Celebrate a "Green" Easter with Kids

Eco-friendly ideas for the spring holiday

green Easter
Celebrate Easter in an eco-friendly way with these green tips. Jeff Baker

Tips and tricks for celebrating a green Easter this year!

Reduce, reuse, recycle and . . . rabbits? Not quite, but Easter is one of those holidays that really lends itself to being celebrated in a "green" way. One of the first celebrations of spring on the calender, Easter brings to mind new life, renewal and an overall sense of a fresh start. And especially when Easter winds up being a warm spring day, you can't help but want to be outside, celebrating and sharing the joy.

So this Easter, embrace the green side of the holiday with some eco-friendly actions that will leave you all with a spring in your step!

Reuse your Easter baskets... Sure, every year the store shelves are lined with adorable Easter baskets, but unless this is your child's first Easter, you probably have some perfectly good baskets at home with the Easter decorations. If you have more than one child, swap baskets each year. If you must buy a new basket this year, purchase on that is built to last that you can re-use every holiday.

...and plastic eggs Same goes for plastic Easter eggs. Unless they break or crack, there is no need to by new eggs every year, just wash them out and reuse them again the next Easter. Even better, take your green efforts a step further and ditch the plastic altogether with felted Easter eggs. For specific directions, click here.

Cut back on excess packaging. Every year the Easter Bunny would make Easter baskets for my kids, bursting with goodies and candies and toys.

And when the baskets were stuffed to capacity, he'd wrap them all up in clear plastic. These days, the Easter Bunny is a little more earth-friendly when he packs the baskets that come to our house. No more pre-packaged baskets or extra wrappings. Instead, we use the same baskets from last year with no frills -- just treats.

(The kids still love them all the same.)

Don't buy Easter grass for the baskets. Just fill the baskets with no grass or re-use shredded paper cuttings from newspapers, your home or office.

Make your own dyes when it's time to color Easter eggs. Making your own Easter egg dyes doesn't have to be, nor is it, a complicated proposition. A good rule of thumb is, if the ingredient will stain your hands or your clothes (or your carpets and couches, so be careful!), it will color eggs. There are plenty of ready-made ingredients right in your local grocery store that will turn out beautiful colors, including turmeric, beets, spinach, cabbage, blueberries, grape juice or tea.
     The process is relatively simple, for example, to get a blue hue, boil red cabbage leaves in water with a tablespoon of vinegar. For more complete directions and instructions for other colors, click here. Remember, when using a homemade Easter egg dye, let them sit in the water for a longer period than you would store-bought.

If making dye isn't your thing, use food-grade. There are plenty of good all-natural, food-grade dyes available in either the health-food section of the grocery store or in any health food or natural food store.

They will be slightly more expensive, but the colors that come from them are gorgeous.

Choose treats wisely. When the Easter Bunny starts filling those baskets up, tell him to use organic or fair trade chocolate. If you need more than a chocolate bunny as an Easter sweet for your sweets, consider treats that are vegan, organic, fair trade or gluten free (or all of those options). Even better, ditch the candy and tell Peter Cottontail to bring things like raisins or dried fruit.

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