Monday, March 21, 2011

Creative Easter Egg Fillers

by Kelley Lindberg

It’s fun being a creative mom. Or so I’ve been told.

Most days, I’m feeling far too tired/frazzled/exhausted/rushed/over-scheduled/overwhelmed to even think about being creative. So I love it when someone else is creative for me, and then I can just steal their ideas. Don’t you?

In that spirit, I’m offering some creative Easter Egg ideas, so that you can steal them and simplify your Easter celebrations! And I know there are other parents out there with even better ideas, so PLEASE post them in the comments! With food allergies, filling the eggs with candy isn’t always an option. (And even without allergies, who wants their kids hopped up on all the sugar anyway?) So here are some candy-free ideas.

First, a quick tip: Oriental Trading Co. is a wonderful resource for small, cheap novelty toys to go into Easter eggs. You can buy eggs pre-filled with toys and stickers (super-easy!), or you can buy small toys, erasers, bouncy balls, or jewelry to fill your own. (You can also order empty eggs and even jumbo-sized empty eggs that will hold larger toys or dollar bills,) Most of their novelties come in quantities of a dozen or more. Not sure you want to buy 12 of something? Talk to other parents and see if they'll go in with you on an order, then split up the toys between you. I’ve done that several times, and it works out great.

Most of the party stores in town seem to get a lot of their supplies from Oriental Trading Co., too, so if you just need a few things, try the party stores or the party aisle at discount and pharmacy stores like Walmart, Target, or Rite-Aid.

Now for some ideas:
  • At Oriental Trading Co.’s website, don’t just look at the Easter-themed novelties. Check out all the toys, from glow rings to mini plush animals, from surf-board necklaces to water squirters, from tiny flashlights to mini skateboards. They even have small, inexpensive craft kits.
  • Summer is coming – look for sidewalk chalk (open the package and put each chalk in a different egg), bubbles, pool diving toys, or foam water balls. Putting 2 or 3 water balloons in each egg is cheap and will get them well-supplied for that first water-balloon fight of the season!
  • UFAN member Suzanne suggests buying a Legos set, then putting a few pieces into each egg, and the instruction book in their basket. Got more than one kid? Color-code the eggs so each kid knows which eggs he can collect, so the sets don’t get mixed up.
  • Got a girl who’s into Polly Pockets or Barbie? Buy a few clothing sets, open them, and put the clothes and accessories into each egg.
  • For boys, take HotWheels cars, Bakugan balls, BeyBlades, or Nerf Darts out of the packages and put them in the eggs. (You’ll need jumbo-sized eggs for most of these things.)
  • For girls, try hair accessories in every color, fingernail stickers, or rolls of ribbon to make their own bike streamers or hair decorations.
  • For older kids, try trading cards, Silly Bandz, friendship bracelets, lip gloss, nail polish, guitar picks, earrings, sweat bands, cool shoelaces, magnets for their school locker, key rings, bicycle spoke clip-ons, or marbles.
  • Try craft supplies, like beading, sand art, mosaics, clay (make sure it’s allergen-free), ribbons, embroidery thread, cotton loops for weaving pot-holders, wire, paints for model-building, and foam pieces. Break up the sets and put the big pieces in the basket, and little pieces in the eggs.
  • Is your child a budding gardener? How about packets of seeds?
  • Last year, my son got The Big Book of Boy Stuff in his basket, then found eggs with the things that are used in the book’s activities, like dice, kick sacks (for juggle balls), and marbles.
  • Is your child saving up to buy something special, like an iPod or video game? Put coins or bills in each egg, along with a note or a little picture of the item to show her what the money’s for.
  • Is there a family trip coming up? Again, put money in the eggs with a note that says what it’s for, or pictures of the place you’re going. Headed to Europe? Order Euros from your bank and hide them in your child’s eggs. If you don’t want younger kids carrying real money, print fake money (like the Lego Loot or Mickey Money I made for my son when we went to California one year). Then tell them they can trade the money to you for souvenirs – it gives them a lesson on managing money without you worrying that they’ll lose it along the way.
  • Just want to focus on the basket or one larger gift? Fill the eggs with clues to find the basket. Each egg can have a clue that points to the next egg, which points to the next egg, and so on until the child finds the basket.
  • One more tip: If you’re hiding the eggs outside, be aware that if the kids open the eggs outside, they may lose the contents in the grass. So if you’re using tiny things that will be a problem if they get lost (like Lego pieces or Barbie’s new shoes), discuss the rules ahead of time – if you want them to bring all the eggs inside before they open them, be sure they understand, and make it part of the fun to keep the surprise until everyone is inside and can see.
Well, that’s what I came up with so far. If you’ve got a good idea for filling eggs, please, please share it, so that all of us frazzled moms and dads can steal your idea and make our kids’ Easter more fun. Like UFAN member Suzanne told me, “The most important thing is making sure our kids don't get gypped on holidays.”


Infant Bibliophile said...

Thanks for the great list. I got an idea last week.. I'm not sure if I will have the energy to implement it, but it's perfect for my son's age level right now. I thought I could fill the eggs with money (play or real) and then have a table all set up, hidden under a sheet, so that when he comes in with his money, he can buy gifts from a play store, with tattoos, bath toys, stickers, etc. I think it would stretch out the fun of the day.

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

What a fun idea! I love that!

foodallergymom said...

Love these ideas! Just posted them on my facebook page for other families to see!

Teri said...

Love it, love it, love it! I love how creative these suggestions are! Maybe some schools that are struggling with no food in the classroom can implement things like this--it's more creative anyway and lasts longer than candy!

zongwei lv said...

if you like plush toys,catch it please.