Need some help making a list of eco-friendly holiday gifts for kids? We have some ideas for you.
Kids are not hard to please. Parents though, especially environmentally focused ones, can be a tougher audience. Whether you’re giving gift suggestions to grandparents or building your own list of holiday gifts for your little ones, there are plenty of eco-friendly items to consider.
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A super-cool holiday gift and a lesson in solar energy? Yes, please! The Thames & Kosmos solar-powered rover kit allows for the creation of five motorized models, including a solar car and solar robot. The ultralight materials, including strong bamboo rods, make for durable and speedy models. Kids can learn about gear ratios, solar cells, electric motors, gears, and – of course – energy from the sun.
The Dough Project
The Dough Project is the new easy, step-by-step, DIY mix for make-your-own playdough. The all-natural, chemical-free dry mix is non-GMO, plant-based, and made with organic wheat flour, sea salt, cream of tartar, and ingredients like beet, turmeric, and spirulina to add color.
Get out the griddle and help your kids make pancakes of dough to then squish up and play with. This safe playdough offers plenty of opportunities for creative playtime.
You can’t go wrong with any books as holiday gifts. They last and last and, if they don’t, they’re easily recycled.
- The Highlights Book of Things to Do (includes a whole chapter dedicated to Things to Do with Recycled Materials)
- The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy (the original bear loves everyone and everything around him)
- Save the Scraps (the latest publication in a series of Save the Earth picture books)
- Earth Ninja (teaches kids recycling, reducing, and reusing life hacks)
- Scribble Stones (a message for spreading kindness, with some colorful and lovingly embellished rocks)
- ROY (the importance of recycling, told by a paper bag)
The matching card game Uno has been around for so long, it has multiple incarnations. The latest version has gone green, called Uno: Nothin’ But Paper. Printed with soy-based ink, water-based glue, and 100% recyclable, this game is Mattel’s latest commitment to the environment. The deck and packaging are made with Forest Stewardship Council certified materials.
Just Add Fruits & Veggies
Just Add Fruits & Veggies is a new take on composting, if you will. This science and art kit makes use of old fruits or vegetables and recycles them into experiments and crafts that allow kids to produce a new “crop.” Twenty fun activities teach chemical reactions, osmosis, germination, the study of electricity, and more – all while using the leftovers you have in your fridge.
This present may have your child’s name on it, but StickTogether scenes are a gift for the whole family. Like all puzzles, this hands-on activity increases the brain’s ability to produce dopamine, which boosts concentration, memory, motivation, and mental health. A coded poster board and color key code tells kids where to put the colored squares. Once all the stickers have been placed, a fun, pixelated image appears. And, when you’re done admiring your masterpiece, simply recycle it.
Have your kids moved on from wooden blocks? Upgrade them wooden rocks or wooden dominos instead, specifically, star-shaped dominos. Tanabata multi-colored wooden stars, a 100-domino collection made of sustainable beech wood, is a new stacking challenge for big and little kids alike.
Wooden toys are the wheelhouse of minimalist, plastic-free, toy brand kiko+ & gg* which also produces wooden cars, cityscapes, instruments, foods, animals, drawing boards, and memory games. And for the kids who love crafting, you can customize your beech alphabet letter bead order from Cara & Co.
There is nothing like finding a new box of crayons in your stocking! If you’re on the hunt for eco-friendly, chubby crayons for those toddler hands, Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons are all-natural and handmade with pure New Zealand beeswax and Food Grade Pigments for color. They are safe for all ages and contain no paraffin wax or fillers. Plus, they smell great!
Want your kids to get outside more? Gift them a toy that takes them there. Fun and silly shaped wooden animal figures made of compressed rubberwood sawdust encourage open-ended, educational, outdoor play. Use leaves for ears or a flower for a whale’s spout. See what your kids come up with when they are given the opportunity to invent new creatures.
Planet-Friendly Toys and Games
It may take a little more effort to hunt down the most planet-friendly toys and games for children’s gifts, but more and more toy companies are working toward creating sustainable, green products. Whether manufacturers are using recyclable packaging or upgrading the ingredients of what’s found inside, you can certainly satisfy your kid’s wish list and your desire for earth-kind gifts this holiday.
Originally published on December 1, 2020, this article was updated in December 2022.