Ask people what they think of when they hear the word Easter, and they are probably quite quick to reply, "Easter eggs!" This would probably elicit groans from most mothers of children with food allergies. However, some have found a way to
creatively take the focus off food for this holiday.
If you still want to offer a special item to eat and gelatin desserts (home-made or name brand) are suitable for the child's allergy-free diet, Jell-OŽ has molds available close to the holidays. Past Easter products have included jelly bean shaped molds and a mold for full-sized Easter eggs (made out of gelatin, that is!), in which each egg can be made in different colors/flavors. Visit jello.com and look on the main page for available special products. Your local grocery may also carry a mold in the Jell-OŽ section, close to the holiday.
As an alternative (for example, if you've waited until the last minute and it's too late to order a mold -- we forgive you!), you can also make your gelatin thicker than normal (follow the recipe for Jell-OŽ Jigglers on the Jell-OŽ box) and use Easter holiday cookie cutters from your local store.
A mom in WA state lets her children decorate plastic eggs. "We decorate them with stickers, markers and even glue with glitter (this way is really messy, so of course, they love that!). Then we put them out on the table and the Easter Bunny fills them and hides before they get up in the morning. The eggs get filled with safe candy, stickers, little toys, spare change, etc. My kids love it."
Linda H. does something similar with her son. "We buy the plastic eggs and put little toys or money in them. My son has never acted like he's missed anything by not coloring real eggs. He asked about the decorating kits once, but when I explained what they were he wasn't upset that he couldn't do it. Both of my boys REALLY like the eggs with the money in them -- we put one coin in each egg, although the ones with the little toys are OK with them as well. We hide the plastic eggs around the yard and give them an empty basket and they have a great time collecting eggs."
A mom in WA also concentrates on toys rather than candy. "Our Easter baskets are filled more with trinkets than candy. Dollar stores, discount stores, drug stores, [and other] places where you can get a good deal on your stuff" are good places to check out for easy on the pocket toys. "Its not too hard to get accomplished, just pick things up a couple things at a time."
Kristina agrees. "The only idea I could come up with for my kids was to let them decorate plastic eggs with stickers, paper mache, etc. and them I put safe candy or little trinkets in them. This way they can still 'decorate' eggs, and participate in hunting for them also."
If candy and special foods are completely out of the question, fill a childs basket with small toys. For girls, miniatures are always enjoyed and appreciated. One of my favorite Easter presents was when my mom made me some tiny clay eggs for my dollhouse!
Still want to actually paint eggs, even if a child is allergic to them? Don't despair! Wooden eggs can be found in craft stores, and painted with acrylic paints. You can usually find a range of sizes, from around 1" to life-sized. This should be done only by children who are responsible with paints, of course!
Children also love to get stuffed friends for Easter, such as a small version of the Easter bunny or baby chick.
Many thanks to the FAST listmembers who helped with this article!