Easter egg hunts are fun. Throwing away the fairly useless plastic objects that come in many of the eggs is not fun. Items like bouncy balls, parachute men and plastic jewelry may fit in eggs easily, but kids grow bored with them almost immediately. They're a waste of money and resources and they ultimately find their way to landfills.
Instead of ending up with a lot of trash after your Easter egg treasure hunt this year, consider putting these useful items in the eggs. Kids will love them.
1. Colorful shoe laces: Let kids change out their white shoelaces with solid color or patterned ones that fit easily into eggs.
2. Coins: Always a winner, coins are the easiest egg fillers of all time, and they'll never go to waste. If you want to go a little crazy, add some dollar bills to a few of the eggs.
3. Fun socks: Kids are always in need of socks, so this is a very practical idea. Make the socks colorful, and even make them mismatch. Little kids love to mismatch their socks.
4. Garden seeds: You can put packets of seeds, seed paper or seed bombs into the eggs. Make sure you identify the seeds somehow so they get planted properly.
5. Hair ties or clips: If your egg hunters are all girls, these might go over well.
6. Crochet finger puppets: Crocheting is hip at the moment so it should be easy to find small finger puppets to put in Easter eggs. Check out a local spring craft fair or look online — particularly on Etsy — for handmade puppets that will delight children.
7. Puzzle pieces: This one works only if all the kids participating in the hunt live in the same household. Purchase a puzzle with around 25 pieces and tuck in one piece per egg. After the day's activities are done, kids can take all the pieces and do the puzzle.
8. Crunchy snacks: Cheese crackers, pretzels and popcorn are inexpensive fillers. And, while they're an edible treat, they're low in sugar.
9. Wooden magnet letters: Purchase a set of wooden magnet letters — make sure they're small enough to fit in the eggs — and put one to an egg.
10. Building pieces: If the kids at the hunt are avid Lego or Knex builders, fill eggs with pieces to add to their building sets.
11. Sidewalk chalk: Find chalk in shapes that can fit in an egg, including egg-shaped chalk.
12. Crayons: Like sidewalk chalk, you'll need to search for crayons that will fit in the the egg, but they're out there.
13. Movie ticket: For older kids, this would be a real treasure. Purchase gift cards for the amount it costs to go to a movie, and then put notes in the eggs that can be traded for the gift cards.
14. Small bath bombs: For kids who love to splash in the tub, bath bombs are fun.
15. Good chocolate: While you may not want your entire hunt to be all about candy, a few well-made pieces of chocolate hidden in the eggs are a treat.
One last idea: If you don't have eggs that you're reusing from previous years, look into plant-based plastic eggs that are compostable at the end of their life.