Thinking Outside the Box Basket

. March 1, 2018.

Parents, it might be hard to believe, but Easter is right around the corner. If you haven’t checked the calendar yet, it’s the first day of April this year.

No need to worry. We’ve got some ideas to help you think outside the basket for fun alternatives to the usual— though somewhat tasty— sugar-filled marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury eggs.
With Spring in the air, now is a good time to replenish children’s outdoor gear. Fill baskets with bubbles, sand toys, sidewalk chalk, sun hats, bug catchers, sunglasses, beach towels and even swim gear and flip-flops.

Outdoor sports will soon start up again, so baseball mitts, jump ropes, tennis rackets and street hockey gear are all fun, useful items to add if you have active kids at home.

Learning Express, with locations in both Sylvania and Maumee, is a one-stop shop for basket fillers. Nichole Freiheit, assistant manager at the Sylvania location, said the store again will offer its popular “Bunny baskets.” Shoppers who spend $25 from the “bunny buffet,” a designated area with toys such as putty, pens, bath toys, balls, fidget spinners and more, can receive a personalized pail gift-wrapped with cellophane and ribbons.

“Another hot toy around Easter would be L.O.L. Dolls,” Freiheit said. “They’ll be good basket stuffers.” L.O.L. Surprise Dolls are a ball with several layers to unwrap. Children find doll accessories along the way as they unravel the ball, ultimately ending at a little doll.

Other popular toys at Learning Express that would make great basket stuffers are bath bombs, thinking putty, small LEGO or Plus-Plus building sets, Squishy Squad toys, Ty Beanie Boos and Pop Sockets, Freiheit said.

Other ideas for small fillers include plastic eggs with blind-bag items, mini dinosaurs, stickers, and temporary tattoos. Tweens may appreciate new ear buds, iTunes gift cards, nail polish or jewelry.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite items you can grab nearly anywhere to place amongst the Easter grass in your kid’s basket:

Shake Me Rattle. For the youngest in your family, this battery-operated, motion-activated rattle has sounds, music and multiple textures to enhance tactile and visual stimulation and introduce children to cause-and-effect processes. It also comes with an on/off button for silent play. $9.95;

PopSockets For the smartphone-wielding tweens and teens in your life. These expanding stands can be attached to a mobile device to allow for a better grip, which is especially handy when taking selfies. Ranging from $7.99 to $14.99.

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Spring Basket This cute tiny basket includes four ombre eggs full of “CollEGGtibles” as well as two characters who’ve already hatched. $14.99; available locally at Target.

Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play A sturdy ewriter made for kids’ hands that allows them to write, scribble and draw over and over without wasting paper. It erases with a click of a button. Favorite masterpieces can be saved with the app. $26.00;

Learning Resources Flower Garden Build and Spin Toddlers can work on fine-motor skills by attaching colorful garden characters such as bees and butterflies to chunky gears and then turning the handle to watch them spin. $19.99;

Educational Insights Playfoam Classic 4 pack Mess-free Playfoam provides preschoolers with tactile and sensory stimulation while sculpting and squishing shapes. $6.47;