Recycled Green Easter Basket Gift Ideas for Kids: Homemade Eco-friendly Baskets with Candy, Crafts and Toys

A holiday that celebrates rebirth and spring is the perfect occasion to “go green.” This Easter, instead of buying plastic toys to put on top of plastic baskets filled with plastic grass, make a commitment to embrace recycling and create eco-friendly baskets for the kids. Children of all ages will be excited to receive something that is not only earth friendly, but also more interesting that the average fare.

There are Many Choices for an Ecologically-friendly Easter Basket

Paper baskets are not only green, they are fun for kids and adults to make. Gather scraps of paper, sturdy cardboard and poster board and then find one of the many websites with free templates for design ideas. Paper mache is a wonderful way to shape up a basket. Paper baskets are great because it is easy to hand tailor them to the size needed.

The bottom of a plastic gallon milk container also makes a terrific start for an Easter basket. Other accessories to have on hand to turn these things into functional and beautiful baskets include paper fasteners, paints, glue, scissors, stickers, sequins, glitter, felt and any other available decorative art supplies.

Buying a basket is not a terribly un-green decision, as long as it’s a sturdy one that can be reused for many years. These are not as expensive as they sound. World Market carries a number of free-trade friendly containers of all sizes for reasonable prices. When Easter is over, they can be used to store toys, art supplies, clothing or even fruit.

Filling an Easter Basket with Environmentally-friendly Green Grass

Pass right by the dyed plastic grass in colors not found in nature and go for the real thing. It’s easy to grow grass with some vermiculite (super light soil found in most gardening centers), some rye or wheat seed and some leftover paper eggshell cartons.

Fill the cartons with the soil, sprinkle with the grass seed and mist everything with a spray bottle. Place in a sunny place and mist daily. A good covering of grass will be going strong within two weeks. The cartons are easy to cut and strategically place in the bottom of an Easter basket before filling it with goodies.

Another green way to make Easter grass is to tear up pretty scraps of paper. This is easiest with a paper shredder, but it’s also fun to do with a good pair of scissors. If paper needs to be a certain color, it can be painted or died before shredding. Scraps of material can be used for different textures. Leftover yarn is another green basket covering.

Earth-friendly Gifts for Recycled Easter Baskets

Anything that is homemade or made from recycled parts is good for the planet, so fill the baskets with goodies that are made from other things or that help children embrace earth-friendly habits.

Every Easter basket should have some sweet treats. Cookies and candies made at home are better for children and for the environment. Wrap them in napkins tied with raffia or twine. Make homemade play dough, silly putty, goo and bubbles. Fill it with a gardening kit, sock puppets or books the child will like.

Creating a green Easter basket doesn’t mean that every piece of it must be homemade. But it does mean that the basket-maker should put some real thought into it. Kids live what they learn and teaching them to live consciously, and not completely absorbed by a consumerist society, is part of what being green is all about.

Rankin/Bass The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town: TV Easter Special Review for Parents

While not as tightly plotted or as funny as Rankin and Bass Productions’ previous Animagic stop-motion animation Easter television special (Here Comes Peter Cottontail), their 1977 offering The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town is still full of appealing visuals, interesting characters, and good lessons.

The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town – Plot

The mailman S.D. Kluger from the Rankin and Bass holiday special Santa Claus’ Is Coming to Town returns, this time to explain the origin of certain Easter traditions, such as:

  • Why do we color eggs at Easter?
  • Where did the Easter Bunny come from and why does he hide eggs?
  • Who made the first chocolate bunny and the first stuffed toy…and why?
  • Why does everyone get new clothes at Easter?
  • Why are Easter flowers called Lillies?

Two communities live on either side of Big Rock Mountain: Kidville is a happy place filled with child orphans, while Town is a dreary place full of laws forbidding people to do anything fun. One Easter morning, the Kidville orphans adopt a baby bunny that they name Sunny.

When Sunny grows up and tries to take some decorated eggs out into the world to trade for things Kidville needs, he finds himself in a contest of wills with the Dowager Duchess Lilly Longtooth, who is ruling Town for her 7-year-old nephew King Bruce the Frail. Easter tradition after Easter tradition is invented as Sunny attempts to evade Gadzooks (the grumpy lonely bear who lives on Big Rock Mountain) and outsmart Lilly Longtooth’s laws against anything fun.

Songs include “The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town,” “You Think Nobody Loves You But They Do,” and “In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.” Character voices viewers may recognize include Fred Astaire as Mr. Kluger and Skip Hinnant (a cast member of the original The Electric Company and Schroeder in the original off-Broadway production of the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown) as Sunny.

The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town – TV Easter Special Review for Parents

This children’s animated Easter holiday special contains no real violence or bad language, and only the youngest of children might be scared by Gadzooks. This Easter holiday classic teaches important lessons about helping others who might be lonely or need assistance to be courageous and about liking yourself and standing up for things that are important.

Parents who are not religious may be put off by the reference to everyone in Kidville worshipping the Lord in their own way. Also, many children today may not know what a hobo is and be confused by Hallelujah H. Jones and the hobo gandy dancers.

DVD Extra Features

The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town Deluxe Edition DVD released by Warner Home Video offers as a bonus feature a gallery of (non-Easter-themed) stop-motion animation shorts.

Related Fun Easter Activities for Kids

  • Bake a cake shaped like a mountain. Then have children cover the cake with icing and use small cookies, peppermints, other pieces of candy and fun Easter treats to decorate the cake to look like how they picture Big Rock Candy Mountain. Kids can also pipe icing to make railroad tracks across their candy mountains.
  • Provide kids with craft supplies like pieces of fabric, felt, and colored paper and have them design and make 2-D versions of fancy Easter outfits. Children can also draw a paper doll version of Gadzooks to dress up.
  • Visit the Jelly Belly Web site with children. Watch the Virtual Factory Tour and discuss how jelly beans are made in the real world.
  • Encourage children to think up and write illustrated versions of their own fantasy explanations for Easter traditions, including questions not addressed in this Easter holiday special.
  • Give children hard-boiled Easter eggs, plastic Easter eggs, or foam Easter eggs and help them participate in traditional Easter activities for kids, such as an Easter egg toss or an Easter egg roll.

Related Easter-Themed Book

After hearing the explanations for Easter traditions offered in this animated Easter television special, children may then enjoy reading another set of explanations. Share the picture book The Story of the Easter Bunny by Katherine Tegen [HarperCollinsPublishers, 2005] to read another explanation for where the Easter Bunny comes from and who makes all the chocolate eggs and colored Easter eggs that appear in children’s Easter baskets each year.

Viewers of all ages will enjoy this delightful Easter holiday classic, and it would make a fine addition to any home video library. Lovers of Rankin/Bass Animagic tv specials will also enjoy a review of Here Comes Peter Cottontail.