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Creative Play Finds for the Easter Basket

Last year I talked a lot about going DIY instead of commercial with the kids’ Easter baskets but I never really went into detail on why.  Part of it is self-preservation (lots of sugar + my 1 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old = bad things).  But nixing the candy still leaves plenty of options outside the homemade sphere.  There are, after all, lots of commercial products that do a great job of inspiring creative play.  The larger reason is that I know both sets of grandparents will get the kids baskets filled with standard Easter fair as well as a toy or two (often art supplies or something else creative per my request), so going DIY makes my basket stand out a bit.  It’s not that I’m against going out and buying fun stuff for the Easter basket, you see, it’s just already being done.


Is that how it works with the grandparents in your family?  This year I’ve gotten a request for basket ideas from one grandma already and will likely be hearing from the other soon.  Ever the multi-tasker, I figured I’d do a post on my recommendations in case you’re looking for inspiration too.  My criteria is pretty simple: anything that encourages play or creativity is eligible and it doesn’t have to be Easter themed  (in fact none of it is) to make it into our baskets.  Let’s get started…


I’ve heard rave reviews about anything Ed Emberley and C is really into stamps right now.  I think Ed’s fingerprint stamping book paired with this fingerprint stamp pad would be a fun activity for us to do together (C would be in charge of stamping and I’d be in charge of doodling).  He would also love the transportation theme of these, especially to be used with a big colorful stamp pad.



We have two sets of wooden puzzles that are played with almost daily.  So much so that they’re starting to wear thin.  I think C is ready to move up from 24 pieces to 36 and these lovely floor puzzles look like just the ticket.  And while we’re on the topic of puzzles, an MPMK reader recently commented about how wonderful Ravensburger puzzles are.


For the one year old I’m thinking more along the lines of art supplies.  Lately she’s really started taking an interest in drawing and painting right along side C at our kitchen table.  As a result our stock is at an all time low.  I’d love to give the P’kolino crayons a try.  Not only will their triangular shape prevent them from rolling off the table, they’re also easier for little hands to manipulate.  I’d also like to see how little S does with crayon rocks.


Crayola’s got some interesting offerings I’d like to try out as well.  Their vivid pastels take coloring to the next level and dry-erase crayons would be fun on our white board and laminated activity sheets.


Finally, here’s a few other supplies that would be right at home in our art center:


That’s my list, what’s going in your kiddos basket this year?



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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Multi-Testing Mommy March 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Some great finds for sure!


kelly March 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Always sidewsalk chalk! We NEVER have enough!


Amanda March 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I always do a Welcoming Spring basket for my son. I re-stock our chalk and bubbles that are almost gone from last spring and summer. This year I’m adding in a large Cars bubble wand set since he’s Cars crazy and several other small outdoor toys like a frisbee and a kite. My mom and sister make up for the fact that I don’t fill his basket with candy.


Marie {Make and Takes} March 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

We are doing the same thing – no candy! I did buy some low sugar organic bunny shaped fruit snacks! And then I’ve got a “Bug” theme going. I got a lot of fun things for them to find bugs outdoors.

Also, I LOVED Ed Emberley when I was little. My parents still have the book I had when I would trace animals. So fun!!


MarshelleP March 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Honestly, I wanted to love those crayon rocks (which were in my kids’ Easter baskets last year). But they are too small for little hands, and definitely small enough to fit into a one-year-old’s mouth. They are only about an inch long. They are permanently retired until the kids are older. (Of course, one of my twins will take bites of crayons, sidewalk chalk, etc., anyway.) Some other great recommendations though!


debbye @ Baby Sleep Site March 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I love the idea of the dry erase crayons! I have not seen those, but will be looking!!! My 23 month old is loving stickers right now, so there will be various stickers with textures and scents in his basket, and hopefully some of those dry erase crayons! :)


Kim March 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Followed your link to the dry erase crayons over at Rookie Moms. Purchased them and they are awesome! Thank you :) Check out how my toddler is using them: http://areal-lifehousewife.blogspot.com/2012/03/toddler-activity-mini-white-boards-dry.html#more


LifeOntheFarmAlabama March 28, 2012 at 1:58 am

we have the crayon rocks and love them!! i also do art supplies and small toys.. never candy! actually the only candy mine eat is fruit snacks and smarties :) we also put the easter baskets outside…since thats where the bunny leaves them :) its fun to hide it outside and see aiden jump and run outside loojing of it.. last year there actually was a bunny running in the back yard as he was searching for his at his mamawa(grandparents make him one every year too)…. he went crazy


SpartanGirl March 28, 2012 at 1:59 am

We try to avoid candy in the basket as well. This year the bunny will be dropping off some doodle books (my oldest can’t get enough of them) and some fun crayons – glitter, metal effects, neon.

The Ed Emberley fingerprint book is a favorite in our house – and not just for the kids!


Rachel March 28, 2012 at 3:29 am

We never do candy, neither my kiddos like it. We do puzzles, small crafts, books, hats, sunglasses or things like that. This year they are getting new water shoes, and hats, and fun outdoors stuff. If we do food it is goldfish or something like that.


another donkey design by kate March 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

Love the look of that finger print book – have just ordered one for my niece. Thanks for sharing. Oh and those dry-erase pens are on my list too!


glimmersnaps March 29, 2012 at 3:19 am

Has anyone tried the My First Markers by Crayola?


There’s a $1 off Target coupon out for them, so I’m thinking of trying them out. They also have mess-free paper but I don’t know that I would really need that.


hennymats April 13, 2012 at 7:36 am

Loved that post and ordered the book right away. We made fingerprint birthday cards and my son loved it (http://hennymats.blogspot.de/2012/04/kid-craft-fingerprint-painting.html). Thanks for sharing!


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