Say yay to spring, and get a handle on great Easter basket gift ideas

It’s that sweet time of year when the earth begins to stir, and almost everyone can relate to classical composer Gustav Mahler, who once exclaimed, “Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” Easter, of course, is the highlight of this season of renewal, so color it beautiful!

And there are so many ways to add color to your family landscape, even when the scenery outside remains brown and cold. For example, Emily Smith has pulled together creative Easter “basket” ideas on Pinterest that are anything but expected (and not always actual baskets), including several versions of kiddie pool baskets. Fill an inflatable or molded plastic kiddie pool with themed items such as kids’ garden tools, beach toys, games, or really, just about anything they can use to gear up for outdoor activities and rainy day alternatives.

Amanda Garrity gathered up “25 Seriously Creative Easter Gift Ideas for Kids” for Good Housekeeping—all of them available from Amazon. They include the book The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story and Charlotte’s Egg-Cellent Easter! Coloring and Activity Book.

Another Easter basket gift idea that blends fun and learning is this Easter Extravaganza Mad Libs book by Roger Price, featuring 21 original stories all about celebrating Easter. “Does the Easter Bunny have magical plural noun?” The key words replaced in the story with blanks will get kids thinking and stretch their vocabulary, imagination, and grammar skills.

The Inspired Learning: Complete Workbook Collection is ideal for celebrating Easter and getting kids ready for school success at the same time. Share God’s love and joy with preschoolers and kindergartners, as they learn important skills by solving and completing fun, Bible-based puzzles and activities! The titles in this big-value, 8-workbook Inspired Learning Series collection include four activity-based workbooks and four skills-based workbooks, all of them with scriptural themes and cross-references on every page. Give them all to one child, or give one to several kids.

Remember coloring pictures with crayons in every color in the rainbow, covering them with black crayon, and then scratching through the black to bring out the color for a reverse effect? Rainbow color scratch-off paper achieves a similar effect with fewer steps and less mess. The Rainbow Scratch Paper Art Kit for Kids is advertised as “a great travel activity for airplane or car.” The kit comes with 20 sheets of rainbow scratch paper, 2 stylus scratchers, and a bonus pack of scented stickers.

Cuddly, high-quality plush toy characters from the preschool series Charlie & Company also make adorable Easter basket additions. They include Charlie the Golden Retriever, Socrates the Owl, and Levi Cottonwood the Beaver. Stuffed animals are more than toys; they are comforting and reassuring, help kids cope with feelings, and give them pretend practice in care and discipline.

Of course, as Mahler knew, the best way to celebrate spring is to get outside and breathe deeply! On the days leading up to Easter or on the holiday itself, take a walk in the woods or just around the block.