16 Plastic-Free Gifts & Ideas for Kids

As kids grow up in today’s age they’ll inevitably find themselves bombarded by messages from advertisers to grab the next trendy toy. And as they get a little older, join our hyper-connected world where our phones have become ever-present means to connect, socialise and consume information. It can be hard to avoid plastic amongst all this. Hence when gifting the kids and children in your life, here’s a selection of plastic-free gift ideas for kids that we hope to help inspire your plastic-free gift choices.

Plastic waste threatens whether we can expect our children to have a chance to appreciate the natural environment in the same way we might have growing up. Not least, today, on our trips to the beach we can find it difficult to find clean pristine sands not polluted with plastic waste just about anywhere in the world. 

13 million tons of plastic pollution enters our oceans every year2Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean. Jenna R. Jambeck, Roland Geyer, Chris Wilcox, Theodore R. Siegler, Miriam Perryman, Anthony Andrady, Ramani Narayan,

As adults, many of us are now working to combat the scourge of plastic pollution. Reducing our reliance on single-use plastics is a start and one that we can all play a role in. 

And we can also choose to help the next generation grow up with less plastic in their lives. It can be quite tough, for a walk into any department store, toy shop or supermarket will reveal aisles and shelves stacked full of plastic goods and plastic packaging. Our selection of plastic-free gift ideas for kids, therefore, looks to nature, wood, and experiences. For we all have choices and choosing plastic-free should be one way to help protect the next generation from plastic waste.

Also check out our ideas for:

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16 Plastic-Free Gift Ideas for Kids

Or as near plastic-free as we could find. We hope you enjoy our selections!

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1. Mokulock Wooden blocks

Mokulock Wooden Blocks
Photo Credit: Mokulock

Mokulock is a Japanese brand that creates lego-like bricks from 5 different types of trees only sourced from the natural environment near their premises in Yamagata for thinning purposes. As such leaving the majority of the wood intact.

They create each interlocking piece from solid wood. They don’t treat the wood any further,  meaning they ship free from added oil, chemicals or glue.

Each set contains 6 different types of wood. Proper back to basics building blocks that kids can use to create and express their creativity, plastic-free.

Mokulock recently won the Eco-excellence awards for toys. Proof that they’re on the right track towards certain something fun and sustainable.

CLICK TO BUY ON MOKULOCK ON AMAZON

2. Frugi Organic Cotton Bobble Hat

Frugi red bobble hat

Many of the clothes we wear contain some form of plastic in the form of polyester or nylon1Boucher, J. and Friot D. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 43pp.

And particularly for kids, it can be hard to find clothes that are all-natural, especially when a million fast fashion items are fighting for a share of your wallet. 

Thus, Frugi is a great find. They have a large range of sustainably sourced organic products. Our pick is this colourful bobble hat which would suit either boys or girls. 

There’s plenty of other choices too for a colourful knit, organic t or most other things your kids might need in plastic-free clothing lines in their online store. 

CLICK TO BUY ON FRUGI

3. Organic Cotton Beanie

Organic cotton kids beanie

For another head-wear choice check out these organic cotton beanies designed and made with love in Osaka, Japan. Handmade in a range of colours, from neutral creams and browns featured through to brighter reds and oranges. 

CLICK TO BUY ON ETSY

4. Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes

Kick start healthy habits for life with these stainless steel kids lunch boxes. The brand also has a selection of snack-sized container perfect for healthy treats.

BBC Good Food does a nice line in healthy lunch ideas for kids if you’re in need of inspiration as to what to pack into these handy lunch boxes. And TAVVA who manufacture these boxes has an Instagram account packed with more ideas.

The lids are made from silicone that is BPA free and they come with a lifetime warranty. 

Stainless Steel Kids TAVVA Lunchboxes on Amazon:

5. Plant Growth Kits

Grow sunflowers plastic free
Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

With one of these kits, kids can grow their own sunflowers. The kit comes with everything needed including a natural pot and sunflower seeds. It’s pretty cheap too so would make a good addition to any larger gift if you’re keen on splashing out that little bit extra.

Or alternative check out the funky veg grow kit. Encourage him or her to get funky in the garden, growing their own purple carrots, striped tomatoes and mixed coloured swiss chard. The kit comes complete with everything required for a thriving vegetable patch of 5 weird and wonderful varieties. Not only plastic-free but also encouraging grow your own and green thumbs.

6. Fun Memberships

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Memberships to zoos, science museums, and children’s museums give kids a fun reason to leave the house. They are also very educational and inspire kids to explore topics in science and history. 

Bringing up kids to be aware of the environment and our impact on it has to be a good thing for all concerned. Take a look too at gifting a National Geographic Junior Membership.

An annual subscription will encourage kids to read up about nature and the amazing planet we live in. It comes as a digital-only subscription too for less paper and packaging. Suitable of course for kids who have access to an iPad or similar. 

7. Wooden Name Train Set

Wooden train
Photo Credit: Stephen Woods on Flickr CC BY 2.0

Gift a name train of wooden train set. Chose those made from eco-friendly sustainable wood. And potentially considering accompanying it with a complete name train town [amazon link].

CLICK TO SEARCH NAME TRAINS ON AMAZON

8. Fruit Tree

Citrus fruit tree to grow together plastic free
Photo by Mikhail Alexandrov on Unsplash

A fruit tree may seem a little peculiar as a gift for kids. But we think it’s a great way of having them learn about where food comes from. Their very own citrus tree for example, which you can plant together and enjoy growing together. All going well it’ll bear fruit before too long help to educate them about the opportunity for more sustainable living. 

9. Go on a Nature Walk Together

Nature Walk
Photo by Elke Karin Lugert on Unsplash

Gift the gift of nature by finding a natural area near you. Kids love getting outdoors and for many, it will be a welcome excuse to leave devices at home. Accompany a date in the diary to explore the outdoors together with a book about nature. We’ve selected a couple for you to inspire their discovery of the outdoors. There’s many other nature books for kids online on amazon, chose one that’s right and related to nature near you.

10. Ailefo Organic Modelling Clay

Ailefo Organic Modelling Clay

Playing with plasticine is so much fun for young and old. The problem, of course, is that most of what you’ll find out there is actually plastic. As such most modelling clay doesn’t make the cut for a plastic-free gift guide. Or help young ones appreciate a plastic-free lifestyle.

Enter Ailefo. Made in Denmark their range of organically certified clay is only made with natural food-grade ingredients. 

Sadly they’re not 100% plastic-free as plastic tubs keep the clay moist in its packaging. However, as an environmentally aware business, their paper tube comes from 100% recycled packaging and they use water-based glues for the labels.

The tubs the clay comes in are readily recyclable and can be reused around the house. Once again not 100% plastic-free but given a lot of kids will use clay at some stage, an organic natural alternative is worth a look. 

CLICK TO BUY ON AILEFO

11. Personalised Eco Toothbrushes

Personalised Eco-Friendly Toothbrush

These super cute are personalised with his or her names and made from Bamboo. Nylon bristles make them not strictly 100% plastic-free but they certainly beat the mass-produced plastic sorts. 

CLICK TO BUY ON ETSY

12. Birthstone Necklace for Her

Birthstone Necklace

Metal jewellery is a great way to give plastic-free for her. For kids, we love these cute birthstone necklaces. You can personalise the letter and chose a birthstone to suit her. The birthstones are Swarovski crystals and the chains come in either silver or gold.

CLICK TO BUY ON ETSY

Not quite right? Etsy has a great selection of jewellery that will suit kids as they get a bit older. Click below to view their range.

CLICK TO SEARCH FOR JEWELLERY FOR GIRLS ON ETSY

13. Everything Knots Book and Hemp Rope

Encourage the kids in your life your looking to buy plastic-free gifts and to get outdoors and make things with the Everything Knots Book. Great for building huts or getting them involved in climbing or hiking and other outdoor activities. Or simply applying themselves to the challenge of learning them all.  

A simple yet fun plastic-free gift idea that will not only keep them busy but will also encourage their independent learning.

Accompany it with some hemp craft rope and you might well inspire the next famous outdoor adventurer.

14. Plan Toys Wooden Toys

Plan Toys Sustainable Play
Photo Credit: Plan Toys

Plan toys are all about creating safe wooden toys using environmentally sustainable principles. Plan make their colourful wooden toys from all-natural organic recycled rubberwood and water-based dyes. 

We’ve featured a toy classic, the wooden xylophone. And alongside, their super cute solid wood assortment of fruits and vegetables. Encourage eating right and plastic-free at the same time. 

15. Vivobarefoot for Kids

Vivobarefoot is on a mission to disrupt the shoe business. Their aim is to develop shoes that allow feet to move as intended and that have zero impact on the environment.

Vivoebarefoot uses vegan and environmentally friendly materials as alternatives to leather and plastic-based synthetics that make up a lot of our footwear. They also use recycled PET plastic, rescuing it from landfill in some of their ranges. They’re well on track to meet their 2020 target of 90% sustainable materials used across all their shoes.

We really like these Primus Junior Mesh trainers for kids. They come with a tough rubber sole which is great for active kids. They have excellent grip for a range of outdoor pursuits.

The upper is synthetic which does mean that they too are not strictly plastic-free. However, given that they use recycled PET bottles for both the mesh and lining we think they very much pass muster. 

It can be quite hard to find shoes that really fit the eco-friendly and plastic-free bill. With Vivobarefoot you can buy knowing that someone else’s plastic waste has been prevented making its way to landfill and they’ll last a long time due to their strong construction. Not perfectly plastic-free but very good all the same.

16. Brio Labyrinth

Brio Labyrinth Game
Photo Credit: Brio

The brio Labyrinth is a classic game of skill and dexterity. It’s been around since 1946 and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide which suggests it’s well worth a look in your plastic-free gift for kids search.

All of Brio’s wood is traceable and sourced from responsibly managed forests. 

BUY BRIO LABYRINTH ON AMAZON

Donna Borzyskowski

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Sources & References:

#Description
1Boucher, J. and Friot D. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 43pp.
2Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean. Jenna R. Jambeck, Roland Geyer, Chris Wilcox, Theodore R. Siegler, Miriam Perryman, Anthony Andrady, Ramani Narayan, Kara Lavender Law. Science, vol. 347, no. 6223, 13 Feb. 2015, pp. 768–771, doi:10.1126/science.1260352

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