Giving a child a gift just because it’s green makes no sense if they’re not going to use and love it. These gift ideas take into account what kids today might request and offer greener alternatives for things they’d actually want. There are gifts for every budget, listed in increasing order by price. The list will be updated as I find more unique, thoughtful gifts, so check back.
NOTE: Many of these gifts are available at Amazon.com. An Amazon Prime membership will get you free 2-day shipping, plus unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and free eBooks. Our Prime membership saves us tons of money all year, but particularly during the holidays when we do more online shopping. Plus, 2-day shipping is awesome and convenient. Get a FREE 30-day Amazon Prime trial now!
These art supplies were made by an art-teacher who was tired of giving her students typical products that contained tons of chemicals. They are made of natural, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly ingredients and come in eco-friendly packaging. And from experience, I can tell you that they smell awesome! (aff)
These toys are made in the U.S. from recycled plastic and are recyclable. You can find everything from a jump rope for your most active child, to a tea set for the one who loves to play pretend, a tool set for the builder-in-training, and more. This company is truly the premier maker of eco-friendly kids’ playthings. (aff)
If your kids like Play Doh, they’ll love EnviroBLOX and Stickits. These building blocks are made from cornstarch, and they are incredibly easy to use. Simply moisten them and stick them together for a firm, instant hold without tape, glue, magnets or fasteners. Plus, unlike most clay, they’re completely biodegradable. What does that mean, exactly? Well, when they’re finished playing, instead of throwing their creations in the trash, just put them in water and they’ll disappear like ice. Nice! (aff)
Most little girls — and some little boys — like to play dress up with makeup and nail polish, but do you know what’s in the products they’re using? If you took a close look, you’d probably be horrified. The Piggy Paint nail polish line is water based and free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone. Plus it’s available in more than enough colors to satisfy your child’s whims. (aff)
A few years ago, Sprig’s eco-friendly toys were all the rage on Christmas lists. Now, the co-founders of Sprig have done it gain with another line of green playthings, Begin Again Toys. The company uses only plant-based materials, like natural rubber, natural cotton fabrics, sustainably harvested woods, wheat starch plastic and bamboo. They’ve also acquired toymaker ImagiPLAY was part of this new company, so you’ll find their classic wooden toys and puzzles in the collection too.
For many families, including ours, giving pajamas is a Christmas tradition. However, I’m pretty sure you don’t want the kids sleeping in toxic polyester and flame retardants, do you? New Jammies makes awesome, organic cotton pajamas for kids in modern, graphic prints, sans nasty chemicals. With these, you can put them to bed worry-free. Plus, they’ll love the colorful, kid-friendly designs, and they’re available from infant sizes up to boys’ and girls’ size 12. (aff)
Video games are a fact of life for most kids, and there’s nothing you can really say is “green” about them. Enter GameFly, which is like NetFlix for video games. For a monthly fee, your kid will be able to choose 1-2 video games at a time to play to their heart’s content and return once finished. Why is this a greener option? Well, you’ll cut back the waste and overconsumption inherent in buying new video games (packaging, shipping, manufacturing, etc.), which in turn helps reduce demand for new products. (aff)
You know the child. He loves his plushy things he can squeeze, and the Disney Channel is his absolute favorite! Combine his two favorites, minus unnecessary chemicals. Gift these huggable Disney characters by miYim, which are made of organic cotton on the outside and stuffed with recycled polyester fill. Available in Mickey, Minnie, Winne the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. (aff)
OK. I won’t try to sell you a line and pretend that there’s anything green about video games. However, there is something green about encouraging kids to get off their butts and exercise. It’s the perfect compromise. They still get to play their games, and you get them moving. Win-win. Available for Wii or XBOX Kinect. (aff)
Everyone tells you that kids’ creativity should be encouraged. This is the perfect gift to do just that. Give the budding artist on your list a robot- or cupcake-themed clock made of recycled chipboard. The best part? They can use their imagination to color it however they’d like. (aff)
There are many reasons to love TOMS. And if you give a child on your Christmas list a pair of these wonderful shoes, you’ll also be delivering a lesson in kindness and giving back. For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. How’s THAT for Christmas giving? (aff)
Trying to teach a child how to tell time? These eco-friendly watches are lead and phthalate free and feature 100% organic cotton straps, biodegradable cases and buckles, bamboo face plates, a glass cover rather than plastic and a mercury-free battery. Further, 80% of the packaging is made of post-consumer recycled materials. Also available in adult sizes. (aff)
Most kids ooh and aah over animals, so imagine how much they’d love to tote around all their stuff in a cute stuffed friend. These are also available as traditional backpacks, but you can save their young muscles and give them a rolling version. Available as a monkey, panda, pig, puppy or frog, these bags from ecogear are made of natural cotton canvas with recycled plastic wheels, and buttons and buckles made from recycled plastic and sustainable wood. (aff)
About this time of year, your kids’ backpacks may be starting to look at little raggedy. A few too many trips on the school bus and days on the classroom floor will do that. These eco-friendly backpacks are cute as button, and they’re made entirely of recycled plastic bottles. In other words, they’re green as can be, and pretty darn durable, too. (aff)
As a little girl, I was nothing if not a bookworm, and there are several kids in my family for whom I can say the same. Even if you know a kid who’s not an avid reader, but you want to encourage their love of the written word, a Kindle is a great gift. Thanks to technological advances, there are several options ranging in price from relatively affordable to less so, from basic book reading in black and white to full color tablet functionality with a touch screen. You can decide what you’re willing to spend. (aff)
Younger children can get in on the foosball fun with this tabletop soccer game. The game includes two balls and a score board, and it is designed so that children can easily grasp the handles. It is made of chemical free, kiln-dried recycled rubberwood and designed with water based non-toxic colors and adhesives. (aff)
It’s not hard to find a cool-looking skateboard these days, but it’s much harder to find one with true eco credentials. These green beauties from Arbor go the extra mile. They are made of bamboo, sustainably-harvested birch ply, recycled glass and plastic, reclaimed wood and water-based finishes. You can’t beat that with a stick. (aff)
Lots of kids have a play kitchen, but how many of them have a farmers market? Beside the fact that it will teach them about shopping local, this teaching tool is made of sustainable wood and water-based paints and packaged in recycled, recyclable materials. It comes with 7 food crates with a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as cartons of milk. (aff)
Dollhouses don’t have to be Victorian buildings with scallops and feminine details. They can be modern, bold, eco-friendly and great for boys OR girls — just like real homes. The Dylan dollhouse is among the more affordable of these modern marvels, complete with a mock “green roof.” It’s made of formaldehyde-free MDF with non-toxic and lead-free paints and finishes. Modern dollhouse furniture (shown) is $30-60 a set. (aff)