Easter is one of the best times of the year to come together with our loved ones and celebrate. It can also be one of the best times of the year to teach your children a valuable lesson about caring for the lush environment that we hunt for eggs in. This Easter you can model making eco-friendly choices through every step of celebrating.
You can embrace one of the R’s of eco-friendly living by re-using baskets year after year. Wooden baskets are some of the prettiest and can often be bought at local thrift stores. Other items can also replace the Easter basket such as a reusable tote or sand pail. You could also create a basket with your child out of newspaper, a coffee can, magazines, etc. A fun and sturdy Easter basket can be crafted from many household materials with a little imagination.
Instead of buying the strands of plastic grass to put in the basket, which tend to get everywhere, consider a paper alternative, which can be recycled, or using fabric scraps. You can save money by shredding bright paper already heading for the recycling bin and using it. Some people have even grown real grass inside containers to put Easter goodies on to create living Easter baskets.
No matter how cool the basket is, what people get most excited about are the goodies inside! There are multiple options for eco-friendly toys that can be found online. Look for organic or eco-friendly toys made from sustainable materials. Make a practice with your child of bringing old toys to donate every so often to avoid accumulation.
There are multiple toy brands that focus on creating eco-friendly toys that you can put in the basket. Green Toys make all of their toys out of recycled plastic, mainly milk jugs. This is a great choice for more basic, but colorful toys. If you have an artist on your hands, check out Eco-Kids products. The wife-and-husband team produces all-natural art supplies from playdough to paint! Most importantly, they have a natural egg coloring kit that turns into a grass growing kit that you can display the eggs on for only $10.00. Once Easter is over you can use your eggshells in your compost! If you would like to create your own natural dyes for eggs, you can also use a tutorial found online that incorporates berries and vegetables into the recipes.
Another goodie that works well in Easter baskets is a good book to read together. Pete the Cat is a fan favorite and his Easter focused story is no exception. You can grab Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure by Kimberly and James Dean for a fun surprise to go in the basket. A lot of the students that I have worked with love the Old Lady series and laugh all the way through the crazy antics of the old lady. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick by Lucille Colandro is a fun read to get some giggles out. Once books have been well-loved (and potentially drawn upon) feel free to donate or recycle them. Books can be recycled through curbside recycling or at a convenience center whole with no modification.
If you are going to use plastic eggs, make sure to save them for next year and consider carefully what you put inside. When purchasing candy, look for fair trade chocolate and candy that is packaged in recycled resources. Choose toys or objects that will get used multiple times and not end up in the trash next week. Fun ways to fill up multiple eggs are with jigsaw puzzle pieces that they can put together after, fun jokes written out, or small amounts of money, which might even get the adults hunting for eggs as well.
Finally, after the service is over and the egg hunt is complete, consider doing a quick litter pick-up with your family in the area of the egg hunt. You can even make it a competition with a grand prize for whoever picks up the most. This holiday allows you to spend valuable moments with your family in nature and discuss being good stewards.
Amy Hartline is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have a recycling question? Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.