DIY: Ideas for filling those plastic eggs for Easter

Springtime has arrived, fast and furiously — and for us Californians, a poorly planned sequel to a much loved, far-too-short winter. Don’t blink; enjoy all 90 minutes of this season before that big fat blockbuster, summer, settles in for the next six months.

Ready or not, Easter is already upon us. For many, this holiday is an annual celebration of spring, marked by the consumption of chocolate bunnies, sugar-covered marshmallow chicks and the hunt for realistic, incredibly lifelike, neon-colored plastic eggs … and any real, dyed, hard-boiled eggs the dog hasn’t already sniffed (and snuffed) out.

But at this point, it’s the plastic eggs with which I’m most concerned. How should they be filled? It’s so easy to grab a few bags of candy, add to the sugar mania (and possibly the dental bills) and be done so I can move on to deviled-egg preparations. But the truth is, kids enjoy the thrill of the hunt more than the resulting sugar high and subsequent crash. Why not remove that gross latter part by filling those plastic eggs with something other than candy?

Here are several non-candy plastic egg filling suggestions:

• Small age-appropriate toys: Those plastic eggs come in all sizes; so do toys. Some small toys to consider: super balls; mini toy cars; bubbles; small army men; plastic animals; plastic dinosaurs; Play-Doh; balloons; beads and string; Legos. (Reminder: Small objects may not be safe for really little ones).

• Nail polish: Nail polish comes in just about any color imaginable AND all kinds of bottles; even ones small enough to fit in a plastic egg.

• Erasers or wacky pencil toppers: Times change, butkids still use pencils in school. And adding colorful erasers or crazy monsters to your good old No. 2 still makes school work slightly more enjoyable.

• Salty snacks: Cheddar fish, mini pretzels and other small crackers are a tasty, healthier option than jelly beans.Plus you’ll feel better about packing them in school lunches.

• Stickers: It doesn’t matter how old you get, stickers are always cool and there is such a variety. And they stick on anything! Downside: They stick on anything.

• Fun shoelaces: Who doesn’t love fun shoelaces? I mean, besides my husband (who, after my last bout of “Surprise, new shoelaces!” campaign for some reason has taken to wearing loafers).

• Jewelry: The perfect egg stuffer for all ages, all kinds of jewelry fits into those eggs — rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings — even the expensive stuff (just saying).

• Lip balm: Seriously, who doesn’t like soft lips? Crabby people, that’s who.

• Keychains: Kids still collect them and the cool chains fancy-up any backpack.

... and the best filler of all:

• MONEY: When I threw the question out on Twitter, this was the answer that came screaming back. While I’m sure everyone had paper money decorated in lesser-known presidents (or even that non-president) in mind, I’m talking coins. What better use for some of what fills that penny jar?

And just for fun:

• THINGS TO AVOID: Raisins (too healthy); nuts (possible allergens); fun colorful bandaids (fun for whom?); coal (obvious); Chuck E. Cheese tokens (how will they get there? YOU); whistles (horrible); bugs (scary); hair balls (nobody seems to appreciate them); and empty eggs (apparently the least favorite of all).