Noshkins handmade felt food toys are made from recycled water bottles

Eco-friendly gifts for kids? Yes, even when shopping for kids during the holidays, following our planet-protecting ideals is definitely doable.

We’re delighted to share ideas for presents that fit eco-preferable values. Some are refreshingly plastic-free. Some are easily recyclable. And some come from firms that emphasize ethical sourcing and fair trade practices.

Flying Discs

Pocket Disc crocheted flying discs
Pocket Disc offers hand-crocheted flying discs. Photo:

Pocket Disc sells foldable fabric flying discs and other easily portable playthings. Table pucks. Hacky sack balls. Juggling balls. Bocce balls. YippiYappa. And more. These eco-friendly gifts for kids are great for indoors, outdoors, and traveling. The firm employs fair trade practices working with Mayan artisan partners who hand-crochet discs and other items. Crocheted balls are filled with recycled plastic pellets. These products come in a variety of peppy designs, such as this colorful flying disc available from Amazon and a full selection of products is available on Pocket Disc.


"Trash Origami" book cover
Trash Origami. Photo: Tuttle Publishing

Books are relatively low-waste gifts, with plenty of re-use potential if shared with others. For kids, we picked some titles that offer fun DIY ideas, especially using recycled or recyclable resources.

Recyclable Playhouses

Children and adult decorate an Easy Playhouse
Easy Playhouse encourages children to use their creativity. Image:

Some playhouses, such as Easy Playhouse, are enticingly plain and simple, offering young occupants the opportunity to draw, paint, and decorate exactly the way they want. In fact, it’s also reversible, providing extra space for artistic endeavors. Other features we like about this eco-friendly gift for kids: It’s made of recycled material and is 100 percent recyclable.

Toy Trucks & Other Vehicles

Toys with wheels are staples for kids. Some manufacturers are working to eliminate or reduce plastic in their toy vehicles to reduce their environmental impact.

upcycled puzzle truck from Lukes Toy Factory
Puzzle trucks from Luke’s Toy Factory feature an interesting upcycled resource. Photo:

3D Puzzle Trucks from Luke’s Toy Factory are formed with reduced plastic resources. One-third of the material is maple sawdust from furniture factories. The firm also uses recycled paper packaging. You can find these trucks on Amazon and Luke’s Toy Factory website.

Viking Toys "Ecoline" brand recycling truck toy
Viking Toys incorporates an oil-free, plant-based material made from sugar cane in its products. Photo: Viking Toys

Among its various products, Viking Toys introduced Ecoline, which includes trucks, planes, and other vehicles in soft pastel hues.

The Viking Toys website states, “Ecoline is made of the material we called Biotylene. While traditional PE (polyethylene) is mainly made from crude oil, Biotylene is made from ethanol that has been extracted from sugar cane. This means that the Biotylene used in the manufacture of Ecoline toys is made from sugar cane, a recyclable and fossil-free raw material.” Check out Viking Toys’ Ecoline 2019 catalog.

More Eco-friendly Gifts for Kids

  • Consider a pack of 24 paper straws with a turtle design from Sea Turtle Oversight Protection for your straw-sipping child.
  • The Eco-Kids Art Pad for your budding artist is made from 100 percent recycled materials and agricultural waste — the discarded stalks of banana trees that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Noshkins‘ handmade fruits, vegetables, desserts, and other make-believe felt food include fabric made from post-consumer, BPA-free plastic water bottles.
Noshkin felt sandwich toy made with recycled plastic bottles
Noshkins on Etsy designs fruits, vegetables, sushi, & other pretend foods using felt. Photo: Etsy

Eco-Friendly Toys: a Growing Trend

The trend toward eco-friendly toys is exciting.

“Today’s shoppers are cashing in on products that support a more sustainable world and toymakers are responding. We’re starting to see a rise in toys and toy packaging that utilize more environmentally friendly materials,” says Jennifer Lynch, a trend expert at The Toy Association.

“In addition, more toys are incorporating the packaging into the play. Not only does this tap into the continued unboxing trend, but it also reduces additional waste and adds repeat play value to the toys in the process.”

Toy Association offers a website featuring toy safety tips to make sure your children play safely with their eco-friendly gifts.

Feature image: Noshkins’ handmade make-believe food toys include fabric made from recycled water bottles. Image courtesy of Etsy

By Patti Roth

Patti began her writing career as a staff writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Still based in Florida, Patti serves as editor for Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. She regularly writes about environmental, home improvement, education, recycling, art, architecture, wildlife, travel and pet topics.