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  • WFMW: What do you put in an inexpensive Easter basket besides candy?

    This week is a reverse Works for Me Wednesday, when the participants get to ask their readers for help. And I need your help! Tell me: What inexpensive non-food items can you put in an Easter basket?

    I don’t let my boys eat candy, so I don’t want any food in the basket. And the last time I checked the Salvation Army store, they didn’t have a toy section. (I’m afraid to go to Goodwill, they have the worst parking lot ever. But I may brave it, if I have time.) Also, we have enough craft supplies to host a dozen crafting parties without spending a dime.

    So … any suggestions?

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips dilemmas at We are THAT Family.


    1. This may sound crazy but my kids love to get tooth brushes, tooth paste and the little kiddie dental floss things you can get. Also, if you have a dollar store nearby my kids are also crazy about that stuff…It doesn’t necessarily last long but who cares if it’s just a dollar. Also, I bought some cheap on clearance flip flops for them as well. It gives them a taste of summer to come. My girls love shoes.

    2. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      Stickers? My kids LOVE stickers. And temporary tattoos.

    3. Crunchy Christian Mom says:

      Sunglasses and beach toys from the Dollar Store! One year sand pails were the baskets. They loved that. Or art supplies for crafty kids. Crayons, watercolors, new brushes.

    4. I added some inexpensive cars that my youngest loves, and some small Lego sets for both of them. We also have a ton of art supplies, but they are always coming out with great new things. My youngest son got a Color Wonder set with a hard case for coloring while we travel, and my oldest son got the new 3-D coloring set.

    5. this is a bit more expensive, but it’s a tradition we’ve stuck to for years. My kids get new bathing suits or swim trunks in their baskets. They’re still young enough to outgrow theirs every year and I figure it’s something I’m going to be buying in a couple of months anyways. Besides that, sunglasses, sunscreen, diving toys, beach ball, stickers, temporary tattoos, books from the dollar tree, play-doh, sidewalk chalk.

    6. Christy says:

      My kids always get a book in their Easter baskets. It works well, no matter what age they are.
      My daughter loves to bake, so she usually get a new cooking utensil, sprinkles or a cookie cutter.

    7. No sure how old yours are. But I find the dollar store great for this. Sand toys, an Easter book, skipping rope, bubbles, balls, hulu hoops,coloring book and crayons are all things I have put in ones done by me.

    8. My boys get a book, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, stickers, erasers, pencils, paper, temp tatooes, small lego sets, sandbox toys (I stock up on the bigger items when the clearance sales are and stash it away). $ tree has bubbles, etc. For the egg hunt I put chewies, raisins, stickers, tatooes, money and balloons in them. Works for them and for me… limited candy.

    9. oh another side thought (my kids have enough) but what about a puzzle from $ tree. I’ve bought alot of coloring books, puzzles, crayons, stickers, bubbles, sunglasses, tatooes, etc from there. Won’t cost you alot to shop your heart out at the $ tree.

    10. Mommy Shoes says:

      Books are definitely good- they can even be used ones you pick up at a garage sale or somethign similar. Another thing that I got that we will do when Z is older is plastic eggs with money in them- like a quarter or whatever is age appropriate. These are fun because the ones with change in them rattle like ones with jelly beans do

    11. Chief Family Officer says:

      Thanks, everyone! These are FABULOUS ideas – I am definitely going to use them!

    12. My boys are teens (13 and 16) but still like a little surprise. I buy Sudoku and crossword puzzle books, shoestrings (wildly colored ones), granola bars, sugar-free gum for the child without braces, and a copy of their favorite magazine (Discover for one of the kids and Mad Magazine for the other). The boy with braces will get some a small package of non-chewy candy (chocolate) and the other will get jelly beans.

    13. The Masked Mommy says:

      I know you said “no food” because your boys don’t eat candy, but how about some homemade granola bars all packaged with love? Or whatever snacks your boys do eat for treats. And a trip to the Dollar Tree will probably provide everything you need 😉

    14. We always put Teddy Grahams inside the easter eggs. The kids would be devastated if they only got jelly beans and no teddy grahams.

      Also, if you are crafty, you could whip up some stuffed ducks or bunnies to add into the basket.

      One more thing I like to do is to print out a coloring page along the easter theme…

    15. Jennifer says:

      My boys love hot wheels and Monster Jam cars, so they are getting two trucks, and two pieces of the orange straight track for racing. (88 cents at Toys R Us.) I have soft cover books that I spent a dollar on, and dollar bin socks with some of their favorite characters. I do a small Easter egg hunt, and I put hot wheels cars and pocket change in them. I can’t remember if I have anything else for their baskets, but I know they will love this and I doubt I spent more then $20 for both of them.

      A tradition that my mom always did was we would write our names on one of the eggs before we dyed them, and that egg always was put into the basket by the bunny, too.

      Last year, the bunny left footprints everywhere, leading to their baskets. (It will be harder for the four year old this year, It think.)I took a small travel size baby powder, turn it over real quick on your carpet, give a twist, and the powder left looks like a paw print. BIG HIT! Mom complains about the big mess bunny left all over the house!

    16. Anonymous says:

      I have two young boys and some non-candy items I am planing on putting in their baskets are sidewalk chalk and books…which I saw your comment on not wanting to go to Goodwill, but I have to say that that is my #1 place to find books! I go about once a week and about every other time walk home with an arm load of great books for CHEAP and often find books that look brand new!!!

    17. Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget bubbles. We also buy waterbottles,sunglasses, even beach towels..anything that we are going to use when “summer” gets here. We’ve done the toothbrush, toothpaste, bathtub bubbles, scrubby bath thingy too. Anything that I would normally buy, but slurge on the fun stuff..the kids know it must be the Easter bunny, because Mom wouldn’t spend her money on that

    18. My son loves to dig, so I bought a shovel from the $1 section at Target yesterday, along with some seeds for him to plant.

      Also he loves pretty rocks, so I will probably get some to put in a plastic egg.

      And some sunglasses and low sugar treats like Pure Fun organic lollipops that only have 1 gram of sugar each.

      Happy Easter!

    19. Hairbows, stickers, small stuffed animals, mini Playmobil or Lego sets, small books, sunglasses. These are a few of the things we run to every year!

    20. I haven’t read any other ideas, so I hope I’m not duplicating.

      We don’t do Easter baskets, so our Easters are very cheap!

      I would go with something that they can use for the summer – new sand or pool toys (swimmies if y’all still need them are available for $1 a pair at Walmart and dollar tree). Sunglasses. Hats. Sun visors to decorate?

      How about some seeds and small gardening tools to make their own garden (in the yard or in containters)?

    21. soncrazed says:

      I made an Easter basket for my niece & since she is a baby & too young for candy, the basket was filled with inexpensive books.

    22. Anonymous says:

      My kids really liked getting one of those gold colored dollar coins.

    23. Christie says:

      something handmade
      coupons (we do coupons to get a drink or dessert when we go out to eat)
      tiny glass magnets

    24. Stephanie says:

      We have done books, puzzles, maybe a few dollar toys in the past. I have even done toothbrush, toothpaste, socks etc!

    25. The One Spot at Target is a great place to get Easter basket/Christmas stocking stuffers for around $1 each. They usually have great seasonal items. A dollar store is great, too. I got some bunny ears and Easter themed socks this year. I second the toothbrush idea. That was the only thing in my kids’ Christmas stocking that cost more than $1, but I thought it was worth the extra. And they wear them out so quickly that we’ll need more in the Easter baskets, too.

    26. Anonymous says:


    27. ~~tonya~~ says:

      I usually go with things for Spring and Summer–bubbles, sidewalk chalk, cheap sunglasses, new bathing suits, jumprope, colors/colorbook.

    28. There are a bunch of great ideas on here for Easter baskets. I also would hit The Dollar Tree they have some really cool “magic” towels which are little wash cloths size towels that are compressed down into a cute little shape (like an Easter Egg). My kids have been getting these in their baskets for years. My daughter and oldest son who are 19, and 16 had their friends over last time they got these and they all had so much fun putting them in water and making them grow. Sounds silly but little things still make a kid of any age smile. I would go for some organic fruit leather, it is really yummy and does not have all the extra junk fruit roll-ups have. You can get a gently used book at Thrift stores or used book stores, or Amazon! Depending on the age of your child there are many options. Combs, brushes, pens, pencils, crayons, cheese and crackers, yo-yo’s, playing cards…

    29. Anonymous says:

      We use sand buckets as our easter baskets so my 3 yr old can use it for the summer. We may also gat a lego set & break it up between several eggs, bubbles, get 2 hot wheels cars or some 88 cent cans of playdough at walmart. For my older two I either do an ipod gift card small amount or coins in the plastic eggs. We've also done gift certificates from baskin robbins or somewhere similar to be used later on during the summer. when they are older we've done frisbees, kites, balls pool toys etc. Just no easter grass thank you! For the big ticket items they have to follow a string or clues to get to the prize.

    30. Chief Family Officer says:

      WOW! These are all fantastic ideas, thank you so much! I don’t think I’ll have any problem filling up those baskets now. This will be my first time doing Easter baskets and I just couldn’t think beyond candy, so THANK YOU!

      @ the anon who said “matzoh” – Thank you for making me LOL! My mother-in-law makes fabulous matzoh ball soup every holiday but so far, the boys don’t like it – more for me, though!

    31. The Deal Diva says:

      The “Diva” boys love Hot Wheels cars. This week at Walgreens, they are Buy 1 Get 1 Free! That’s $0.65 each. I also picked up some Disney Cars sandals for half off retail at TJ Maxx. The boys will be thrilled!

    32. We have done a garden theme before which can be tailored to many ages:
      hand rakes
      mini wheelbarrow (I think we used this as the basket one year.)
      potted mini roses/cactus.

      This year we bought a gel ant farm and a butterfly habitat. I just sent away for the ants and caterpillars yesterday.

    33. My son has braces, so it’s tough to find treats that are ok (sweet or not).

      When the state quarters were coming out, he got new ones for his collection.

      Comic books or the little puzzle books (word searches, sudoku, etc) are usually a hit.

      New thing this year… we got him some trading cards. He’s not into sports but he likes anime. We also saw some Obama cards and I think that was a neat idea too!

    34. Anonymous says:

      You’ve already had a lot of great ideas, but here’s one I didn’t see in my quick skimming of the comments …

      You mentioned you already have plenty of craft supplies. What about a basket where you include the supplies for a new craft, along with the instructions, making the focus of the basket more “what we do” than “what we get.”

    35. A new pair of spring/summer pajamas are a big hit in our house. And books. Also, for treats, I put handfuls of sweet cereal (which they aren’t allowed to have normally) and yogurt covered raisins in the plastic eggs. Since they’re hunting in the morning, at least they get to eat something from their eggs right away.

    36. Formerly known as Cali says:

      love the gardening ideas from above!

      another thought: “Annie’s” natural/organic brand makes those cheddar cheese tiny bunny shaped crackers. Seems like a natural! I am making my own mix with those (and they make tiny bunny grahams), raisins, dried banana slices and dried cranberries, pieces of gum, some almonds, etc.

    37. How about a set of easter-themed cookie cutters (my son likes to use them as stencils on his white board) and then raiding their crayon boxes for all the broken ones to make easter-themed shaped crayons? One purchase, bunches of gifts!


    38. Evie_Edlund says:

      We usually do spring shoes or rainboots (they need them this time of year anyway), easter-themed travel kleenex packs, chapstick, easter erasers/pencils. For toys we usually buy a pack of outdoor toys (bubbles, sidewalk chalk) and split it up between the kids baskets. If I do this at the dollar store I can (other than the footwear) fill 3 baskets for about $12-15.

    39. Anonymous says:

      Just an FYI…. I’ve noticed a lot of the posts mention Dollar Tree or other dollar stores. I receive the CPSC recall list daily in my inbox, and almost everyday toys/craft supplies/etc from dollar stores are included due to product failure/choking hazard/exceeding safe lead levels. Just a heads up for a safe Easter!!

    40. I put in a “new to you” video from the consignment sale. It was super exciting because it was new. Non Candy and looked nice and colorful and big-ish in the basket.

    41. My kids love to get craft supplies, coins, bubble and socks. 🙂