Spring Baskets, Simplified.

All this talk of simplification had me in a mini-pickle about our spring baskets. What to do? We normally keep it pretty simple, but even "pretty simple" seems a bit obscene to me right now.

Really. How many sweet little knitted/felted/wooden do-dads do my people need these days (or even want)? Very few. Just last night in bed they were discussing how the most precious things from their Christmas stockings were new wool socks for Sage and new undies for Lupine. They had pretty much forgotten about the rest.




How do we normally celebrate spring? In past years the kids have each received a basket containing a couple of simple toys (wooden figurines, knitted animals, small games, modeling wax, etc.), some chocolates, some organic jelly beans, and other accouterments. We also do an egg hunt with both dyed eggs and treat eggs.

That feels so big to me right now with the simplification journey we are on and the realization that they thrive with less stuff – not more. So we're pulling back. I've decided to ease gently into a more simplistic approach beginning this season. This year the gifts and treats will be more modest but we'll still have plenty of magic. The trend of less will continue through our future celebrations.

Simple Spring Basket Ideas

My goal this year for my family is to have baskets without extra "stuff" that we have to figure out what to do with after the holiday. We have more than enough playthings, but maybe something fun/practical will be included. Some suggestions for sweet and simple spring baskets are below. It is a long list and I'm not proposing anyone do it all. But I suspect there is something on that list for everyone. Simple, natural, – often handmade and always magical – celebration ideas.

Easter "Grass" – Follow Lupine's lead in the photo above and use an existing (or gift a new) playsilk. We dip into our silk basket each year and decorate our baskets, adding plenty of ribbons and trims. (This buys us time while the easter bunny places eggs around our yard.)

Homemade Tea Bags – We love tea. It is a part of our everyday and the kids have their own favorites. I decided that some homemade tea bags would be more magical than store-bought and would pack a bigger "wow" punch in their spring baskets.

Making the Teabags: I cut some unbleached cotton muslin into squares, zig-zagged three sides (I used pastel rainbow thread), added a few pinches of loose herbal tea, and stitched the top shut with a piece of ribbon peeking out. I'll add a little felt tab to the ribbon soon.

To keep from having bits of muslin in your tea, do as I say and not as I do: cut with straight shears rather than pinking. As a side bonus, yours will look less like ravioli and more like tea bags. Muslin is compostable, so if your ribbon is wool or cotton the whole thing can end up in the garden after tea time. 




Candle – A simple beeswax candle can be so special for a child. Placed in a glass cup it can brighten your dinner table or bedtime and be a good place to share wishes before sleep. Having your own candle feels very grown up.

Play-dough – Make a single batch, divide, and dye several spring-y colors. Scent with essential oils if you are inspired. Package in little wax bags.

Practical Gifts – What do your little ones "need" this season that they would also love? Something you might make or purchase anyway. A kitchen apron? A new sunhat? A fancy headband? A shopping bag for helping out with groceries? Sew something up! That's my plan. I have a boy's hat cut out and ready to sew (below) and a girlie headband in the works.


Seeds – Every year we include seeds. My favorite spring basket addition! (That would explain our garden last summer. Ahem.)

Non-Sugar Treats – Yes, honey is sugar. Yes, fruit is sugar. By non-sugar I mean non refined (white or otherwise) sugar. We are on the GAPS diet so there will be no chocolate bunnies or jelly beans this year. But there will be other special treats and sweets. Some refined sugar-free ideas include: honey sticks, honeyed nuts, un-sugared dried mango, date balls, tiny cut out cookies (gluten-free or otherwise), roasted nuts, and homemade coconut macaroons. Just a bit of sweets, but enough to feel like a very special day.

Book – Each child will be receiving a special spring book this year. Favorite spring books around here include The Story of the Root Children, When the Root Children Wake Up, Children of the Forest, The Tale of Tiptoes Lightly, and Spring (by Gerda Muller).


Nature Table Items: A wool bunny, some felted robin's eggs, a fabric daffodil, a spring pipecleaner fairy, or a little woolen lamb can all be tucked away on the nature table after the holiday.

What about the plastic eggs, you ask? Yesterday I shared our wool felt egg turorial, and next week I will share our method for making fillable/reusable paper mache eggs with you (see below). No more plastic! Woo hoo!


And what to put into said eggs of any description? Here are some suggestions to get thinking beyond the jelly bean bag:

  • Crystals
  • Sea shells
  • tiny treats (dried blueberries, sour cherries, homemade fruit leather cut into flower shapes, and roasted nuts will be in ours this year. But in years past we'd tuck in a single chocolate chip and the kids would go wild. They are easy to please.)
  • Beads
  •  Poem: Transfer a spring poem (original or borrowed from a book) onto a rainbow watercolor painting. Cut into strips. Roll up the little scrolls and hide in eggs. Then put the poem together as a family later in the morning.
  • Wooden peg people
  • Magical notes or simple drawings: bunnies, flowers, etc.
  • Tiny packets of seeds: open a flower or vegetable seed packet, select out a few, and make a tiny folded paper envelope out of parchment paper. Insert a simple pencil drawing of the plant: a flower, a tomato, etc.

Choose an item (or two… or six) from the list above. Then keep it simple and keep it fun. So much of what we create for a children is about the experience – the joy of the moment and the magic of it all. It is not about the stuff in their basket at the end of the day or the sugar buzz they rode along the way.

Take it easy, and have fun – together. Happy, magical, simple spring to you!

38 thoughts on “Spring Baskets, Simplified.

  1. Melissa says:

    i started reading your post thinking about how I overdue my kids baskets, but after reading your suggestions I realized a lot them we do already. I do however buy them each one big dark chocolate bunny from the locally owned and handmade chocolate shop, and yummy earth suckers, but that is it for candy.

  2. Pamela R says:

    Simple living leads to further simplification…and lots of creativity. The tea bags and such are perfect. I even got my kiddos a brand new pair of fancy unders one year, even new Springy shoes or pajamas go over well. They couldn’t be more happy with something just for them, it doesn’t really matter how fancy. And, for our family, it’s all about the hunt…maps, hidden clues, etc. We haven’t hidden eggs for a couple of years (having the plastic egg issue), but there is always an elaborate hunt to the baskets. And, at the end of the celebration, is a big feast that all have helped to prepare.

  3. Nahuatlv says:

    Sounds great, I can of feel the desire to take some of those beautiful activities to do them with my child, although, here is not traditional to give kids anything at all for spring or Easter.

  4. Danielle Grabiel says:

    Granted I grew up in Southern California, but I always got a new swimsuit in my Easter basket. Our girls’ clothes are pretty much all hand-me-downs, but I might be pulling out the new-to-us swimsuits, sandals and sunhats for their spring baskets. Definitely practical, but also very fun!

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    I wish I had kept our bigger second-hand swim suits a secret! This would be a perfect addition. Were working on sunhats and bonnets for this year I think.

  6. Rachel Wolf says:

    Less is certainly more for kids. To be clear we wont add all the items on my list. Ill just pick a few small things this year. All told our baskets will contain a few small treats (in eggs or not), a sunhat, bonnet or headband, homemade tea bags, and a packet of seeds. The local chocolate sounds dreamy :-). Happy spring!


  7. Anna says:

    Thank you for the inspiration. I was just thinking about Spring and Easter, and these are such wonderful ideas for keeping it simple and magical. Especially the seeds! My toddler picked out the varieties of carrots he wants to plant this year, and this will be a lovely way to present them to him.

  8. Karlamcurry.wordpress.com says:

    Sounds kind of like how we’ve simplified Christmas, only giving kiddos small gifts in the stockings, and focusing on giving to charity.

    I love all your ideas and will definitely bookmark them! I’m a big fan of gifting something that I had planned on buying anyway – like a book. My daughter has become a big fan of the Olivia books, so I got her one of them.

    I love to craft, though find it hard to stay focused if I have too many projects going on. I just finished knitting a scarf for my mom, so haven’t been feeling too much like making bunnies or eggs or the like. 😛

    Just today I read this idea for starting seedlings in egg cartons – after which you can cut apart each section and plant the whole thing in the ground. If you decorate the egg carton, it could make for a cute Easter presentation along with some seeds (even better if you put some starter plants directly in it).

    I have been dying to try some of the playdough recipes out there, but find my 3-year-old still loves to break it into tiny bits, which get smooshed into everthing. *sigh* Then of course my 1-year-old puts up a fuss when I don’t let him play with it.

  9. Marlo says:

    I despise plastic Easter grass, so last year I just shredded construction paper. We have enough half colored on pieces to shred and then we can recycle. Love these ideas.

  10. Rachel Wolf says:

    Me, too! After you shared her website with me I have been obsessed with her recipes. I have made the apricot-orange scones almost daily for a week (modified a bit) and I had picked out this recipe for our cookies! Thanks so much for sharing, Sara!

    ~ Rachel

  11. kari b. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of these ideas!! I have been scouring the internet looking for ideas for our first spring celebration with my son, only to be let down and left feeling very un-creative, blah… But these are awesome and I’m excited to get started making a few tiny things!

  12. ingie says:

    love all these ideas! i’ve also been simplifying our lives…..i think a clean diet really helps. we’ve gone primal and feel better than ever! thanks for sharing

  13. Holli (B's Mom) says:

    I love these ideas. Especially the tea. I’m a huge fan of tea. I have a questions, at the risk of sounding stupid, do you give your kids some kind of caffeine free tea? If so what’s their favorite?

  14. denise says:

    Great ideas! We are there…my boys are getting older, and honestly most things I would add into a basket they are not that into anymore. And they don’t like hard boiled eggs. So it usually ends up home-made sidewalk chalk/paint, nature notebooks, backpack portable magnifying glasses for nature walks, good pencils, honey sticks… But that is not filling a whole basket! A woman I know is putting butterfly larvae to hatch their own butterflies in the baskets. I might do that – basically stock our summer backpack with stuff for nature walks! 🙂

  15. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Holli,
    There is a local-to-us tea company called Rishi that sells wonderful organic bulk teas. We also love simple dried herbs. Some favorites include: peppermint, chai (my herbal chai recipe is posted on the blog. Search Chai and youll find it), chamomile, and rosehip. For store-bought check the teas sold by Yogi and Organic India. Their favorites are Organic India Red Chai Masala, Rose, Jasmine, Licorice Spice, and Tulsi Original. Just check for caffeine free on the front of the box!

    ~ Rachel

  16. Rachel Wolf says:

    Have you posted your sidewalk chalk recipe? Id love to see it. Weve made some but it was pretty, um, lame. Butterfly larva is an AWESOME idea. The kids want to raise silk worms, so that would be a good option too.


  17. Rachel Wolf says:

    I love the phrase weve gone primal. Im just sayin. 😉
    And yes – a clean diet makes such a difference! Primal and GAPS have a great deal in common.

  18. Tracy Alverson says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I always struggle with Easter baskets but this year I’m really looking forward to making the kids! DD is going to be 3.5 and I’m going to get her a bird whistle (for our bird watching basket) crystals and some gardening toys!

    I love the idea of making tea bags, can I ask what tea your kids like?

  19. lo says:

    Wow. This post is refreshing to read. And you’ve provided such great ideas for those of us committing to paring down. Love the look of those tea bags! And I’m intrigued by the paper mache eggs!

  20. Nina says:

    I loved this post, lots of great ideas. I made fabric bags for my kids, and they each got a packet of seeds (medicinal herbs, even!), crackers, a chocolate treat (dark chocolate for one, chocolate covered almonds for the other), and an “eye spy” bag. We also skipped plastic eggs (never have done them, actually) and even real hardboiled eggs this year, and instead they colored wooden eggs with markers and crayons (paint would have worked too, but we only have washable paint at this point), which we then polished with our homemade lavender-scented beeswax. It was pretty magical 🙂 Anyway, I came back to this post to say that I made a bunch of tea bags (for my bag!), very simply, by cutting a length of tubular stockinette (from my dollmaking supplies), and serging one end shut. The other end, I just pull down over the edge of the cup or pitcher, like a little turtleneck 🙂 They are great because it’s easy to make a few quarts of tea at a time, and when tea’s done, I quickly wash them in the sink with dr. bronner’s (which we use as dish soap) – so easy. I love reading your blog, lots of wonderful thought-provoking stuff!

  21. Rachel Wolf says:

    Love the idea to use stockinette. Though I always seem to run out… What about old/clean baby socks? We seem to find them all about in our house, outgrown years ago… Thanks for sharing your spring celebration with me. Sounds lovely!

    ~ Rachel

  22. Dakota says:

    Oh yes! Love this! We celebrate Easter as the renewal of spring and I try to pick basket items with that in mind. Last year we did seeds and I made him a Totoro stuffie (there’s a free pattern on my blog). I really love the back to nature direction of this… and I’m waiting for that paper mache tutorial… I hate plastic eggs!

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