Our Foolproof Formula for a Kid-Approved Easter Basket

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Photography by Vy Yang

Whoever said you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket certainly didn’t win any prizes for giving the best Easter basket. Then again, there’s more to building one than just eggs—even if they are chocolate and cream filled—but who has time to agonize over plastic grass and stuffed chicks? If you’re the parent who groans at the thought of adding yet another to-do to your list, you’re in luck. This foolproof formula takes the guesswork out of loading up on goodies that your unsuspecting kiddo will love—and may even spark some excitement of your own if you want to avoid the store-bought kits this year (not that there’s anything wrong with those!). 

We’ve broken the components down by category, from plush toys to sweet treats, so you can round up a unique mix of tiny treasures based on both your little one’s preferences and your commitment level. Read on for all the tools you need to put the Easter Bunny to shame this year.

The Basket

Rope or rattan, cotton or felt—whichever you choose, your basket doesn’t have to be big, especially if you’re short on time. (If that’s the case, your local craft store likely has lots of smaller options that will work in a pinch.) Don’t limit yourself to a woven receptacle either. You can splurge on a cart or simply reuse a storage container from the playroom. And remember that crumpled newspapers or shredded Kraft paper can take up as much space as you need.

Something Soft

Chicks and bunnies get all the fanfare this time of year, but there’s no shortage of whimsical creatures that are lovingly hand-crafted with long-lasting materials. I personally love the Maileg collection. The toys are made with cotton so they’ll hold up well in the wash (we put them to dry in the sun) and are pretty enough to display year-round.

Something Made of Wood

Speaking of durability, I’ve never regretted spending a bit more on wood toys. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have brightly colored plastic playthings around my house, but the ones that my kids always come back to are their Raduga Grez vegetable set and Osteheimer bears. Because they are a little more expensive, I prefer special occasions like Easter to add to our collection.

Something to Read

We can all agree that continuous exposure to books can only help a child’s development. Today’s titles have such amazing illustrations and thoughtful messages that it’s tough to pick just one. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, stick to spring-friendly themes about the weather, gardening, baby animals, or the meaning of Easter. You can also tap Storytime Book Club, which pairs book recommendations with seasonal activities—for free.

Something Curious

This is the secret sauce for making a uniquely personal Easter basket. Think about your child’s current hobbies and buy a small gift that will further those interests. For example, my daughter is curious about roly-polys and worms because we’re in the garden often; a magnifying glass lets her check them out up close. My son recently learned to blow on his food if it’s too hot, so I got him a little retro kazoo. If you’re stumped, ask a friend to share a weird gift they’ve received—it just might get your mind jogging. (That’s how the birdcall was added, below!)

Something Creative

I love nurturing my kids’ inner artists. Both enjoy doodling with me at the table—even my 18-month-old son, who can’t quite grasp his crayon correctly but still knows to put it to the paper and make small hand motions. If you have enough drawing supplies, consider a reusable sticker book or a craft kit from your neighborhood hobby store to engage little ones’ creative sides.

Something Useful

This is a great opportunity for parents to get credit for a “gift” that you needed (and probably would have gotten) anyway. I tuck in new water bottles (Stojo makes them in fun, candy-colored hues), but you can do just about any item on your must-get list: socks, shoes, bibs, bows, soap, dinnerware—anything practical goes!

Something Yummy

Is it even an Easter basket if you don’t include something for your kids to munch on? This year, I’m treating my 3-year-old to a strawberry Compartés bar (that I will inevitably eat, too), and my youngest will get Once Upon a Farm fruit pouches (sorry, kiddo, your turn will come!). But if candy doesn’t run in your family, you don’t have to do sweets: Toss in a snack like an apple, granola balls, or Cheddar crackers instead.

Bonus Easter Basket Hack

If you’re really pressed for time but still want a fun basket with bespoke stuffers, McCoy Kids offers curated Easter bundles with Kraft-paper shred, so all you have to do is add a basket and a treat. Like a choose-your-adventure book, they come with a base selection of products to pick from, plus an additional layer of options if you want something extra. Unsure of which bundle is right for you? Go for the Anytime Tot Box (just mention that it’s an Easter gift), and Lauren from McCoy Kids will take care of the rest.

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