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 and find eco-friendly toys and products that are good for the environment. Hence when gifting the kids and children in your life, here’s a selection of 16 best eco-friendly gifts 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 challenging 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 year2.
As adults, many of us are now working to combat the scourge of plastic pollution. We can all play a role in reducing our reliance on single-use plastics.
And we can also choose to help the next generation grow up aware of the environmental challenges we face. It can be quite challenging, 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 eco-friendly gift ideas for kids, therefore, looks to nature, wood, and experiences. For we all have choices and choosing eco-friendly should be one way to help protect the next generation from plastic waste.
Or as near plastic-free, as we could find. We hope you enjoy our selection of environmentally friendly gifts!
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 six different types of wood. Proper back to basics building blocks that kids can use to create and express their creativity, making them a brilliant choice at the top of our list of eco-friendly gifts for kids.
Mokulock recently won the Eco-excellence awards for toys. Proof that they’re on the right track towards something fun and sustainable.
Many of the clothes we wear contain some form of plastic in the form of polyester or nylon1.
And particularly for kids, it can be hard to find all-natural clothes, especially when a million fast fashion items are fighting for a share of your wallet.
Thus, Frugi is an excellent eco find. They have an extensive range of sustainably sourced organic products that would all prove great gift ideas. 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 eco-friendly clothing lines in their online store.
For other head-wear gifts, choices 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.
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 require inspiration as to what to pack into these handy lunch boxes. And TAVVA who manufacture these boxes has an Instagram account filled with more ideas.
The make the lids from silicone that is non-toxic BPA free, and they come with a lifetime warranty.
Next up in our list of eco-friendly gift ideas for kids is plant growth kits. With one of these eco-friendly 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 an excellent 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 and another great eco-friendly gift choice but also encouraging grow your own and green thumbs.
Gifts of 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 our amazing planet. It comes as a digital-only subscription too for less paper and packaging and therefore enhanced eco-friendly cred. Suitable of course for kids who have access to an iPad or similar.
Gift a name train wooden train set. Another gift choice they make these name train sets from eco-friendly sustainable wood materials, dyed with non-toxic inks. And potentially considering accompanying it with a complete name train town [Amazon link]. There’s a decent chance one of these eco-friendly gifts will take pride and place on his or her dresser for many years to come.
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. For example, gift kids their very own citrus tree which you can plant and enjoy growing together. All going well it’ll bear fruit before too long, and therefore green gifts that grow can help to educate them about the opportunity for more sustainable living. Here’s there’s no concern about recycled materials or how eco-friendly the manufacture of this gift is, for its pure nature.
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 are many other nature books for kids online on amazon, chose one that's right and related to nature near you, coupled with a nature exploring walk, and you’ll have near-perfect gifts for the eco friendly.
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 an eco-friendly kids gift guide. Or help young ones appreciate a plastic-free lifestyle.
Enter Ailefo. Made in Denmark, they make their range of organically certified eco-friendly clay from natural food-grade ingredients.
Sadly they’re not 100% plastic-free gifts 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 you can reuse them around the house. Once again, not 100% plastic-free a lot of kids will use clay at some stage. Well worth a look at these gifts that present an organic, eco-friendly alternative.
These super cute eco-friendly toothbrushes are gifts 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.
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. Naturally non-toxic, no recycled plastic to be seen and gifts that she’ll love.
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.
Encourage the kids in your life 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 fun yet straightforward eco-friendly 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 eco-minded famous outdoor adventurer—gifts for kids that keep giving.
Plan toys are all about creating safe wooden toys using environmentally sustainable principles. Plan make their colourful wooden products from all-natural organic, recycled rubberwood and water-based dyes and as such, they’re brilliant non-toxic, eco-friendly gifts.
We’ve featured a toy classic as our next in our eco-friendly gift ideas, 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 with these classic gifts for kids.
Vivobarefoot is on a mission to disrupt the shoe business. They aim 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 PET recycled plastic, rescuing it from landfill in some of their products. They’re well on track to meet their 2020 target of 90% sustainable and recycled materials used across all their shoes.
We like these Primus Junior Mesh trainers for kids as an excellent choice in your search for eco-friendly gifts. 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 plastic PET bottles for both the mesh and lining, we think they very much pass muster.
It can be quite hard to find shoes that fit the eco-friendly and plastic-free bill. With Vivobarefoot you can buy gifts knowing that you’ve helped prevent someone else’s plastic waste making its way to landfill. And they’ll last a long time due to their robust construction. Not perfectly plastic-free gifts but very good all the same.
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 gifts for kids search. A fitting way to round off our list of eco-friendly gift ideas with natural eco-friendly wood gifts for kids that can also help teach dexterity and hand to eye coordination.
All of Brio’s wood is traceable and sourced from responsibly managed forests.
|Boucher, J. and Friot D. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 43pp.|
|Plastic 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|