Non-candy Easter basket fillers

Not that I don't love me some chocolate, but it seems like we're constantly celebrating some holiday with food and candy. From Christmas to New Years to Valentines to St. Patricks Day to Easter to Mothers Day to Fathers Day to the 4th of July to Halloween to Thanksgiving, there's hardly a month that goes by without a spoonful of sugar! Add all the birthday treats that the kids get in the classroom, plus the treats I can't resist buying from time to time (and forget to hide from the kids), and we're talking a yearlong sugar high.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against celebrating, and I'm not against celebrating with food -- it's just about moderation. Why not alternate candy and non-candy holiday celebrations? Filling up Easter baskets, Halloween buckets and Christmas stockings is a precious tradition for many families, but it doesn't have to be all about the candy.

With that in mind, below are some suggestions for Easter Egg Hunt prizes and Easter Egg baskets that won't rot your kids' teeth. These toys are inexpensive (all less than $10) but hardly qualify as junk: they are all great toys that I highly recommend, and your child will be playing with them long after the chocolate bunnies and jellybean eggs have rotted away.

The 2011 Playmobil Easter Eggs are as cute as ever. This year they have 4 varieties -- scientist, Mongolian warrior, fairy and ghost pirate -- and each includes a figure with several accessories inside a plastic egg. They come up with a different set every year so these are a real collector's item for Playmobil enthusiasts, but they're only $6.99 each! I bought my kids Playmobil eggs a couple of years ago and like all things Playmobil, the toys have stood the test of time.
Who needs rabbits when you've got hamsters? Zhu Zhu Pets' latest hamsters ($9.99) are pastel-colored, with cute polka-dot and two-tone designs. They're as bright as jelly beans, and just as sweet (and speaking of Zhu Zhu Pets, check out my Zhu Zhu pets springtime giveaway!)
If you're going to buy a stuffed bunny, make it a Webkinz bunny (Webkinz is one of my kids' all-time favorite toys). Your kid will get a virtual bunny to play with along with the real thing! Okay, I'm cheating by recommending the Webkinz Marshmallow Bunny. It's actually over $10 (it'll cost you anywhere from $14 to $16, and if you find it at a Justice store you can use a 40% off coupon), but you can find their Lil'Kinz Rabbit for $9.99 or less.
Mr. Spud Bunny ($7.99) is a great Easter present for girls and boys alike. Like many of my favorite toys, you can mix and match Mr. Spud Bunny with your other Mr. Potatohead parts-- so just throw him into your Mr. Potatohead bin and you've got a great addition to your collection!
For older girls, Cahooties ($6.99) are great to play with a friend. They're just like those paper fortune-tellers that you used to fold and play with as a kid, but more durable, colorful and fun.
Another great toys for Easter Egg hunts is Weebles, those egg-shaped toddler toys that wibble and wobble, but never fall down. They even look like eggs! You can buy regular Weebles or make it Easter-themed with the Weebles Spring Basket ($6.99 for 2) with a chick and lamb or chick and bunny. You can hide them just like regular eggs (just wash them before they get into your babies' exploring hands and mouths!)
These Play-Doh Spring Eggs ($3.99) are perfect for your Easter Egg hunt! Parents love them because they don't have to spend hours filling up plastic eggs with candy, and because kids will be developing creativity, not cavities. Girls and boys love them because the eggs (and the Play-Doh) come in cute pastel colors, and because Play-Doh is just plain fun.
More sweet little eggs: these Littlest Pet Shop Eggs ($5.99 for 2) come pre-filled with adorable Littlest Pet Shop Animals. The Pea can't resist their big-eyed animals, and now that the line also has a little girl, Blythe, she can pretend that Blythe owns all the Littlest Pet Shop pets, making them more fun to collect than ever.
I feel like it wouldn't be fair to my boys if I didn't include some sort of "pure" boy toy on this list -- however, Easter-themed boy toys are harder to find. I found these Matchbox Egg-mobiles on Amazon for $12.99, which breaks my under-$10 rule, but you can always buy Matchbox or Hotwheels cars and stuff them into plastic eggs yourself.

Disclosure: In the past, I have reviewed other products from the brands featured here; however, I did not receive any product or other form of compensation to include these products on my list. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

1 Comments, Leave yours here:

Elizabeth @ My Life, Such as it is... on April 13, 2011 at 4:30 AM said...

Thanks for the tips! The Easter Bunny never leaves candy for Charlie in his basket. Bunny always leaves a new swimsuit and beach towel plus books and small toys.

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