baby proof: simple gifts for springtime.

April 9, 2019
simple springtime gifts | reading my tea leaves

I get more questions than I can ever field in a reasonable amount of time about kids and gifts and what to do about them. After nearly five years at this now, I’m getting the hang of things.

Here are a few of my personal truisms:

+ Kids are magpies. They love tiny stuff. And shiny stuff. Doesn’t matter if they have to wrest it from a puddle of dog pee, if they find it on the sidewalk, chances are they want to take it home and squirrel it away. Treasure! This is often very sweet and sometimes very gross.

+ The goalposts are constantly moving. Starting school, attending more birthday parties, going to other peoples’ homes for playdates, it all has the capacity to alter our kids’ perceptions and even desires regarding…stuff. I think parents can lay the groundwork and set limits based on family values, but only time will tell how this might eventually manifest in our kids as they grow. We all navigate through a world where we confront other people’s choices and values and ultimately we need to decide for ourselves what we cherish or appreciate or want to spend our money on.

+ There are no rules saying you have to do anything that anyone else does regarding kids and toys (including, notably, what I do.) We each have our own threshold for this stuff: our own family customs, our own budgets, our own likes and dislikes, our own space constraints, our own gift-loving grandparents (or not). Goes without saying, I’m only ever sharing how I’ve chosen to navigate this stuff myself.

simple springtime gifts | reading my tea leaves


Our family celebrates Easter and as part of our tradition, we offer a small basket of springtime gifts to the children. Predictably, I like to give small gifts that will be used (or used up) and, with any luck, enjoyed. I also do my best to seek out gifts that have a benign impact on people and the planet, so far as I can tell.

This year, both kids will receive the same things in their homemade baskets: A packet of seeds, a tiny doll dress, a pair of ruffly knee-socks, a wee fairy (and accompanying homemade fairy bed), and a few pieces of sidewalk chalk.

In case you’re hunting for simple gifts for your own brood, here are some of my personal favorites. They come in a range of price points from virtually free to a few precious items that are considerably more of a splurge. (Put another way: Some require a few materials and a little time to make yourself, others require resources of the monetary variety.)

simple springtime gifts | reading my tea leaves

+ Rose Princess Fairies for loving.

+ Homemade fairy beds for sleeping (made from cardboard boxes, scrap fabric, and wool batting).

+ Sidewalk Chalk for neighborhood decorating. (Found locally at Salter House).

+ Doll clothes for dress-up. (Found locally at Salter House).

+ Stickers for entertainment on train rides. (Ours were made by the one and only Rose Pearlman).

+ Seeds for planting. (See also!)

+ Ruffly knee-socks for feeling fancy.

simple springtime gifts | reading my tea leaves

+ Temporary Tattoos for personal adornment.

+ Dice for counting games. (Our sparkly dice found locally at Top Hat.)

+ Homemade play dough for sculpting into bunnies.

+ Mini springtime cookie cutters. (Ours are ancient, but these ones look like they’d be similar.)

+ Bubbles (plus a homemade wand) for magic-making.

+ Sparkly bandaids for inevitable springtime scrapes.

+ Parsnip Pajamas or shorty rosy ones for spring sleeps.

simple springtime gifts | reading my tea leaves

What about you guys? Favorite simple gifts to give this time of year?

If you haven’t seen it already, here’s my list of 25 Simple Gifts Under $25, for Kids.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply Viviane April 9, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you for your lovely springtime post. I’m in Canada. Yesterday, there was still close to 20 inches of snow in my yard. Today, another snow storm of about 6 inches. Just looking at your seed packet warms my heart. A happy spring to you.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 8:37 am

      To you, too!

      • Reply Lucy April 11, 2019 at 2:39 pm

        About those seeds – will you be planting them in pots in your apartment? If so I hope you write about it. My three year old is big into gardening this spring so we’re exploring apartment gardening together, but I feel very unqualified to lead us as I’ve never been a green thumb. I’m hoping there’s still time to change that!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 11, 2019 at 5:38 pm

          We don’t really have enough sun to plant these here—so these have to go to Grammy’s. We’re doing micro greens inside this year though! More soon!

  • Reply MissEm April 9, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    We overdid the candy this year – chocolate bunnies and little chocolate robins eggs, natural dye jelly beans, natural dye bubble gum (there’s been a lot of awe around knowing how to blow a bubble lately), and my husband insists on Peeps (haha, gross) for nostalgia’s sake (also he inexplicably likes them and I like him, so). I’m adding in a spring book, little knit doll hats (made from the ankles of cute blue and white striped socks that got too holey for repair, and tied off with bright embroidery thread at the top), tiny fuzzy chicks for doll play, and some jars of homemade slime. We also love to include a tiny tulip bouquet.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 9, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Love all of this (candy included, tho agree on those peeps)!

    • Reply Rachel April 10, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      We have three small children, and three small buckets. We use them at Easter and Halloween and countless summer days in between to haul sticks, stones, chalk, etc. We buy one chocolate specialty item for each Easter bucket and a small LEGO set. I stop there. Easter is magical for so many reasons, I want their buckets to compliment the holiday, not distract from it.

  • Reply Egle April 9, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Everything is beautiful but the contents of this basket literally equate to hundreds of dollars. Hardly simple?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 9, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      This a collection of ideas and a jumping off point, not a suggestion that everything on this list go into one basket. For my kids, the total cost would be about $60–no small sum, a special gift for a special holiday, surely not in everyone’s budget, but far from literally hundreds.

      • Reply Tina April 10, 2019 at 9:53 am

        I also initially misread as I only saw the long list not what you mentioned having chosen for your kids above 😉
        I still think $60 sounds a lot, I will have to keep closer tabs on how much I actually spend…

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 9:58 am

          Yes! As I said in my introduction (which seems, perhaps, like it was too long-winded for folks to read), so much of this is personal and dependent on resources of both time and money. There are lots of things on the list that are free, others that cost only a few dollars, and still others that are quite precious. Suggestions and inspiration but by no means a prescription of what anyone else need do!

  • Reply Trish O April 9, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Sweet Easter basket. When the boys were little, I always put a new pair of googles in the Easter basket. Now they are teens, and I just give them a little bit of candy and some new mechanical pencils to get us to the end of the school year.

  • Reply Juliette S Rousseau April 9, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    OH the doll clothes!!!! I love them all with their little bonnets!

  • Reply Nicky April 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    We make cascarones (confetti eggs) for our kids for Easter. They’re cost efficient to make and are SO much fun! Added bonus is passing down some cultural traditions.
    I found this tutorial for them online for anyone who’s curious:
    The only difference is my family uses bird seeds instead of confetti to create less litter. (We also pick up the tissue paper when we’re done.)

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 9, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      So great!

  • Reply Tamara April 10, 2019 at 12:11 am

    My kids are too old for easter baskets now, but this is making me oh so nostalgic for when I put together very similar baskets not so many years ago. <3

  • Reply Sarah April 10, 2019 at 6:12 am

    We always had a small basket of chocolate, and then a scavenger hunt with clues around the house to find one gift. It was usually an active toy like a tennis racket, jump rope, etc. The scavenger hunt was always my favorite part of Easter as a child and I plan on continuing the tradition.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Ah, terrific! Love those active toys!

  • Reply Sarah April 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    This might be a silly question, but what are the Bandaid-looking items in the third image? I ask as someone who has a daughter who seems prone to scrape knees outside and enjoys the pop of color.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      They are bandaids! On the list!

  • Reply Annaleah April 10, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Our family really tries to limit the amount of non-consumables we bring in, especially since we have lots of relatives around that love to give gifts (and some of my kids are old enough to start buying their own things on occasion). So we just choose a couple of fun candy treats for Easter, although some years they have also received something they needed, like new flip flops for summer. This way they get something fun, and nothing stays around to create more clutter!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      love that!

  • Reply Kirsten April 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    This is the first year we’re putting together an Easter basket, and it’s so fun! I have such good memories of searching around the house for our family’s Easter baskets. The bunny always brought my Dad a new Disney movie (so we wouldn’t fight over it), and somehow also filled my basket with mostly malted milk eggs, which I hated but my Dad loved. Hmmm…..

    My daughter is getting some sidewalk chalk, two books about composting and seed-growing (I prefer to celebrate Earth Day to Easter, really), and a few pieces of felt food I’m making from scraps in my basement. Might throw together a batch of bubbles if I get the time, too.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 10, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      Love the sound of this!

  • Reply Swissrose April 12, 2019 at 3:42 am

    My youngest daughter loved dice. At one point I got her a 20-sided one as a small treasure.
    Another small item that we still have is a prism scope; ours is a wooden one. Dreamy fun!

  • Reply teresa April 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    My kids are 12, 14, and 17 and the baskets (and what is inside) are not that important anymore, but they still look forward to the egg hunt with clues to find their baskets that I started when my oldest was around 4. The clues have increased in difficulty and quantity as they have gotten older, but they are usually centered around inside -family-jokes/trivia (mom’s signature winter article of clothing, the scariest place in the house, Sara’s favorite snack, etc.) This year, my favorite was when they opened the last clue that said “everyone’s favorite place in the house”. They were quiet for a minute, and then they all said “mom’s bed” and raced in and found their baskets. <3

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