Ever since my kids were little, we’ve been hiding plastic Easter eggs for a family Easter egg hunt. There’s something so precious about those chubby little fingers reaching out to pick up a brightly colored egg, one that barely fits in their tiny little hands!
What’s not so precious is all the candy that comes into the house at the end of the hunt. It’s not that I’m opposed to sugar consumption. Trust me, we eat our share of sweets! But at last count, we’ve collected over 100 plastic eggs at our house over the years. That’s a lot of candy.
In my efforts to scale back the sweets and make the whole experience more meaningful (and less cavity prone!), here are 30 ways to fill Easter eggs without touching the candy jar:
1. Stickers – Just pick up a few sheets of stickers at your local dollar store, cut them into individual stickers, and pop them in the eggs.
2. Temporary tattoos – See above!
3. Ponytail holders – Shhh…I’m not even going to buy new ones this year, just recycle what we already own.
4. Barrettes and hair bows – See above!
5. Squinkies – A more expensive option than some of the rest of the fillers in this list, but the kids will love them if you choose to make the investment.
6. Miniature cars – We picked up these little toys as accessories for an AWANA Grand Prix car and didn’t end up using them. Into the eggs they go!
7. Pretzels – Who doesn’t want to munch on a salty snack while hunting for eggs…or counting out your loot?
8. Raisins – Instead of salty, try sweet but healthy.
9. Coupons – These fillers are some of my favorites. They don’t cost a thing except the paper they’re printed on…and your time, of course. Coupon ideas include “30 minutes of reading time with Mommy,” “Stay up 15 minutes past your bedtime,” “Go on a Daddy Date,” or “Pick the game for the next family game night.”
10. Jacks – Put a single jack in 10 different eggs. Hide the ball in another egg. The one who gets the egg with the ball gets all the jacks!
11. Coins – We’re talking pennies and nickels here, just enough to make the kids’ piggy banks jingle. Even better, add the money to your stash for a Family Outing.
12. Wildflower seeds – I’ve never personally done this, but I’ve read about families who hide wildflower seeds in plastic eggs and then scatter the seeds in a prepared bed. Must try!
13. Legos – Buy one kit and add a Lego to each egg. Work as a family to complete the project together.
14. Craft kits – Pick one up at your favorite craft or dollar store, divide the supplies among the eggs, then put the craft together as a group.
15. Googly eyes – An essential egg filler when paired with #16, below…
16. Fingers from old gloves – For finger puppets, of course! Don’t want to cut up any of your gloves? You just might be able to find some brightly colored gloves on clearance. Glue the eyes on the cut-out fingers from the gloves, add some yarn (see # 29) and pom-poms (#28), put them on your fingers, and you’re ready for hours of creative play.
17. Puzzle pieces – Buy just one puzzle at a dollar store and put it together at the end of the hunt.
18. Pencils – Of course, these are too big to fit in an egg, but you can take a picture of the pencils, cut up the picture (puzzle style), and let the kids figure out their prize after they’ve pieced the picture together. (This strategy works for any other larger item you might want to give away.)
19. Pinwheels – See above!
20. Easter messages – Write a message on the computer for your kids, then print it and cut out the individual letters, putting one letter per egg. Ideas include, “He is risen,” “Happy Easter,” and “Resurrection Sunday.” If you’re going to include more than one phrase, be sure to color code them so it’s not impossible to figure out the messages.
21. Erasers – To pair with #18, above.
22. Lip balm (or gloss)
24. Plastic army men
26. Band Aids – What kid doesn’t enjoy character Band Aids? We’re always running out at my house, so this is a great way to restock the medicine cabinet!
27. Miniature figurines – I saw plenty of these at the store the other day. My Little Pony, Legos, and LaLa Loopsie all make them. Adorable!
28. Pom-poms – Restock your craft closet, or make the finger puppets, above.
29. Yarn – For any number of craft projects, particularly those finger puppets.
30. Travel-size toothpaste or dental floss – Just in case you decide to break into the candy jar after all!
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