Easter is such a special holiday for our family. It’s important to me to that our family focuses on the true message of Easter but we still have fun with popular Easter traditions such as the Easter baskets. Like many parents, I want I limit the amount of sugar in our Easter baskets and instead offer practical and fun items. I also want to stay within a reasonable budget and get value for the money I do spend. I have been there, done that, with junkie bobble head chickens and flimsy plastic bunny games that are dropped, broken and forgotten within days. Here are some of my favorite science related Easter basket gift ideas.
Easter Basket Idea #1: Magnifying Glass
Kids love magnifying glasses. They can use them to look at their own skin, bugs, plants or dirt in the carpet. I recommend plastic for young kids to use independently but you may want to invest a real deal glass one for older or very responsible kids. Magnifying glasses aren’t just big fun; they lay the groundwork for later using microscopes or telescopes.
Easter Basket Idea #2: Nature Collection Bag
Kids love to collect things and a Nature Collection Bag encourages them to get outside and moving to look for them. You can purchase small canvas bags at superstores or craft stores. Invest in a fabric marker and personalize the bag with their name and call it whatever may be attractive to your child. For my daughter, who recently graced me with a turtle shell and a piece of wood with holes she’s decided we should plant seeds in, that would be a “Brady’s Nature’s Treasure Bag.” For my son, who loves to play “guess what I found” and to surprise Mom and Dad with “special rocks,” that would be “Lee’s Bag of Surprises.” If you’re really thrifty one of those nice plain brown store bags with handles and colored markers can create the same inspiration.
Easter Basket Idea #3: Small Sketch Pad & Pencil
My education professor once told us that kids love things that are really big and really small. I’ve found she’s right, super-sized or mini-versions of common items are enticing to children. Tiny notepads are available at office supply, drug stores and dollar stores. The point of the smallness is for nature’s sketchers, journalers, listers or doodlers to keep it in their pocket when they’re exploring. Model for kids some science ideas like drawing the moon every night for a week or drawing the changes in plants as they grow. Don’t forget good old fashion fun like “leaf rubbings.”
Easter Basket Idea #4: Bug Jar
Bug jars are always big hits. You can buy one or make one with a plastic (or glass if you’re comfortable) jar by putting holes in the lid with a nail and using a permanent marker to personalize. Be sure to share your family’s guidelines for catching, handling and releasing bugs. I love that my kids get lots of exercise finding and catching bugs. The magnifying glass comes in handy once they have one too.
Easter Basket Idea #5: Safari or Sun Hat
A safari style or sun hat will protect your budding scientists precious skin from the sun while they explore. Most kids love to play dress up. Adding an exploring hat (or even vest) will set the mood and make them feel like a real explorer. Another option is cool bandannas that kids can wear on the head, as a scarf or even tie to a stick to carry things. (My daughter, “my assistant editor,” would like me to add that explorers need cool sunglasses to too- to protect their eyes of course!
Easter Basket Idea #6: Packs of Seeds
Packs of seeds are very inexpensive and just the sound they make when kids pick them up is so exciting! Choose from varieties of flowers, herbs or produce you’re up to planting. Include some cups to get your seedlings started in. This idea is very low in cost but makes a big promise to kids of fun activity you’ll soon do together.
Easter Basket Idea #7: Garden/Work Gloves
Little gardeners and treasure seekers need little gloves to protect their hands and like the hat, it simply makes the part feel real. I don’t know about your kids but mine seldom want to bother with winter gloves to play in the cold but will find any excuse to put on their cute garden gloves.
Easter Basket Idea #8: Disposable Cameras
Kids love taking pictures. At times I allow them to use my digital with close supervision but I am not going to let them take in out in the yard and use it independently. That’s why I often buy me kids cheap disposable cameras. I have sometimes found the “wedding reception” themed cameras on big sale. My kids could care less about the thought behind the white lacey motif. Put some Easter stickers on whatever is cheapest and pat yourself on the back. One consideration with the disposable cameras is developing the pictures. They can’t be developed at home or previewed on a photo machine but many photo centers offer a “don’t like it, don’t pay for it” policy. I ask when I drop off and let them know that I am unsure how many will be usable. Obviously, all of the shots won’t be photo perfect but I buy any that are identifiable.
Easter Basket Idea #9: Science Books
No Easter basket at my house would be complete without books. Most of our homes are full of fiction books and could use a few more non-fiction books. Scholastic puts out some well-done non-fiction books for young children at very reasonable prices. For kids age seven and older, Oh Yuck: The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty is my absolute favorite science book.
Easter Basket Idea #10: Bubble Bath
Sure bubbles explore several scientific properties but the truth is little exploring scientists will need a good bath. Another truth is that since I am buy bubble bath any way, why not make it an Easter basket item? Most importantly, my kids always smile big when they see bubble bath in their Easter baskets.