Parenting

11 fun toys to put in your child's Easter basket

Skip the candy and fill their baskets with these instead.

Two girls holding baskets with Easter eggs Credit: Getty Images / mediaphotos

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With all the natural energy that my kids seem to possess, I'm not too enthused about stuffing them full of sugar come Easter Sunday. I can barely keep up with them on a normal basis, let alone when they're on a sugar high.

For the last several years I've done candy-free Easter baskets for the kids. Call me a party pooper if you will, but there's nothing I find less enjoyable than parenting sugared-up children. Plus there are plenty of fun things to put in Easter baskets that won't result in your kid having a sugar crash in the middle of Easter dinner.

Here are 11 candy-free items to put in your child's Easter basket:

1. Giant bubble wands

Bubble wands
Credit: Joyin

You can't go wrong with a giant bubble wand.

I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't like bubbles—even ones who think they're too old to still enjoy them. Sure, there's a 95% chance that your kid will dump out all the bubble solution about 10 seconds after they open it up, but this set includes refill bubble solution packets, so the fun can keep going.

One of the best things about bubble wands is that your kid doesn't actually have to be able to blow a bubble to use them, because they are large enough to catch the air and create bubbles that way.

Get a bubble wand at Target for $1.00

2. Sidewalk chalk

Unicorn and narwhal horns sidewalk chalk
Credit: Maisonette

Whimsical sidewalk chalk that's perfect for an Easter basket.

Sidewalk chalk is all the rage these days thanks to everyone being stuck at home and the whole #ChalkYourWalk trend. Get your kids in on the action by giving them each a box of whimsical sidewalk chalk shaped like unicorn and narwhal horn. The rainbow chalk sticks are high-quality and totally adorable.

Get the Unicorn and Narwhal Horn sidewalk chalk set at Maisonette for $30

3. Stickers

Stickers
Credit: Savita

Lots and lots of puffy stickers in all different themes are an inexpensive basket filler.

I have a love-hate relationship with stickers. On the one hand, I cannot stand how the stupid things always end up stuck to everything—car windows, rugs, toilet seats—and how difficult it is to remove every trace of the sticky stuff, but on the other hand I love that stickers are a great way to entertain my kids for at least 10 minutes. Throw a couple of different sheets of stickers in everybody's basket and let the kids sticker their plastic eggs to their heart's content.

Get 10 rolls of assorted stickers at Oriental Trading for $18.59

4. Matchbox cars

matchbox cars
Credit: Matchbox

Matchbox cars are a classic toy that never goes out of style.

Matchbox cars are one of the best inexpensive toys around. Kids of a wide range of ages love them, and they're a great toy to keep on hand for entertaining antsy toddlers at restaurants. They come in all different colors and types, they're inexpensive and portable, and they encourage your kid to use his or her imagination. They also fit inside plastic Easter eggs, which means fewer jelly beans inside your kid's tummy.

Get a Matchbox 5-car pack at Target for $5.49

5. Band-Aids

Band-Aids
Credit: Band-Aid

They'll love having their very own box of Band-Aids sporting their favorite characters.

Band-Aids are pretty much just accessories for kids. Order a few boxes of your child's favorite characters, and let them enjoy wearing as many as they can all at once.

6. Glitter wands

Glitter wands
Credit: Star Magic

Glitter wands are soothing, beautiful, and great for imaginative play.

I loved these as a kid, and even as an adult I find watching them to be rather zen. Get one in your child's favorite color and enjoy their looks of wonder as they watch the glitter move from end to end. Pro tip: Keep an eye on older siblings who may be inclined to use the wand as a weapon.

Get a glitter wand at Child Therapy Toys for $4.95

7. Play-Doh

Play-Doh
Credit: Play-Doh

Play-Doh minis fit perfectly in Easter baskets.

The bane of every parent's existence is opening up a jar of Play-Doh only to find it empty or, worse, dried out. Sure, you can make your own for pennies on the dollar, but that requires a chunk of time and effort. Order a giant batch of Play-Doh, throw a jar or two in each child's bunny basket, and stash the rest for emergencies.

Get a 15-pack of Play-Doh minis at Target for $4.89

8. Kid-friendly nail polish

Piggy Paint
Credit: Piggy Paint

Non-toxic, unscented nail polish is ideal for little hands and feet.

We've been doing a lot of at-home manis and pedis these days, so I'm planning on putting a few bottles of non-toxic nail polish into each of my children's Easter baskets. I'm partial to Piggy Paint for their color selection, and for the fact that it's odorless.

Get a Piggy Paint nail polish set at Target for $9.99

9. Scented markers

Scented markers
Credit: Mr. Sketch

These scented markers have vibrant colors and fruity scents.

You can't really go wrong with a new set of markers—especially if they smell like fruit. I usually only allow washable markers in my house (hello, white couches), but the desperate times call for a relaxation of the rules, and I know my kids will love coloring with these.

Get a 22-pack of Mr. Sketch scented markers at Target for $12.99

10. Osmo games

Osmo games
Credit: Osmo

Osmo games will keep them occupied for hours.

Give yourself the gift of an hour of quiet time, and stock their baskets with new Osmo games (or an Osmo starter kit, if you don't have one yet). My 5-year-old daughter can't get enough of the Frozen 2 Super Studio, and my son is loving the Tangram mind teaser game.

11. Silly soap

Easter Soap
Credit: Primal Elements

Festive soaps with fun scents are a fun Easter basket addition.

Bath products are always hit with my kids, and I know they're going to love receiving Easter-themed bar soaps in their baskets. Each design has its own unique scent—the jelly bean one smells like actual jelly beans—and they're a great motivator for longer hand washing sessions.

Get Jelly Beans bar soap at Primal Elements for $9.50
Get the Hippity Hop bar soap at Primal Elements for $9.50

Lest you think I'm a total buzz kill, I do admit that I always put a dark chocolate bunny in each of my children's baskets. Because it's never too early to learn about quality chocolate—and that way I have something decent to pilfer when my chocolate cravings hit.

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