While we’re not a no-sugar household, we don’t do much candy. So, as I slowly accumulate some items for a certain two year old’s Easter basket (in order to avoid an aimless and mad rush to CVS on Holy Saturday), I’ve been looking for creative ideas that are beautiful or inject some catechesis into a basket celebrating our greatest of liturgical feasts. Don’t worry, there will be some Jelly Belly Beans in the mix, too, if only to satisfy my own buttered popcorn-flavored craving! Plus, I picked up some classic German and Belgian Easter chocolates, Matt found some fun, child-friendly snacks from the local Asian market, and we even collaborated on a block of cheese in the shape of a zebra from the infamous Jungle Jim’s (it is as awesome as it sounds).
Here are some of my non-edible favorites, which either made an appearance last Easter or will be this coming Easter for our 2 year old:
- Maite Roche’s My First Pictures of Easter board book - We bought this book last year, and have been reading it during this Lent, since it covers Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, betrayal, and crucifixion in a very simple style and type of language, without watering the story down too much (unlike many of the baby and toddler Bible adaptations one is likely to encounter). I am a big fan of Roche’s work – it is a joy to experience for parent(s) and child(ten) alike.
- I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom and illustrated by Richard Scarry – This has nothing to do with Jesus’ dying and then rising three days later in victory over our sins, but oh my is it sweet. I have this book memorized from my own childhood, and just know my toddler will also appreciate it. This falls into the solidly beautiful category.
- Wee Believers’ Easter Faith Mat - This may sound a bit strange, but we are slowly acquiring/making a collection of catechetical placemats for use during Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter (so far, we only have Advent), and then, during ordinary time, we do general educational ones I pick up at a local teacher supply store. While I really like the look and quality of this Easter one, I do wish it wasn’t made in China.
- Wee Believers’ The Story of Easter Magnet Book – $13.99 - Also made in China, this portable scene with movable characters would be good for early childhood catechesis at home or mass.
- Maite Roche’s My First Bedtime Prayers - Yes, I am admittedly a Maite Roche super-fan! This is yet another of her delightful little board books. My toddler already spied it, pulled it down, and requested I read it, but he’ll have to wait until Lent is over, as will I….
- Ikea’s Duktig 14-piece vegetables set – We have a mini-kitchen from the 1970s, made by the iconic Creative Playthings company, which we picked up via Craigslist. Up until recently, it has been stationed in our library, mainly holding cars in the cabinets and stuffed toys in the sink, but I recently moved it into the kitchen and invested in some miniaturized cooking utensils and pans. These will look so cute in the Easter basket, inject a little dose of irony, and our son will enjoy them, no doubt.
I’d love some more inspiration. Got any great ideas?