Hold the chocolate!
I swear I saw a Creme Egg on sale at our local garage on New Year’s Day. Although I love chocolate as much as the next person, I hate how there is so much of it in my face every time I walk through a shop door. It creates a desire that wasn’t there to begin with, and when you have kids in tow, the compulsion to stuff themselves with sugar is a never-ending battle.
Which is why, every Easter, alongside a small token from the Easter Bunny, my kids look forward to a different kind of gift – one which they’ll have fun with for much longer than it takes to eat a chocolate egg. Often it’s something they didn’t get for Christmas, but really wanted, or it might be a handful of smaller things that will keep them occupied over the school holiday.
This year we were send a variety of things to review, and these are some of my top picks for alternative Easter gifts for kids.
Alternative Easter gifts for kids
A new board game
We’re huge fans of board games in our house, and when bickering and boredom sets in, we can usually guarantee a good hour or so of old-fashioned fun if we pull out the Monopoly, or have a quick game of Outburst. But it’s always good to find new inspiration, and Destination London is the perfect game to keep the whole family amused over the Bank Holiday weekend. For 2-6 players aged 8+ (although if they can read they will get it), the objective is to race through the streets of London in your own mini-cab. On your way to the finish line, you must visit famous destinations in the capital, collecting taxi fares – if you have the most money at the end of the shift, you win! We loved the different fines and boosts – similar to Monopoly features – and it’s a great way to flag up the sights of London to the kids.
Destination London retails at £24.99 from www.destinationboardgames.com.
A New Backpack
Yes, it’s a backpack, but what a backpack! With a moulded outer, it holds its shape well as a football, and is just that little bit different from all the rest on the playground. As a big fan of his footie, the Bug was really pleased to get this. I was pleased that it has proper sections inside to hold all the things he needs for school – no more soggy homework languising at the bottom of his bag with his broken snack bar. Apparently it’s so cool that Victoria Beckham stole her son’s bag for herself!
The football backpack is £24.99 from Sportpax.
My children will disappear for hours with a new book, and now that GG is 10, I’m delighted that she’s reading more complex storylines, and enjoying the themes. I’m looking forward to hearing what she thinks of Five Things They Never Told Me, by Rebecca Westcott. From the jacket blurb, I’m imagining the development of an unlikely friendship between a young girl, and an old lady in a care home – I can imagine right now some of the fascinating themes that might come out of exploring that relationship, and I think my daughter will fall in love with it straight away. Penguin Children’s Books also have a new, abridged version of Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl – which I think she is ready for now. “Sensitively edited [and] ideal for younger children who want to read Anne’s diary for themselves but are too young to appreciate the teenage issues that Anne faces during her time in hiding.” I think it will be perfect to take her young reading to the next level, and I will enjoy talking with her about the issues she discovers.
I can’t wait for her to be old enough to start reading teen fiction either. What If, by Rebecca Donovan, sounds like the kind of intriguing read I’d love. “What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time.” Of course, by the time she can handle that sort of story, she and her teenaged attitude probably won’t be speaking to me, but I live in hope of ‘book-club’ style discussions with my daughter, that will give me more understanding of who she is becoming. And for younger children, I love the retro appeal of the new Peanuts books, and Best of Friends sounds like such a lovely story of friendship for young ones to consider.
You can find these, and more great children’s books, on the Penguin website.
An easy crafts book
If your children are creative they will love Red Ted Art. Using recycled materials and bits and bobs collected when out and about, Maggy Woodley gives you over 60 utterly irresistible things to make with your kids. From adorable peanut shell finger puppets to walnut babies, loo roll marionettes and egg carton fairy lights, fabric mache bowls, stick men and shell crabs, stone people, and many more, these are projects for all the family to have fun with. You can find Maggy’s website, and her book here, and while you’re there, check out some of her adorable Easter crafts.
Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids is available as a hard cover copy, or Kindle copy from Amazon.
A Cool Water Bottle
Is it just me, or do water bottles go to school every day, only to disappear into a black hole? We seem to constantly be in need of a new water bottle, so adding one to the Easter stash seems like a practical, as well as fun idea. These Camelbak bottles have several cool new designs, plus they’re spill-proof, dishwasher-safe, and BPA-free. I’m guessing my two will not want to lose these, so I also have a hope of them coming home regularly!
You can get Camelbak water bottles from John Lewis and Black’s Outdoor stores for £14.99.
HEXBUG ‘Stocking Fillers’
I like for the children to have something larger, a small amount of chocolate, and then a couple of little treats for fun, and HEXBUG are perfect. They’d also make for a great alternative Easter Egg hunt. I thought the HEXBUG nano Easter Egg was especially cute; each one is packaged in a little Easter egg and comes fully decked out with a pair of mini removable bunny ears. But what I picked for my two this year were the Aquabots. Apparently they have ‘smart fish technology’ – I know! Just drop them into the water and their high-tech sensors will activate them to start swimming. So no more of those wind-up bath toys. These even have LED lights inside them so you can see them in the dark. Bathtime is about to get way more fun!