It’s finally spring in Ohio. Grass is green, leaves are budding, and the sunlight is blessedly warm. Winter’s brittle ice tree is now a jauntily swaying festivity of rainbow eggs. My clever friend Jenny conjured up this surprise for the kids. It’s like a Christmas tree but better – easy, fun, inexpensive – and best of all, the tree lives. I can’t look at it without smiling.
I’ve been buried in food/health research over the last couple of months, and I’m dying to share some discoveries and get your thoughts. But I’ve had trouble breaking from my research long enough to write, and I’m grateful to a sweet reader, Tamara, who gave me a poke about Easter because she liked my Christmas gift ideas. So for Tamara, I have Easter gift ideas and a couple of tips for making your own happy Easter tree.
The Easter egg hunt – and ensuing candy bonanza – is the main event in our house. Last year our great friends visited from London and brought the creamiest foil-wrapped Lindt Easter chocolate (no wonder their kids prefer chocolate to jelly beans). I was happy to spot the same Lindt Easter candy recently at World Market, which also had an excellent assortment of Pez dispensers. Of course for those in the western part of the country, See’s Candy also makes great foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and bunnies.
Over the years we’ve had these in Easter baskets:
- New toothbrush, toothpaste and flossers (hint hint, kids)
- Themed band-aids
- Notebooks and colored pens
- Play doh
- Hair clips
- Nail polish
It’s always nice to give an outdoor toy to encourage kids to run off the sugar:
- Sidewalk chalk
- Watering cans
- Gardening tools
- Spray bottles (if you don’t mind them getting wet)
- Bug viewer (also seen in the Christmas gift list for preschoolers)
A small game is another great basket-stuffer:
- This year I bought the kids Bananagrams, which is a bag of letter squares in a banana-shaped bag, sort of a free-form Scrabble game – and I’m excited to play it too.
- For older kids, I love the game SET – it’s a simple and brilliant card game that gets your brain to see things in more than one way. Older kids find it fascinating, yet it’s simple enough for young kids to play too (a boy I used to babysit was a SET natural at age four, much to his eight year old brother’s consternation). It’s just as fun and challenging for adults.
- There’s always a simple deck of regular playing cards. My four year old is really into War.
- I bought TableTopics Family, a set of question cards, to stimulate dinner conversation beyond the how-was-school-it-was-good variety. It would be an amusing gift for a chatty or older child, but at $25 you’d also consider it a gift for the whole family.
- Not exactly a game, but I saw this Sound Machine at World Market and have to get one for my little people. It has 16 buttons that each make a silly sound effect: applause, laughter, boing, burp, glass breaking, etc. It’s exactly the kind of thing they think is hilarious – they still love making sound effects with the slide whistles from Christmas.
I love any opportunity to add to our home library, and Easter is no exception. My third grader is getting a spy book on codes and ciphers and maybe this one on spy science. My first grader loves anything by Tomie DePaola and is currently enthralled by his 26 Fairmount Avenue books, amusing stories about the author’s childhood in the 1930s. I have too many book recommendations than will fit here, but I promise a post later with gift book ideas by age.
But now back to the Easter tree. Green dental floss camouflages well and is sturdy enough to hold up to spring rains and breezes. Tie a loop to hang from a branch. Then open a plastic egg and close it over the lower part of the loop.
I’m smiling every time I leave the house and every time I return. Happy spring!