Making Easter baskets for preschool turns into a lesson about recycling as well as a fine motor skill practice session when you use old strawberry or tomato baskets. While the baskets are too small to hold stuffed animals, they serve well to hold treats like jelly beans and eggs for an Easter egg hunt. The child will also have the satisfaction of making something useful by himself.
Select a Recycled Basket
The plastic strawberry or tomato baskets sold in stores can be made into Easter baskets. Look for ones with three rows of holes. If it has more holes, you can use it, but you will have to make more fabric strips for weaving. Clean the basket of any dirt or strawberry juice before you begin. If you're doing this for a class, either begin collecting enough baskets for everyone early on or ask parents to bring these in.
To make the Easter basket look like it's woven, you'll need two 17- x 1 and 1/4-inch strips of fabric and one 24- X 1 and 1/4-inch strip of fabric. The longest strip is to use on the top, so you will have enough left to tie it off in a bow.
Use old materials, like pastel colored t-shirts, napkins, tea towels or even outgrown Easter-print pajamas, to get your materials. Pinking shears prevent fraying. Again, if your basket has more than three rows, cut out extra 17- X 1 and 1/4 -inch strips.
You could also use foam strips, if you want. These are sold in craft stores and are sometimes pre-cut, or you can buy foam sheets and cut them to size.
Making the Basket
Start weaving at a corner of the bottom row of holes. Stick one 17- X 1 and
1/4-inch strip in and weave it around the row. To weave, pull the fabric strip under and over each plastic rung. The material will reach all the way around the basket. Insert the loose ends of the material into the inside of the basket, so they won't show. Then weave another 17- X 1 and 1/4-inch fabric strip into center row. Begin weaving one spot to the left of the corner, so the weave on this row will not exactly match the row beneath; offsetting the weave makes it look more like a real woven basket.
Use the 24- X 1 and 1/4 fabric for the top row. Begin at one corner and leave a 4 inch tail of fabric free. After you weave the fabric all around the basket, tie the remainder with the 4 inch tail in a bow or knot. For a bigger bow, leave out more than 4 inches; you may want to cut the fabric into a 30 inch long strip if that's the case.
Pipe Cleaner Handle
The handle on the basket is made of two twisted-together pipe cleaners. Not only can you use complementary colors this way, using two together gives it a bigger handle. Tie the ends of the pipe cleaner to the center top hole; repeat on the other side.
Fill the basket with Easter grass. You can also use leftover shredded tissue, or even run some colorful junk mail or magazines through your shredder and make your own Easter grass.