and for this I turn to the beautiful Engelberger wooden figurines. We have quite a few of these already floating around the house, including a wooden nativity, but I use any chance I can get to grow the collection. This time, I think I might add a little chick, Easter bunnies, the owl, or the little fawn.
Another fun addition might be a few Ostheimer figurines, which I haven’t seen in person yet, but they look adorable. Especially fitting for an Easter basket would be the pansy or marguerite flower children!
Odds and Ends
Random surprises are also never a bad idea with Easter baskets! Here are a few miscellaneous things that would be fun to sneak in as well!
Prisms have been a huge hit for B and this solar-powered spinning “rainbow maker” is one of his favorite things on the planet.
Egg dyeing is a bit of a must on Easter, but you can skip the artificial dyeing kits they sell in the grocery store and opt for one made from food!
Art supplies are never a bad thing and I particularly like Stockmar crayons as they’re made from beeswax. I might pick up this set that has both the block crayons (for C) and regular crayons (to supplement B’s stash) in one tin.
This little chick rattle, made from organic cotton, may just be making an appearance in C’s basket.
B LOVES puzzles and this tree with a rabbit offers not only a puzzle but also a nice little prop for his nature table and standalone rabbit and bird figurines.
For older kids, this little lamb needle felting kit is very cute. B and C aren’t old enough for this just yet, but I think B especially would like it in the future.
Outdoor toys usher in some warmer weather and I’ve had my eye on this skytail ball for a few years now. I think I might finally pick it up for B’s basket this year.
It’s almost gardening season as well and seed packets are a great way to teach kids the responsibility of taking care of plants as well as adding a little beauty to your patio or yard. I especially like these butterfly seeds and honeybee habitat kits.
Musical instruments can add a lot of fun to a kid’s day as well and B really likes this wooden bird whistle that we snuck into his basket last year.