When my son was little, it was easy to buy a lot of small, cheap toys as Easter basket stuffers. They normally ended up broken, lost, or cluttering up the house! We also lean towards non-candy, non-food items due to his food allergies.
Now that he’s older, I want to focus more on a few large, higher-quality Easter basket fillers that will last longer. But I still want him to have a fun Easter basket without spending a lot of money.
Below is a list of candy-free, fun Easter basket filler ideas (that are also educational!) for elementary-aged kids and early tweens.
We own many of these items, and have had tons of fun over the years playing with or doing these activities. A lot of them are great candy-free stocking stuffer ideas for Christmas too!
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1. Easter Books:
There are a variety of kids’ Easter books out there to choose from that make wonderful Easter basket fillers, from serious to silly! My son loves Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure, The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story.
This Easter basket he’s getting The Story of Easter, which is beautifully illustrated and looks like a large board book, but in my opinion the words used are definitely for older kids.
2. Fun Fiction Book:
Could be one from your child’s favorite book series, or something new to them! Some my son’s favorites are Magic Tree House, Magic School Bus chapter books, Geronimo Stilton adventures (there are also Thea Stilton adventures), Battle Bugs, Humphrey the Hamster, and Shel Silverstein’s poetry collections.
I loved to read the choose your own adventure books when I was young, does anyone else remember those? They still have them!
3. Journal & Cute Pencils or Pens:
They have LOTS of different kinds of journals for kids: travel journals, drawing journals, a question a day journals, gratitude journals, nature journals, songwriting journals, prayer journals, blank ones and more!
This travel journal is what Little J used to document our family Christmas trip to Canada, and he really liked it!
4. Activity Books/Workbooks:
Brain Quest books or cards– Little J has fun trying to challenge himself with the cards and he uses the books in summer to avoid the summer slide. Don’t forget crossword puzzle, word search, dot-to-dot, and maze books. I’ve been looking at extreme dot to dot books and am going to get this set and spread the books out as gifts over a couple of holidays- they have great reviews!
Related Post: 30 Activities to Beat the Summer Slide + PRINTABLES!
5. Game Books:
Mad Libs have lots of different themes, including Easter, and are always good for a laugh! Would You Rather game books are fun for kids, teens and adults to play together. You have fun and can learn about each other at the same time!
6. Joke/Riddle Books:
Be ready to hear the cheesiest jokes ever for like a good 3 weeks with these joke and riddle books! Here’s an Easter one that looks pretty good. Little J read this beginning reader joke book for months after he got it and even a year later he enjoys it! It was cute to see him appreciate the humor of the jokes the more he read them.
So many bookmarks to choose from here that you could find something to go with whatever your child likes!
8. Book Light:
We have one that just died, so I found one that looks perfect for Little J or for any of us to use. I like that it’s USB rechargeable, can stand on its own, and has 3 brightness levels.
FAMILY PUZZLES & GAMES
Many of these are favorite family games that we play at home.
Jenga is fun, easy to learn & great to play with all ages! We sometimes like to make up our own rules to change things up a bit, or we use the Jenga blocks with other toys when making up our own games.
10. Card Games:
Card games like UNO, Go Fish, Crazy 8s, Old Maid, and Skip Bo, Scrabble Slam, and Phase 10, are perfect for a family fun night! Or a traditional deck of cards with their favorite theme characters on them would also be fun for learning new card games.
11. Hand-Held Games for 1 or More Players:
12. Story Cubes:
You can use story dice/Story Cubes in so many different ways, in a group or individually, and it’s often hilarious to hear the different stories created! They also have themed Story Cubes now too, with Batman, Doctor Who, Scooby-Doo, and Adventure Time.
13. Think Fun Math Dice Games:
They have 3 great dice games for different ages and numbers of people.
14. Travel Games:
Travel games are not only great when traveling via car, plane, or train, but are also super helpful when you’re somewhere you might be waiting awhile. These are perfect while waiting at the doctor’s office, a busy restaurant, or at any events that are more suited for adults than kids (meaning the kids are bored, lol).
Magnetic travel games including chess, checkers, & Tanagram are nice since it’s easier to keep track of the pieces, and a travel scavenger hunt card game or road trip Bingo set can make time in the car go by much faster!
ARTS/CRAFTS/SCIENCE SETS FOR KIDS
15. Paper Crafts:
Oragami, paper airplanes, robots, dragons, wearables, and more!
16. Make Your Own Book or Comic:
Blank comic and story books are wonderful for kids to express their creativity and come in soft or hardcovers, and several different sizes. Little J had a lot of fun making his own Ninjago comic in this one.
But if you want a more professional comic book, hardcover or softcover book, there also a few services where you can send in the book for them to “publish” it and send it back to you. Little J’s class is currently in the process of doing this, and they’re really enjoying coming up with the story together!
17. Art Supplies:
Drawing or sketching pad, construction paper, tracing pad, marker, crayons, colored pencils or a paint set will always be great choices. Or something a little different could also be fun, like a Zentangle book or window crayons!
18. Craft Kits for Kids:
Somehow there is a craft kit for just about everything these days! I look for ones that they’ll end up with something useful, like a blanket, pencil case, water bottle, art for their room, or stepping stone for the garden (fun for a family project).
19. Etch-A-Sketch or Lite-Brite:
These are such classics, I HAD to include them! (Yes, I guess I am that old!) As a warning though, the Lite-Brite has been revamped and is not exactly the same as it used to be, but it still gets pretty great reviews overall.
20. Science Set:
Let your child grow their own crystal, break open geodes, do some mind-blowing science experiments, make a solar system set, and more!
21. Snap Circuit Set:
There are so many different types of these that they have literally hundreds of projects kids can do with them, AND they can all be connected together! I recommend starting out with the Snap Circuits Jr. kit.
While they can be expensive, Little J has played with them for about 3 years and still finds new ways to play with them!
TICKETS TO AN EVENT OR EXPERIENCE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
If the event doesn’t have tickets you can print, Canva has several free ticket templates ready for you to customize and print at home on cardstock. So easy and cute!
23. Play or Musical
24. Magic Show
25. Ice Skating Performance
27. Museum or Aquarium
28. The Movies
30. Nature Conservatory
31. Train Ride
And don’t forget things for outdoor games and activities, like sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, frisbees, and more! What has been a hit in your child’s Easter basket over the years?