Look around department stores and you’re bound to see expensive, pre-made Easter baskets filled with toys and candy. Some children beg their parents for the most expensive baskets and gifts. If you’re looking for frugal Easter gifts, however, try some of these ideas.

Who says an Easter basket has to be in an actual basket? Find a toy pail or box with a lid which will be usable after the holiday has passed. Using odd containers also makes filling them much more fun.

Chocolate bunnies are almost expected during Easter. You may choose to buy one bunny for each child in your family but there’s no reason you have to purchase a lot of candy to fill a basket. You can also make your own Easter food baskets for children to enjoy, including some of the following:

* Rice cereal treats made with marshmallows. Use colored marshmallows to change the taste. You may also want to dip them partially in chocolate as an added surprise

* Easter cookies in the shape of eggs, chicks, bunnies, or crosses. Decorate the cookies with icing, sprinkles, and candies

* Hard boiled eggs which have been dyed

Rather than putting toys into the basket, why not give the children something educational? When you find inexpensive books your children will enjoy throughout the year, store them in a closet. Then you’ll have them available for other gifts when needed as well.

Many small children enjoy coloring, so coloring books and crayons might be a good choice to place in their Easter basket. These can usually be purchased from discount or dollar stores for around a dollar.

Bubbles are also a good choice for children’s baskets. You can purchase bubbles for little money but you can also make your own with 1 cup dish soap (Dawn or Joy are most often used), 12 cups water, and 3/4 tablespoon glycerin which is available at most pharmacies.

Candles made from eggshells are popular with older children and teens. Poke a pin hole in the small end of an egg and then a larger hole in the larger end. Blow the egg out of the shell, clean it, and then let it dry. Put tape over the pin hole, pour melted wax into the larger hole, and then place a wick into the wax. When the candle has solidified, peel away the egg shell.

Write or find a beautiful poem to let your child know how much you love them. Print it onto springtime scrapbooking paper or use calligraphy to write it out on parchment paper. Place it into a handcrafted frame.

There are many ways you can find or make frugal Easter gifts for your children. It’s not necessary to buy the pre-made baskets which are so expensive if you use a little bit of creativity. You might be surprised to find your children actually prefer home-made baskets instead.