One of my most passionate mom hang-ups is all of the junk that floats around on holidays. And by “junk,” I mean both the junk food and the junk toys — those little plastic pieces of ephemera that will get used once and then forgotten until I throw them away, feeling super guilty about all of the waste we’ve created. So we try with all our might to celebrate gift-giving holidays without contributing to the junk problem. Which is why I wanted to share these 30 non-candy, junk-free Easter basket ideas for young kids!
When we consider what we’re planning to fill Easter baskets with, we always take a step back and try to choose things that fit a few criteria. First, I like to include open-ended, creative toys. Things that you can build and rebuild with, or use in different ways. Secondly, we always lean into the art supply category pretty heavily, with things that our kids can use to create their own art. Then I love to pepper in some books (always) and things that they can wear or use in their daily lives. Sticking to non-candy, junk-free Easter basket ideas can seem tough at first but it means that your life will be so much easier after the dust settles! No sugar rushes, no piles of plastic. All good.
Just for your reference, our kids are currently 3 and 5, and I would put any of these 30 items into both of their baskets!
30 Non-Candy, Junk-Free Easter Basket Ideas
Squiz Minis My kids love to build with these when we’re out at restaurants, and they’ve saved us from many a boredom meltdown!
Plus Plus Building Pieces Same with these Plus Plus building sets. They fit so easily in your purse.
Perler Bead Kit I love the perler bead kits that come with pre-sorted colors. It makes it lots easier for kids to manage creating on their own.
Highlights Magazine Subscription (or for kids ages 2-6, High Five Magazine) Henry (age 5) loves Highlights and Maggie (age 3) loves High Five! There are a ton of activities in each issue and they love that something comes in the mail just for them.
Reusable Straws Am I the only mom whose kids are always asking to use a straw?
Crayola Special Effects Sidewalk Chalk We go through sidewalk chalk like it’s going out of style, and this is some of my favorite.
Spray Bottles I always say that the $1 spray bottles I got from the dollar store when my kids were babies were their favorite toy ever! Particularly fun when combined with sidewalk chalk.
Kids’ Nail Polish This kids’ polish is nontoxic, low-odor, and comes in so many fun colors!
City Coloring Poster A giant coloring poster is a perfect spring gift because the kiddos can work on it all summer long.
Glitter Gel Pens These are the pens that we took on our Italy trip, and the kids used them over and over again!
Disney Little Golden Books Did you know that every single Disney movie, old and new, has an accompanying Little Golden Book? Our kids have a collection started, and this set is a great way to start one for your littles too.
Magna Tiles Definitely more of an investment than some of the other items on the list, but these have provided hours of play for our kids.
Temporary Tattoos Just fun, right?!
Gazillion Bubbles (or the Bubble Hurricane) After tons of bubble trial and error, I have found that the Gazillion Bubble solution is the best (and bubbliest!). I also love the Hurricane for when you don’t want to blow any more.
Kinetic Sand Combine a container of Kinetic Sand with a few cheap cookie cutters.
Mad Libs You’ll probably have to help little kids fill in the blanks, but their reactions when you read them their stories back are priceless.
Watercolor Paints Each of our kids have one of these cheapie sets and the colors last forever!
See-Through Umbrella I don’t know what it is about kids and umbrellas but ours absolutely want to carry theirs everywhere.
Fun Band-Aids We have a “no blood, no band-aid” rule in our house, so when we give the kids a box of their own bandages they feel like they’ve won the lottery. 😉
Natural Lip Balms Another example of letting them have a little autonomy! Instead of begging me for my lipgloss, every so often I’ll give them their own lip balm.
Stacking Game Blocks This set is half building blog, half Jenga! And super colorful.
Ukulele You know I love musical gifts! This is a great little starter ukulele.
Knee High Socks These particular socks are for ages 2-4, and SO cute.
Boogie Board Writing Tool Henry has been loving the Boogie Board he got for Christmas to practice writing and reading. We’ve also played about a zillion games of hangman on it.
Sunglasses Perfect pre-summer gift!
Reusable Water Bottles I happen to love these Camelbaks for kids, but any reusable water bottle is an awesome way to cut down on waste.
Paint By Sticker Books These are really fun and a great thing to bring along to meals out, etc.
Summer Hat Perfect for summer adventures!
Search and Find Books Hours and hours of activities in these books! My kids are super into search and finds right now.
Experiences! If you don’t want to give stuff, give the gift of an experience! Think zoo tickets, a show, movie passes, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, theme park tickets, and more.