How To Have An Eco-Friendly Easter
Forgo picking up bags of green cellophane grass and cartons full of plastic eggs, this Easter head down a more Earth-friendly rabbit hole. Choose to stuff baskets with gently-used kid gear, interactive art projects, reusable goods and other fun ways to celebrate. Not only does this approach prove better for the planet, but it will make you feel more sane in the end. After all, who says we have to stock up on breakable, throw-away toys and doodads that will just end up in the landfill after the chocolate bunnies have been eaten and little ones' have forgotten about the holiday in lieu of the impending summer. To get you on the path to hosting a sustainable fete, here are a handful of ideas.
Shop For Reusable and Useful Goodies
Let's start with that famous Easter basket. No where does it say children need a new one each year. Buy a new or second hand one you really love, and fill it again and again each year. For example, how about a LEGO head container that can work as a basket and as a useful storage device. Or a festive dump truck perfect for holding an array of treats. We bought some fuzzy bunny baskets at Target on sale one year and have kept those going for about three Easters so far.
Other ways to give kids a festive gift that keeps on giving is to seek out high-quality goods to be appreciated day after day. If your little one is a baby, consider the Teething Egg, a USA-made product that's not only useful for tiny teethers, but fits the Easter theme. Or, cute bunny or chick bibs, an outfit or blanket. An older child may treasure a nice stuffed bunny, Easter-themed LEGOS, bunny ears and tails for year-round pretend play, a springtime movie and other things they will actually want to play with that can last for more than a day.
What To Fill Eggs With
It's so easy to reuse those ubiquitous plastic snap eggs so there's no reason to buy new ones each year. But once you have the eggs what should you fill them with? Breakable junk toys are out, and sure candy is always fun, but not everyone wants so much sugar. Instead, how about diving into that giant LEGO collection you have stashed away or buy a bag of used ones and fill each egg with those blocks. You can also find good used kid gear to stuff the egg with, such as small animals, mini cars or trains, costume jewelry from your own collection, and more. Personally we like to stuff some with candy and some with tiny treasures. And, if you don't want plastic eggs in your life at all, consider making alternate holders like a cute one out of a cardboard tube and paper, another out of origami and even reusable paper mache eggs.
Seriously, skip the old-school plastic Easter basket grass that we all grew up with. Instead, try out paper "grass" that can be used again or simply recycled. Or shred some green (or any color) tissue paper for a similar effect. One wing mom at Good Buy Gear uses actual wheat grass in her baskets, something she both grows and, when needed, sources from the local health food store. Of course you could skip the grass all together and save on both waste and the time it takes to clean it all up at the end of the day.
There's no reason Easter has to be all about bunnies and eggs. If you make spring the focus of the holiday the whole world of flowers and gardening opens up. That means line your basket or canvas bag with kid-sized gardening tools, toy bugs and butterflies, seed pods and planters. Tons of planting kits can be found too, and Target usually has little easy pots with seeds for $1. Heck, why not use a flower pot as the Easter basket and fill it with all sorts of gardening goodies. Not only is this one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to celebrate Easter, but it's also a learning tool and the gift that will keep one growing, literately.
Dying Easter Eggs
While cheap packs of dye for eggs aren't necessary bad for the environment, there are other ways to do it that remain a little cleaner and with less packaging. The easiest way is to make your own dye using one teaspoon of store-bought, natural food coloring and mix it with two tablespoons white vinegar and two tablespoons water. Another way skips the actual eggs altogether and instead utilizes paper. That's right, paper mache eggs, which are easy to do, last and depending on how you do them, can work in lieu of plastic snap eggs. Plus kids can really get into decorating them. Consider also playing with natural food and spice ingredients in your home to make Easter egg dying a real science experiment (think beets, cinnamon and butterfly pea flower).
If you're worried the kids won't be hip to an Easter Bunny who reuses baskets and eggs, try swapping goods with a friend or other parent. That way you can showcase a new set of holiday items every year and all you need to do is supply a fresh chocolate bunny and maybe some jelly beans. This just showcases another way used kid gear proves useful for your family and the environment. We don't always have to get new things, and chances are your kid won't even notice or care.