A Healthier Alternative to Peeps
Posted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador
I was in a big box store recently, looking at the massive selection of Easter candy. The sea of plastic bags and eggs filled with sweets made almost entirely from ingredients I couldn’t pronounce made my stomach turn. My kids don’t handle sugar very well, so I keep the sugary treats in their Easter baskets to a minimum. I try to create baskets that are sweet and fun, in an inedible kind of way.
In years past, I gave my kids baskets with Easter-themed toys and books. It took me a year or two to realize that the kids didn’t want to color in the Peeps coloring book after Easter, and the carrot-topped jump rope wasn’t exactly high quality. Because we don’t need any extra junk in our house, I started coming up with a theme for the kids’ Easter baskets and found things to fit the theme, which also have some practical value and longevity. One year, I put together a gardening basket – kid-sized gardening tools, gloves, peat pots, and seeds. Another year, I didn’t use a basket at all: I bought the perfect container for storing art supplies and filled it with – you guessed it – art & craft supplies. Another year, I filled beach buckets with sand toys and swimming gear. Here are a few places in Cambridge I recommend visiting to get some cool stuff your kids will like, and that you can feel good about having the Easter Bunny deliver to them:
Artist & Craftsman Supply in Central Square: This place blows my mind. I can’t believe the variety they have. A few of my favorite things at this arts and crafts supply store are: Blank puzzles, bare books, clay, and a whole bag of scrap shapes from a wood mill in Maine. You can also get big bags of pom poms. I have used pom poms in various sizes and colors, along with other small art supplies, as an alternative to candy inside the eggs for our family Easter egg hunt.
Henry Bear’s Park in Porter Square has an incredible assortment of games, many that are just the right size for baskets – think Bananagrams or card games like Uno. They also have a good-sized section of teeny-tiny toys.
The gift shop at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH): A couple of weeks ago, I went to HMNH by myself. That’s right, sans kids. For the first time, I was able to really look in the gift shop. I was amazed. They have some really terrific, unique, and reasonably-priced gifts. Easter baskets were on my mind, and I couldn’t believe how many fun and educational items they had that were the perfect size for basket-stuffing. On the grown-ups’ side of the shop, there was a nifty seed-planting kit – an egg that breaks open and is used as a small pot. If you’re still doing Easter baskets for your older daughter, check out the gorgeous jewelry, too.
MIT Museum store has an abundance of fun science-geek gadgets and gizmos. There are wind-up robots, mind-bending puzzles, clever t-shirts, and other fun, techie and science-y things.