Healthy and Homemade Easter and Ostara Basket Ideas (with Tutorial Links)

March 26th, 2011 by Dionna | 26 Comments
Posted in Adults, Children, Eclectic Learning, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, Preschoolers, Toddlers

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For families who would like to avoid Easter and Ostara baskets full of sugary, processed foods (think Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs) and cheap plastic toys, here are some healthier, homemade alternatives.

Everything but the “basket basics” on this list can be homemade by you, with links to tutorials where relevant.

And if you don’t have time to make everything, consider having a swap! Follow the directions in this post featured on Natural Parents Network (written by Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings) on activity bags, but make the theme specific to spring/Easter/Ostara baskets. Have fun!

Basket Basics

  1. Baskets: For the basket itself, you don’t need to spend money on the fancy character baskets (that will likely break soon anyway). Use a basket you have at home – the real treats are inside. Or pick up a nice basket from Goodwill that you or your child can use after it has served its purpose.
  2. Grass, Option 1: Don’t buy the nasty plastic throw-away grass, grow your own! Creative Kids at Home has a tutorial for growing your own grass – and you can compost or transplant the grass when your child is done. Hurry though, you’ll need about two weeks to grow it.
  3. Grass, Option 2: If you don’t want to grow your own grass, consider using some pretty fabric. You can re-purpose it into something else afterward – a superhero cape or play area backdrop perhaps.
  4. Eggs, Option 1: If you want to skip the plastic, what about fillable crocheted eggs? You can buy them from Crocheted Little Things, or you can buy the pattern from Sandy’s Cape Cod Originals and make your own.
  5. Eggs, Option 2: Yes they’re plastic, but if you want to go with the traditional fillable eggs, you can always keep them around in your child’s play kitchen (our eggs have enjoyed two years of play) or donate them to a thrift store.

Edible Goodies

  1. Fruit Scones: I’m going to try these yummy looking scones from Prudent Baby (subbing palm oil for the butter and almond milk for the heavy cream). I have a flower shaped cookie cutter that should make them look springy.
  2. Trail Mix: Put some dried fruit and nuts in eggs – my son (then two years old) thought these little snacks were so much fun last year!
  3. Healthy Muffins: Include homemade carrot, banana, or apple cinnamon muffins – try weelicious for healthy, kid-friendly recipes. Better yet, bake them in fun springtime tins shaped like flowers, bugs, bunnies, etc. (On sale for 30% off right now at Joann’s!)
  4. Granola: We love granola, and I know Kieran would like to have homemade granola tucked into eggs. Here’s a recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen.

Homemade Treasures

  1. Felt Story Board Characters: Think traditional springtime fare: chickens, ducks, bunnies, trees, flowers, butterflies. Cover a piece of cardboard with flannel for story board play, and let the creativity begin. Here are a couple of sites that can give you ideas (although neither is “springy”): An Apple and a Tree; ObSEUSSed.
  2. Bubbles: BubbleBlowers.com has quite a few recipes.
  3. Wooden Peg People (Fairies and Gnomes): There are two adorable tutorials for wooden peg people: We Bloom Here and Wee Folk Art. Also check out this one from Wee Folk Art for felt gnomes, and this tutorial for fairies from Treasures for Tots.
  4. Crayon Muffins: Recycled crayons are easy to make, check out this tutorial from Make and Takes.
  5. Animal Tails: Go wild! Inspire creative play with animal tails, you can see the easy tutorial at Code Name: Mama.
  6. Sidewalk Chalk: And it’s shaped like eggs! Thanks Skip to My Lou.
  7. Seeds: While seeds aren’t homemade, there is something magical to children about growing something from seed. But you can make “seed bombs” – thanks for the cute idea McCrenshaw!
  8. Finger Puppets: Such cute little finger puppet tutorials! See: Monkeys and Bunnies from Maman A Droit; Bunnies at The Purl Bee; Farm and other animals at the idea room; Crocheted Spring animals at Crochet Uncut; and for the less crafty among us, easy paper finger puppets from a PDF on Disney Family Fun.
  9. Wings: Give your children flight – make them wings. Here is a tutorial from Mommy Blessings.
  10. Play silks: Play silks are wonderful for open-ended creative play. Here are tutorials from Raising Olives; Clean; Make Baby Stuff.
  11. Bunny Ears: Here is an easy tutorial from Family Entertaining – I wonder what it would look like if you put pipe cleaners in between two pieces of felt to make the ears stand up.
  12. Finger Paints: I’m definitely putting these in Kieran’s basket – it’s warm enough to get messy outside again! Tutorials from At the Butterfly Ball; Crafting a Green World; Creative Kids at Home.
  13. Playdough: Here are twenty recipes from The Green Fish Chronicles.

What are putting in your children’s baskets?

Photo Credit: asinila

26 Responses to:
"Healthy and Homemade Easter and Ostara Basket Ideas (with Tutorial Links)"

  1. Awesome ideas! My first thought was that our tradition IS to do candy. But then I reminded myself that we can change traditions. We have a basket for each child that we store, just like xmas stockings. I save the plastic eggs from year-to-year, too. I usually get some sort of toy, last year my girls got store-bought bunny ears. This year, I’m definitely thinking chalk, but I don’t know that I’ll make it. We’ll see. I LOVE these ideas you’ve offered!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      psssttt….I’m totally not making my own chalk. Actually, I probably won’t be buying any either, since we still have chalk that we got him last year ;)

  2. Lu   piccoladonna

    Thank you for mentioning my crocheted eggs :)
    Lu @ Crocheted little things

  3. I LOVE these ideas! While it is a little late for anyone celebrating Ostara or the Vernal Equinox, there are plenty of ideas here for Spring treats, crafts, projects, etc. Such a great post!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I realized it was late when I started writing it :( But since there are still Ostara activities going on amongst my homeschool groups, I figured some families might still benefit – and like you said, these are great things to do (with kids!) all spring long. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Alicia C.   amccrenshaw

    OK, this page is BOOKMARKED! So many great ideas all in one place.

    One thing that we do with the plastic eggs we bought years ago is great fun all year. I put some of the kids toys into the eggs, then just hide them here and there among their toys. My oldest still likes finding little “guys” that he used to play with. And my toddler goes nuts when he finds one! He could have played with the toy inside a million times, but finding it in an egg makes it extra-special.

    And thanks for the mention on the seed bombs! That one little post has gotten so much attention – and they’re so very easy to make.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Alicia – I did several egg hunts with Kieran long after Easter last year – they’re really fun any time of the year!!

  5. Violetsouffle   violetsouffle

    Ill be adding Cascarones! And these: http://beaufulah.blogspot.com/2011/03/little-boxlings.html

    I also think Irish moss would be a perfect grass substitute, an could be used to make an awesome terrarium afterwards together too!! We got ours at the farmers market, but plant stores have them too.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I just ate my own lengthy reply (grumble grumble).

      I think moss would be beautiful! And I like the idea of a sproutling. Kieran decided today that he wants a “weird” plant (blue potatoes and, um, red green beans – his specific requests), so it might be nice to start something for him.

      Also, I saw last year that you can grow your own Stevia, but I wonder how it works to use – do you just crush the leaves to get the sweetness? Would I just stick them in my coffee? We use stevia in lots of stuff, but it’s pre-bottled :)

      • violetsouffle   violetsouffle

        I let T just munch on the leaves. It is much much like a mint plant in how it releases its flavor: I soaked some in hot water to make a small syrup but we really only just use organic sugar in our foods and since it has better taste and is more natural we find we use a lot less of it than anything we tried before. Stevia is just for fun around here- for her to pick and eat and for adding to teas/smoothies etc fresh from the vine.
        I would just make a simple syrup (basically a stevia tea) if you want to use it like you already are.

  6. Violetsouffle   violetsouffle

    Oh! What about a stevia plant sproutling?? That would be awesome :)

  7. Laura

    If you use plastic Easter eggs, you can put a few baby safe items inside, like cheerios, tape them shut and use them as shakers! They are the perfect size for little hands.

  8. What fun that you mentioned our homemade fingerpaints! My children love using them, and they make great gifts for our ftiends as well! These days my oldest even helps in cooking them up sometimes.
    Happy Easter!!!
    Rachel~ At the Butterfly Ball

  9. giggly   giggly_kerri

    I hope you use sustainable palm oil. We went to the zoo last week and I was reminded the orangutan crisis.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I use the Spectrum organic brand you can get from HyVee – it *says* environmentally sustainable, but since we just went dairy-free, I honestly haven’t researched it. I will do so!

  10. Hey, didn’t realize you went dairy-free recently! Are you egg-free as well or just dairy free? I have lots of dairy-free recipes but many contain eggs. I appreciated the chocolate cake recipe you posted on FB yesterday — I am totally going to try it! We almost always use coconut oil, sometimes half-and half with a dairy free margarine.

    Thanks for the shout out — I think this would be an AWESOME thing to do a swap with! So many cool ideas! I have been meaning to grow our own easter basket grass for YEARS and I think this year may be the year. I finally have it together enough, ha! Thanks for reminding me.

    I like the idea of trail mix and granola in some of the eggs, as well. My girls love hunting for eggs! We do some candy and some healthier foods mixed in.

    I think handmade mini-fairies would be an GREAT egg stuffer, and I am planning a tutorial really soon. In the meantime, here’s a link that shows pretty much what I do for them: http://treasuresfortots.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-make-tiny-fairy-doll.html

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Nope, not egg free. Kieran has had some kind of food sensitivity his whole life, and I’m (shamefully) just doing something about it. We’re going DF first, just to see (the symptoms look like a dairy sensitivity).
      Those fairy dolls are SUPER cute!! I’m definitely adding them to th list. TY!

  11. Oh wonderful ideas! I’m totally sharing this on my blog!

  12. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    Such fun ideas, and I’m flattered you included my finger puppets!
    We used a blanket last year as a basket liner and then had a toy lamb and a baby Bible since it was his first Easter, but I’m excited to put some homemade goodies in this time. Besides the bunny, I’m also almost done with a frog finger puppet that I’ll try to post a pattern for after I finish him. And I’ll have to think about some of your other fun suggestions-so many great ones to choose from!

  13. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama   ithoughtiknewma

    Thanks for all of the inspiration! Can’t wait to make Jac’s 1st Easter basket!

  14. These are fabulous ideas! I love the wooden peg people. I think baby girl would love a whole family of them. :)

    We still do some candy here, but since it is a treat I don’t worry too much. Of course, we are always careful about the type of candy we buy.

  15. Great idea! I was going to post something like this coming up in April, I’ll have to create a couple of your ideas and feature a link to this.

  16. Kellie   MindfulLifeShop

    I have my Easter basket from when I was a child, complete with the paper mache egg that opens to conceal little gifts! I filled it with the crinkly paper that you can find in the gift wrap aisle when Sofi was a baby and that is how it has stayed ever since. The children share one basket. I LOVE that you mentioned reusing the basket and alternatives to the plastic grass!

    And the ideas you have are sooooo cute!

  17. Thanks for these ideas! I tend to shy away from holiday traditions (except Christmas) simply b/c they usually involve a ton of candy.

    This list has me rethinking…

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