It’s time for candy canes, holly, twinkling lights and the wonderful smell of pine, spruce and fir to fill the air. They all stoke the general good cheer, characteristic of the winter holidays.
But living sustainably also makes us aware of the excess and waste created at Christmas. We can struggle to marry our sustainable lifestyle with gift giving.
To help (and keep the stress of gift finding at bay), we’ve put together this list of eco friendly gifts for kids in your life.
Earth Conscious Gifts for Infants
Sophie La Girafe is a classic toy and teether. She is made from 100% natural rubber and non toxic food grade paint. She also comes packaged in recyclable materials.
As well as the original Sophie, there’s also a teether ring, a cube and ball set and a bath toy.
Etsy is a great place to find special treasures. Especially If you’re looking for toys that are a bit different and not mass produced.
This beeping ball wooden baby toy is handmade in the UK and helps babies explore sounds. Or, you could go for a wooden rattle or this lovely teether ring.
The teether also comes as a string that can be attached to a car seat, crib or playset.
Eco Friendly Gifts for Younger Toddlers Aged 1-2 Years Old
Searching for toys for a newly mobile no-longer-infant-but-not-exactly-toddler? Then a tug-along wooden train or this quacking duck are great toys to encourage walking.
They’re both made from ecological beech wood from Europe and can be personalised. Not only are they eco friendly, but they make a lovely keepsake.
Along the same line are these handcrafted activity blocks. Designed for a sensory experience, there are nine blocks in a set.
There’s three visual, three auditory and three textured blocks. They even come in a cloth sack for easy storage.
If you’re looking for learning toys that keep the little one still, this shape sorter is ideal.
Made by Green Toys, all the parts are made from 100% recycled plastic. It’s not only BPA, PVC and phthalate free, but also dishwasher safe!
As well as the shape sorter they also offer a stacking cup set, a tool kit, a tea set and cupcake set. Plus, there’s a submarine, car carrier, tractor, seaplane, tugboat, ferry boat with cars, and a fire truck.
Eco Friendly Gifts for Older Toddlers Aged 2-4 Years Old
Toddlers love toys that are entertaining. The beauty is, most entertaining toys are also geared towards learning.
Wooden, handmade jigsaw puzzles from Lanka Kade come in the shape of a dog and a whale. The different pieces allow toddlers to learn and practice numbers and colours.
Lanka Kade provides support to schools across Sri Lanka. Their toys are fair trade and are made from sustainable Sri Lankan rubberwood and eco paints.
Puzzles are a fantastic way to improve short term memory. Plus, they help develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
They encourage children to memorise and recreate an image. In doing so, they’re engaging both sides of their brain – the left logical side and the right creative side.
This jungle puzzle offers bold shapes and colours that grab a toddlers attention. Plus, it glows in the dark!
Christmas is also a wonderful time to introduce, or further, a love of reading. This book made from environmentally friendly paper contains traditional nursery rhymes.
It also has personalised poems that include the child in the narrative. Personalisation makes it fun whilst building a connection between the child and the story.
What compliments a book more than a special place to read and keep it? A personalised bedtime story bear cushion with a pocket for books of course!
This one is made from 100% Organic Natural Cotton and is a fitting accompaniment to any book.
Green Gifts for Younger Children Aged 5-7 Years Old
Children in this age range are sometimes tricky to shop for. They’ve mastered basic motor skills and the fundamentals of colours, numbers and shapes. But they’re not quite at full robot toy level yet.
Experience has taught me that manual toys with freedom for creativity go down well.
Play Dough is always a winner and these meal maker and flower maker versions are great. They’re made from organic flour and mineral based colourants.
Plus, all the plastic components are made from recycled plastic. There’s also a four pack of play dough if you want to do without the plastic completely.
Another option which helps refine motor skills, creativity, and concentration are wooden lacing toys.
These beautiful eco friendly wooden toys come in a variety of shapes such as a tugboat, fish, cloud and whale. Each piece comes with three coloured laces allowing for varied patterns and creations.
Eco Friendly Gifts for Kids Aged 5-11 Years Old
If you’re searching for gifts for a range of ages, sturdy playhouses certainly fit the bill.
Made from recycled card, they’re available as a rocket, playhouse, castle or igloo.
The kids will love building them, and having free range to decorate and embellish them. They’re perfect for engaging children’s creativity and imaginative play.
And what use is a castle without a Knight to defend it? This personalised wooden sword makes a great gift – whether as an accompaniment to the castle or on its own.
There’s also a customisable handmade version that includes a shield. Should a child see themselves as more Viking than Knight there’s also a customisable Viking set.
For less rambunctious activities that are still engaging, these design your own pyjamas make a fun gift. Made from 100% British organic cotton, they include neon fabric pens and a cotton tote bag.
Craft kits from Cotton Twist are also a great hands on gift. They engage children as well as raising their awareness of the effect human activity has on other animals and on the oceans.
Should you be looking for a more long term green gift, grow your own 3D puzzles from Build & Grow Co. are an amazing choice.
Whether castle garden, volcano, jungle, or farm, these gifts allow children the immediate pleasure of putting something together.
They can interact with the environment with live plants and create a small garden they can tend.
Environmentally Friendly Eco Gifts for Older Children Aged 7-11 Years Old
This older group of children is fairly easy to shop for. Not least because they’re able to express their gift preferences.
Should the children in your life not have a Wish List, here’s some awesome options, starting with robots! But not the run-of-the-mill remote control robots.
The Source makes transforming robots from PVC free plastic. Plus, they’re either completely or partially solar powered.
These robots also transformable. This engages a child’s creativity and imagination as well as developing fine motor and problem solving skills.
This transforming space fleet robot is great for the younger children in this age range. Or try this solar transforming robot or hydraulic construction kit for older kids.
Keeping with the theme of engineering and renewable energy, this air powered car is great. As is this dynamo race track powered by hand generators and salt water powered monster car.
If the child you’re shopping for is interested in greener pursuits, this mini greenhouse is perfect. Once built, they can watch their seeds sprout before replanting them outdoors.
There’s also a wildflower seed mix and a vegetable garden grobox if they prefer to start their garden outdoors.
More explorative in nature, this personalised astronomical kit makes an amazing gift. Children can put together their own Galileo telescope with a 6.5 magnification.
Then they can reference a beautiful star chart with well known constellations (observable from the UK) and search the night skies.
The kit also includes space themed conversation starters on silver backed paper. Once finished, the paper can be cut into strips and turned into origami stars.
Eco Friendly Gifts for Kids of All Ages
Should you be searching for a unique gift for any age, look no further than interactive clothing.
Children of all ages will love this dinosaur chalkboard sweater. They can use it to create design after design.
A less messy alternative are these glow in the dark t-shirts with dinosaur and solar system prints. They come with an LED pen that children can use to draw on their t-shirts.
Their design will stay there for five minutes, then they can create more wearable glowing art!
Spreading the Joy with Eco Friendly Gifts for Kids
Living sustainably isn’t always the easiest, especially during the festive season. But if we take small steps throughout the year we can get closer to our goal of eco living.
If for any reason you’d prefer not to buy new items, try second hand shops and markets. Fara Kids Charity Shops sell second hand toys and clothes for example. Plus their proceeds go to help vulnerable children in Romania.
Also consider donating toys and clothes that the children in your family no longer need or want. The Salvation Army takes used clothing and toys throughout the year.
However, for their Christmas Appeal, they only accept new toys and clothing items.
Great Ormond Street Hospital accepts toys, clothing and money donations in their effort to help ill children at Christmas.
Christmas can still be a time to consider our impact without losing out on the fun.
Zero waste Christmas gifts are possible for the whole family. Bringing a little more of the true meaning of Christmas back. We wish you a merry one!