Children’s gifts that encourage creative play
(Family Features) From the brimming basket itself to the goodies within, Easter has become a true gift-giving occasion. With sugar-coated marshmallow chicks and giant chocolate bunnies, there are endless ways to give your little ones gifts that fit this beloved holiday’s traditionally sweet offerings. But with the health of children top of mind, some parents are using this special springtime occasion as a way to give better-for-you gifts that stimulate the brain and inspire creativity.
Gifts that promote creativity
This Easter, instead of giving unhealthy candy that only lasts a few bites, consider long-lasting gifts that inspire the imagination and provide endless hours of enjoyment. Here are some creative gift-giving ideas for your little recipient.
Explore artistic worlds
Foster some artistic spirit with a basket filled with paint brushes, pastels, papers, molding clay and other imaginative tools. Just be sure to buy supplies that are age appropriate and safe for the recipient.
Encourage pretend play
Give kids toys that allow them to express themselves, such as the Hopscotch Rabbit Family from Calico Critters. It is one of many cute and lovable critter families your child can collect this Easter. These award-winning miniature animals promote wholesome family values and inspire the imagination.
(Calico Critters caption) Fill your child’s Easter basket with fun toys, such as Calico Critters, which encourage imaginative and creative play.
Begin a love for books
Let the adventures begin with stories your little ones will want you to read them over and over again. Look for seasonal books that share the stories of the Easter holiday or those with a springtime theme.
Dress up for fun
Let their inner princess, super hero and ballerina shine through by lining their basket with a variety of colorful, fun outfits and accessories. Dress up play encourages hours of imaginative play and can even allow the parents to join in on the role playing excitement.
Build the mind
From oversized pieces suitable for tiny tikes to complete, intricate sets for older kids, there are many great building toys for children of all ages. Since they’re loved by all, building block sets are a great choice for families with boys and girls.
Create beautiful music
From mini xylophones to tambourines and recorders, add some booming beats and expressive harmonies to their day with musical instruments. Include a lesson book with songs and they’ll be playing a tune in no time.
Discover outdoor play
Unglue them from their tablets, smartphones and televisions, and encourage outdoor play for stimulating physical activity. Tuck a basketball, kite or even a jump rope inside those baskets and it’s game on.
Plant the seed
For the budding gardener, fill those plastic eggs with seeds and give them gloves, shovels and terra cotta pots to begin their own garden. They will learn a valuable lesson about how plants are grown and some pointers on responsibility, too.
Beads, baubles, yarn and other craft goods allow children to create anything they put their mind to. Visit the clearance section at your local craft store to find a variety of materials young hands will love to work with.
Inspire theatrical performances
From birds to humans to dinosaurs, puppets allow kids to put on a show wherever they are. Look for those that engage in learning, such as puppets in the shape of farm animals or even fruits and vegetables.
From exploring new worlds in a picture book to learning to play a musical instrument, your little ones will adore receiving these thoughtful and brain-boosting gifts this Easter.
Making Easter memories
Many families use this special holiday as an opportunity to create new traditions and teachable moments for their youngsters. Here are some ways your family can do the same:
- Make discovering the basket part of the fun with a treasure hunt using a series of hidden clues or a hand-crafted map.
- Ask your children to join you in preparing and delivering baskets to a senior living residence in your community.
- Theme your baskets for a family activity, with each child receiving a critical piece of the overall project. For example, one child receives a garden spade, another gets packets full of seeds, and so on.
Baby wants a basket, too
Although the littlest members of the family certainly won’t be sinking their teeth into gooey chocolate bunnies, these ideas for creating a small basket of age-appropriate items will let baby join older siblings in the fun.
- Rather than a traditional woven basket, choose a snuggly plush container reflecting a favorite character or an Easter-themed animal such as a bunny, chick or lamb.
- You’re never too young for an Easter present. Include your infant in the holiday festivities by introducing them to a world of wonderment with Earlyears toys, such as their award-winning Soft Baby Blocks or Baby Farm Friends Bowling. These products are not only fun and colorful, but they help your baby learn and develop every step of the way.
- Look for gifts that celebrate the season that can be used every day. This can include a hooded bath towel in the character of a duck or bunny.
- Avoid using plastic grass as a filler, which can pose a choking hazard. Instead opt for shredded paper or tissue paper. Or get creative and line the basket with useful items such as new washcloths or burp rags.
- To round out baby’s basket, consider the developmental stage and incorporate relevant items. For example, if you’ll soon be saying farewell to bottles, use Easter as an opportunity to get your baby excited about using a brand new sippy cup.
(girl in white hat photo)
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