Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eco-Friendly Easter Baskets

Easter is so close to Earth Day this year so I figured that there is no better way to celebrate the two than to combine the elements. There are so many great eco-friendly, organic, and / or natural things to put in your child's Easter basket this year! This is not your usual Easter basket with non-recyclable plastic eggs made in China, fake plastic Easter grass, and sugary candy full of preservatives! Take a look at these great additions to put in your baskets this year and I am sure you will agree these will be eggstra special and one of a kind :)

A Tisket A Tasket A Green and Yellow Basket:

01. Reuse containers you have lying around the house. The traditional Easter basket doesn't have to be a basket at all. You can use anything. Use your imagination! Be creative! Here are some ideas: a pot for a plant, a galvanized bucket, a plastic cool whip container, a wooden crate, a lunch pail, a baby bathtub, a tote bag, a child sized laundry basket, an upside down hat, a shoe-box, a oatmeal container, etc.
02.  Use baskets that can be re-purposed after Easter. If you don't have any you can purchase them at thrift stores, antique shops, craft stores or boutiques.
03.  Make your own basket. You can use woven paper, braided cloth, felt, or you can have your children help to make their own out of recycled containers. Here are a few tutorials I have found: Twig & Thistle downloadable paper basket, Pink Penguin fabric basket, Maya*Made felt basket, Moda Bake Shop fabric basket.
04. Buy a beautiful handmade, handwoven basket. Whether it is a Fair Trade Basket or Amish Basket or something else similar. These baskets are gorgeous and one of a kind! Bolga Baskets, Blessing Baskets, these are just a few of the gorgeous Fair Trade baskets out there. A Toy Garden, one of a handful of wonderful Waldorf / Montessori stores I love, has Bolga Baskets for a wonderful price! Amish made things tend to be made to last and have high quality workmanship. You can also search on Etsy or other website for handmade items.

And The Green Grass Grew All Around and Around:

01. Take a green (or other spring colored) hand dyed silk that is dyed with non-toxic dye to tuck in your basket under everything. These can be reused as play silks for your child's pretend play after Easter is over. A small soft blanket or beach towel can also be used as a great liner for Easter baskets.
02. Shred magazines, newspaper, tissue paper, construction paper, or junk mail into strips or confetti (try to avoid shredding receipts as many contain harmful plasticizers called phthalates). Recycle or reuse as packing material. Shredded Plantable Seed Paper is great too because not only is it great for the environment and wonderful for your garden! Green Field Paper Company even makes this plantable seed paper already shredded!
03. Take a green pompom or yarn and cut it into grass cuttings or just unwind a skein of yarn in your choice of color to make a nest in the bottom of the basket.
04. Use left over Christmas tinsel or tinsel garlands (reuse it again and again).
05. Dye cotton balls with a mixture of water and green food coloring sprayed on and dried. Then arrange them in the bottom of your basket(s) for fluffy grassy hills.
06. Use ribbons or disassembled gift bows as Easter grass.
07. Take old jeans or other used fabric or cloth that are no longer wanted and cut or tear into strips.
08. Buy raffia that you can later re-use around the house.
09. Use the offerings of Mother Nature - pine needles, leaves, fresh greens, straw, nontoxic moss, or grow your own wheatgrass. All these organic things can be composted later.
10. Buy Edible Easter Grass. Basically a sugar-free candy "grass" that looks like paper grass and comes in apple, lemon and strawberry flavors.

Great Gifts:
Here are some alternatives to plastic toys and trinkets that may be contaminated with lead or made with PVC, BPA, or phthalates. You can even make up a themed basket for your youngster if you'd like to.

01. Art Supplies: Non toxic and all-natural modeling clay or dough, colored pencils, natural beeswax/soy crayons, paint, sketchbooks, etc. You can find these supplies at Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay, Glob Natural Paints, Mighty Nest, Clementine Art, Stubby Pencil Studio, PKolino, among other places. Fill a compartmentalized container or tool box with these items instead of a basket.
02. Seeds and Gardening Supplies: Inspire young gardeners with their own seeds to plant. Place a packet of seeds in your Easter basket or one of these cute Egg Pet Plants from Nyokki! Add child-sized gardening tools and gloves in a gardening tote or planter.
03. Bath and Beauty: Lavender-filled organic cotton eye pillow or all-natural effervescent bath balls, etc.
04. Toys and Make Believe: Choose to buy eco-friendly toys made of wood or organic and natural materials. Here is a list of a few good indoor choices: puzzles, train or vehicle sets, blocks or building sets, board/card games, wooden yo-yo, and organic/natural stuffed animals/dolls. Here is a list of a few good outdoor choices: bubbles (homemade bubbles are easy to make), swim toys/gear, sidewalk chalk, BPA free Frisbee, and jump rope with wooden handles.
05. Make your own gifts. Handmade and homemade items that have come from a family member or good friend are always cherished far more than ordinary store bought ones in my house. (examples could be: cards, artwork, music CD's or a CD of you reading your child's favorite books, poetry, etc.)

The Incredible Edible Egg and Other Tantalizing Treats:

01. Make hard boiled (free range organic) eggs and color them with natural dyes or paints or decorate them in many other ways. Fridge them until you are ready to eat them.
02. Buy Fair Trade-certified organic chocolate.
03. Buy or make organic all natural treats in bulk to keep your child(ren) healthy and avoid unnecessary packaging (include cookies, muffins, fruit leather, dried fruit, nuts, fruit, and chocolate). Wrap the treats yourself using natural materials: fabric, cheesecloth, ribbon, twine, etc.
04. If you’re vegan or want to re-use the eggs year after year there is a number of fun ways to make your own out of different materials including wood, felt, beads, etc. Take a look at my Egg Decorating Tips and Ideas!

Do you have any Eco-friendly Easter ideas too? Please share them with us!

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