Your toddler hears a lot about Easter baskets from adults and older children. She sees store displays of brightly-colored baskets filled with toys and sweets, and anticipates the arrival of Easter and receiving Easter goodies of her own. Even though the magical Easter Bunny gets the credit, you can make your little angel's Easter special by choosing age-appropriate and toddler-favorite Easter gifts.
1. Egg Alternatives
Think beyond the familiar Easter eggs for your toddlers. Real eggs will need to be put in the refrigerator to keep from spoiling, which will spoil his fun. Plastic eggs are usually too small to put a toddler safe-toy or treat inside, and these are also similar in size and shape to a toy that was listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's "Dangerous Dozen" list of recalled toys in a December 2000 report. So, use some egg alternatives, such as small paper gift bags and Chinese takeout containers in bright colors. Each of these will hold one or more toddler-safe toys or treats. These will also work well for Easter egg hunts indoors or outside.
2. Treats and Sweets
Skip the messy chocolate bunnies, marshmallow- or peanut butter-filled chocolate, and jelly beans that are messy or pose a choking danger. If it breaks your heart not to have these in the house, make yourself a "mommy's basket." Toddler Easter baskets do not have to be filled with gobs of sweets and messy treats. KidsHealth reminds parents that toddler portions are fairly small, so you don't have to worry that he will be disappointed with smaller treats. Individually-sized packaged candies that melt quickly are ideal for toddlers. Other treats like small packages of graham cookies in fun shapes, colored marshmallows and even favorite cereals also work well. A few pastel lollipops will "sweeten the pot," if you feel some candy is needed.
3. Cuddly Toys
What's an Easter basket without a soft bunny, chick or duck to cuddle? Look for stuffed animals that are made with stitched-thread eyes and noses, rather than plastic ones that can pose a choking hazard. You might also include a replacement for that ratty old blanket she has dragged around ever since she could crawl. Toddlers are not too old to appreciate the soft, colorful 12-by-12-inch security blankets with a stuffed animal head attached.
4. Spring Favorites
Not only is Easter a sign that spring is near, but it's also a reminder that your toddler's spring and summer items from last year may need to be updated. Fill his basket with some new sand or shallow-water toys, different types of balls to throw, and some toys with wheels. Consider items that you might buy for yourself, such as new hats, some sunglasses, an umbrella and a raincoat. Larger items for a big basket can include a toy fishing pole, some larger cars and trucks, a washable baby doll for outdoor companionship, and golf or other lawn games.
5. The Basket
Woven baskets are safer than plastic buckets for toddlers. Cloth baskets are not only safe, but they come in all kinds of fun shapes. You can also choose items that double as a basket, but will take on a new life after Easter, like a wagon or shopping cart toy. Book bags are perfect for library visits or for filling with on-the-go toys for errand days or waiting room times. Line a beach bag with a beach towel, or use a toy watering can for double-use baskets.