NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Beyond being an important time for the Christian church, Easter has become a popular secular celebration of rebirth and renewal. As a result, on Easter Sunday, many children are given a basket filled with gifts.
Stories of an Easter bunny can be found in German writings from the 17th century. The belief was that if children were good, a rabbit dubbed Osterhase would lay a nest of colorful eggs for them on Easter.
But marshmallow bunnies and colorful candy eggs are not the only things you can put in your Easter baskets. Go healthy with the following tooth-fairy-approved treats.
Healthier Easter basket alternatives are not difficult to find. Annie’s foods, including the company's Cheddar Bunnies crackers, don’t contain artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives, GMOs, growth hormones or persistent pesticides. Plus, kids will believe the Easter bunny himself delivered these bunny-shaped snacks.
The fruit and nut bars from LÄRABAR are also a great substitute for unhealthy treats. These bars are made with no more than nine whole food ingredients and come in a variety of flavors. While their carrot cake flavor fits best with the Easter theme, children looking for their chocolate fix will enjoy flavors like chocolate chip brownie or peanut butter chocolate chip.
For gifts that will last beyond Easter Sunday, health products can help children to establish ways in which they can care for their bodies beyond what they eat. Burt’s Bees products are, on average, 99% natural (with over half being 100% natural). Kids of all ages will enjoy their calming and clean scents, including coconut, chamomile and honey.
Another fun way to keep kids’ skin healthy is by using TruKid Bubble Podz. Bubble baths make a boring task much more fun, and these Bubble Podz are perfect for children with extra sensitive skin. The Eczema-safe Bubble Podz are also non-toxic and all natural; they also keep skin refreshed.
Art supplies are a gift that can be enjoyed by all ages. Alex Toyshas washable finger paints for toddlers to help develop manual dexterity, as well as modeling clay and jewelry kits for older children. Crayola’s Washable Sidewalk Chalk is a fun gift with which kids can create countless outdoor games and designs.
Children too young to read on their own will enjoy having these books read to them by their loved ones, and older children can enjoy reading a new story on their own. There are a number of books that are suitable for Easter, whether the day is being celebrated as religious or not. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter, is a timeless children’s book warning children against misbehaving.
There are a number of gifts that help introduce children to important skills and hobbies. The safe tools in the Curious Chef 6 Piece Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit are a great way to encourage kids to help their parents in the kitchen. Many parents also find that their fussy eaters become much more open-minded when they see what is going into their meal, and how it is prepared.
Similarly, the House of Marbles Children’s Garden Tool Set can teach children how to plant and care for vegetables and other plants. In celebration of Easter, children can plant carrot seeds and watch them grow as spring arrives.
As the weather gets warmer, kids are likely to be longing to play outside without their puffy jackets, hats and gloves. Equipment such as baseball and softball gloves, soccer balls, basketballs and flying disks are all small enough to fit in an Easter basket.
Roominate has a line of open-ended, wired building kits that encourage kids to create unique structures like doll houses, rocket ships, or anything that comes to their imagination. The Roominate Studio is a great addition to any Easter basket with a kit that includes building pieces and working light, motors and circuits. The modular pieces and universal joints easily snap together, so kids can make their Easter creations come to life.
Little ones not yet ready for sweet treats, action figures or fancy building kits can still get a basket of their own. Fill up their baskets with lots of colorful playthings. Mamas & Papas has a line of activity toys that attach to strollers and infant strollers. The Disco Elephant has seven fun features including a rattle, chimes and crinkles, while the Super Hero Tiger squeaks. Babies can relieve sore gums by chewing on the plastic teethers and c-rings.
Not only will babies love them, but parents will also appreciate having space-saving toys in their babies’ Easter baskets. Playskool’s Stack ‘N Stow Cups and Roll ‘n Gears Car Toy make great take-along toys and are great for developing little ones’ fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. These toys quickly condense into one piece for easy storage and travel.
Action figures are also great Easter basket surprises. Kids will love the new Marvel Super Hero Stark Tech Armor Hulkbuster Iron Man. It comes with a Tony Stark figure that’s sized just right for little hands and fits in the armor’s cockpit. Hasbro’s Jurassic World toy line is another great option. Prepare the little ones for the new Jurassic Park sequel with a Tyrannosaurus Rex that features light-up eyes, a roaring action, and includes a human figure and a capture gear.
--Written by Caroline Nolan