The holiday season is just around the corner. Gift-giving adds to the joyous celebrations, and with children, the festivities truly feel magical. But finding just the right present can be challenging, especially when making the effort to avoid plastic, seek out natural materials and skip wasteful packaging. Here are some ideas that are sure to delight kids of all ages without negatively impacting the planet. Happy holidays!
Alf-Phi ethical children’s clothing
Born out of a love for children and the environment, Alf-Phi targets the wasteful textile industry with children’s clothing and accessories made from salvaged materials. While the goal is to minimize fabric waste headed to the landfill, the result is quality, heirloom, handmade items. You can even submit your own special piece, such as grandma’s shirt, to be converted into a gift for the next generation.
Related: Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season
Eco Girl yo-yo
There are few toys more classic than the yo-yo, an irresistible challenge generation after generation. Give the gift of tradition and leisure activity in one with a yo-yo handmade in Vermont. The Eco Girl yo-yo is made from natural materials, including locally sourced, native hardwood from a sustainably managed forest. The yo-yo string is 100% cotton.
Everybody loves a sweat-inducing match of Jenga, and there are myriad forms of the game, from wooden blocks to life-size backyard versions. The Jenga Ocean on Bureo brings the additional gift of supporting ocean cleanup efforts with every game piece made entirely of recovered and recycled fishing net material. In addition to presenting a competition, the game educates about the dangers of discarded fishing nets and ways every citizen can help with the problem.
Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans
EarthHero green recycling truck toy
The littlest tot on your list may not understand that this truck from EarthHero is made entirely from recycled milk jugs, keeping them out of the landfills and reducing the need for virgin plastics, but they will love the movable truck bed and back door that opens and closes. Plus, it starts the conversation about proper recycling practices at an early age to develop sustainable skills for the future.
Sweet treats are a staple of the holiday season. These lollipops come with an added gift. Enjoy any of the eight all-natural botanical flavors, such as lavender and lemongrass, lemon and thyme or strawberry and basil. Once you or your recipient have finished your treat, plant the seed-filled stick and watch a plant grow! It’s a fun and eco-friendly alternative to disposable lollipop sticks, plus the plants are edible.
Beachwood kaleidoscope play camera
Here’s another blast from the past that the next generation will admire all over again. This wooden camera lets kids use their imagination while mirroring the adults taking copious holiday pictures. The camera is available in two lens colors, each of which contains a kaleidoscope surprise when rotated.
Sunwind solar car kit
Understanding solar power, engineering and mechanics starts young with this SunnySide Up solar car kit. Youngsters can put together the solar panel, motor, motor mount, coroplast frame, motor pulley and driven pulley, elastic band drive-belt and wooden wheels in different ways, then race to the finish to see which design works best.
Environmental books for kids
Kids of all ages learn best when material is presented in an engaging way. Many books offer colorful and informative lessons on ways to protect our environment, conserve resources and make sustainable purchasing decisions. Here are a few options to consider adding to your little one’s bookshelves.
Miranda Paul’s One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia explains the story of one woman’s dedication to turning waste into useful products.
The Earth Book by Todd Parr offers useful insight for our youngest stewards of the planet.
The Magic School Bus And The Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole presents climate change in the fun fashion for which The Magic School Bus is known.
Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli is an educational book for school-aged children that packages environmental protection in a fun and engaging way.
These are just a few examples of hundreds of similar books that inform without lecturing and make for great gifts.
Green Sprouts Chime organic baby rattle
Rattles engage and entertain babies. The soft organic cotton making up this rattle is Earth- and baby-friendly with no harmful chemicals or plastic. It’s easy to grasp, and the crocheted surface is perfect for teethers. Plus, the soothing rattle sound will spark curiosity; the effort to replicate this sound also facilitates motor development.
PlanToys’ pretend play doctor’s kit
Not only does it put the power of the doctor’s tools in your tot’s hands, but it does so without using up fossil fuels. Made from sustainably harvested rubberwood trees and surplus sawdust chips, the set is recommended for kids ages 3 and up. Each piece is finished using non-toxic glues and water-based dyes. Each purchase helps Plan Toys donate resources to a Children’s Museum in local Thailand, and a portion of the profits go toward reforesting nearby cities.
The Ultimate Green Store Kid’s Big Bean Bag Chair
When considering eco-friendly gifts, a bean bag chair likely doesn’t come to mind. But The Ultimate Green Store has redefined this classic furniture item using natural plant hemp cover. The filling is a signature blend of non-toxic beads and shredded natural latex foam dubbed EcoSuperfill.
Images via Alf-Phi, Eco Girl, Bureo, EarthHero, Uncommon Goods, Kiko & GG, Sunwind Solar, Pixabay, The Ultimate Green Store and Thought Catalog