By Sarah Lyons
Our family loves an Easter egg hunt, but as the mother of a child with food allergies, it is always a challenge to find items to fill all those plastic eggs with that are not candy. Whether, like me, your child has a food allergy, or you would just like to cut down on sugar overload, here are some non-candy items to fill all your eggs with for the annual hunt.
There are numerous ideas for small toys that you could fill eggs with: bouncy balls, small craft items, Play-Doh, tiny cars like Micro Machines, mini kazoos, hand stamps, toy accessories, mini rubber ducks, fake bugs, pirate patches or just for fun—confetti! When choosing small toys to fill your eggs, please remember that small toys may pose a choking hazard for young children.
Practical items can be fun, too. Try filling eggs with erasers, pencil sharpeners, key chains, magic towels, cute Band-Aids or travel-size lotion or hand sanitizer. My kids’ favorite practical Easter egg filler is money!
Something to wear
Your kids can have fun and accessorize with these ideas: barrettes, hair ties, socks, nail polish, ChapStick, lip gloss, silly shoe laces, bracelets, earrings, rings, temporary tattoos, zipper pulls or bead necklaces.
If you are avoiding candy because of the sugar rush, try these little snacks that are the perfect size for Easter eggs: Goldfish crackers, pretzels, grapes, soup crackers, Cuties (mandarins), veggie straws, berries, animal crackers, bite-size graham crackers, nuts, raisins or other dried fruit.
How to Repurpose Your Plastic Eggs After Easter
Open the plastic egg and set each half on the table. Hide small items like paper clips, coins or erasers under each egg. (You will need two of each item.) Play memory and have your child pick two eggs to lift. They can collect them if they match.
Glue or tape the eggs shut and set up Easter baskets or buckets. Have your kids take turns tossing the eggs, trying to get them into the baskets. Whoever can get the most eggs to land in the bucket or basket wins.
Letter and word games
For pre-readers, you can work on matching upper and lowercase letters by writing one of each on a half of the egg and then having kids match them up. For older kids, write common word endings on one half of the egg, such as “at,” “ot,” “all,” “ag,” etc. and common word beginnings on the other half of the eggs, such as “h,” “b,” “c,” etc. Have your kids put the eggs together to make as many words as possible.
Shake it up
Use the plastic eggs to make homemade instruments. Fill them with dried beans, rice or popcorn seeds and glue the eggs shut. Have your kids shake the eggs along to music. To make a maraca, glue plastic spoons, one on each side, for a handle.
Become an artist
Put a small amount of paint on a paper for your child and allow them to roll the egg through the paint. They can also open the egg and use it as a stamp. Change the colors for variety.
Fill a large plastic bin or water table with beans, rice or water and add some plastic Easter eggs and small containers. Some of the eggs may have holes, so kids will enjoy watching the water slowly pour out from the bottom. They love to use the eggs as scoops to fill up larger containers with rice and beans.