Do you love Easter but loathe the post-egg hunt sugar crash too?! Every year at about this time, I start brainstorming non-candy Easter basket stuffers. I’m all for festive-colored sweet treats (Cadbury Cream eggs are my absolute fave!) but I also like the fun to last.
I hope you enjoy my non-candy Easter basket picks this year! If you’re looking for more great ideas, join the most valuable teaching membership for pre-K, kindergarten and first grade teachers: The Plato Pack!
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First up on non-candy Easter basket stuffers – stamps! My kids love stamping and this alphabet set from Melissa and Doug is a fun way to get kids interested in letters and words. Print a copy of our alphabet stamping sheet to include in the basket or give your child a stack of blank paper to fill with their wildest ABC creations.
Happy Easter, Mouse
We are big fans of the series If You Give a Mouse a Cookie so I was thrilled to discover this Easter version: Happy Easter, Mouse! Follow along as Mouse tries to figure out who is leaving Easter eggs around his house. It’s a fun egg-themed mystery!
If you’re new to Zingo, you’re in for a treat. Similar to the classic game of Bingo, players try to be the first to cover their boards with tiles. But this game takes it one step further by using tiles that have both words AND pictures. It’s a great way to build kids’ reading confidence.
At first glance, an ant hill might sound like a strange thing to include in our non-candy Easter basket stuffers idea – ants are more likely to gobble up kids’ candy than add to the excitement, right?!
But ants are actually fascinating insects with complex communities and behaviors. Since my boys have been fascinated by bugs recently, it’s the perfect time to include a little bit of science in their pack of goodies.
I have loved Uno since childhood and now that my boys are old enough to recognize numbers, it’s the perfect time to play the game with them.
The rules are simple enough for young children to learn and the activity gives kids plenty of practice sorting, recognizing colors and identifying numbers. It’s a trifecta of learning!
Rory’s Story Cubes
My oldest son LOVES listening to me make up playful stories. I must admit that sometimes I get a case of storyteller’s writer’s block and need a little inspiration.
That’s where Rory’s Story Cubes come into play! Players roll the dice and begin linking together the nine pictures that land on top. It’s a fun way to practice developing a story on your own – a skill kids will use in conversations and writings throughout their lives.
HedBanz has quickly become all the rage among my mom friends. It’s fun (even for adults) and helps kids build strong questioning and deducing skills.
To play, each person places a word card on their headband. Everyone in the group can see what that card is except for the person wearing it. Players take turns asking questions to figure out their object. It’s a race against time as players are challenged to solve the mystery before time runs out.
Puzzles are an awesome way to build kids’ hand-eye coordination and problem solving and this construction set from Melissa & Doug
is one of my sons’ favorites. They love the bright colors and images of excavators, dump trucks and cement mixers- some of their favorite things.
And speaking of Melissa and Doug (I swear they haven’t paid me!), we love their set of alphabet magnets too. They include upper and lowercase versions of each letter and are sturdy enough to hold up to A LOT of handling.
Keeping a set of magnets posted on the fridge gives kids practice touching and moving letters. Older children can use them to sound out familiar words and younger kids can begin learning the names of letters by hearing you say them.
Apples to Apples
Learning how to make comparisons is an important life skill. Thankfully, Apples to Apples Junior makes practicing fun for everyone- not just kids.
Players take turns being the judge. Their job is to draw an adjective card like “chewy”. Then the other players secretly lay down object cards from their hand that they think fit into that category. For our example, obvious choices would be gum, caramel, gummy worms, but, like any game, there’s a twist. It’s highly unlikely that players have an obvious choice just sitting around so they must become pretty creative.
The game is incredibly silly AND incredibly popular with kids in 2nd grade and up.
I know, I know. Socks probably sound like a super dorky idea, right?! But just hear me out.
Learning how to dress independently is a really important life skill and hands down (or maybe I should say, “feet down”) learning how to put on socks is one of the trickiest steps in the whole process. They just don’t like to slide over toes very easily.
So if your kids are young enough to kindly ignore a little Easter Bunny dorkiness, consider including a pair or two of socks as motivation for trying (and trying and trying) to cover their feet.
Beyond being fun, stickers also strengthen kids’ fine motor skills- an important step in learning how to write later. So pack those Easter baskets to the brim with colorful bunnies, chicks and eggs.
Squishing, smashing, pounding and shaping Play-Doh gives kids plenty of opportunities to learn new things. You can teach children colors, inspire them to develop their creativity, strengthen their motor skills and more. Who knew that a little ball of dough could be so educational?!
Want to whip up a less expensive homemade version?! Try our all-time favorite, super squishy playdough recipe.
When I went to pick up my boys from school a few weeks ago, they were excitedly running around their classroom playing Elefun
with their friends. I’d never seen the game before so I sat back and watched for a few minutes. It wasn’t long before I began smiling, too.
The game is a playful way to get kids moving and makes it fun to hone kids’ listening skills.
As simple a pick as markers may seem, they are incredibly useful teaching tools.
Write down a letter from the alphabet and ask your child to trace it using several different colors. Viola! She created a rainbow letter and didn’t even notice that she was practicing writing.
Or draw a picture of a spring flower and work together to label its parts. Bam! You’ve led a quick and simple science lesson.
These non-candy Easter basket stuffers are sure to be such a hit that your kids might go for them before any candy!
For more fun learning, join the most valuable teaching membership for pre-K, kindergarten and first grade teachers: The Plato Pack!
Great ideas! I know for sure I will add a couple of movies too.
Good Easter basket addition, Veri! We love taking Cat in the Hat DVDs along on trips. What are some of your family’s favorite titles?