Looking for an eco-friendly outdoor toy? We have lots of eco-conscious ideas when choosing a toy for your backyard or outdoor trips.
When searching for an eco-friendly or sustainable outdoor toy, consider:
- Does it have to be brand new? Can you buy a pre-loved item? If kids are getting a toy for the backyard they are excited about, they will probably not even notice (especially if they are young). Buying something that’s used will keep toys out of the landfill for longer. And will prevent new resources being used to make new ones. You can also pass them on when you’ve finished.
- Do you really need it? Many parents buy big items such as swings and basketball hoops for the backyard. But is there a playground or basketball court within walking distance you can use instead? Using shared equipment can be very beneficial. You will save money. You don’t have to worry about putting together the item or maintaining it. Kids often lose interest in toys if they are in their environment all the time. If it’s something you use occasionally, they often are more enthusiastic and appreciate it more. And you don’t have the hassle of getting rid of big toys once your kids have outgrown them.
- Look for items with a smaller eco-friendly footprint. If you buy something new, look for smaller toys that are made locally is a better option for the environment. There are many toys that made from recycled materials. And there are toys that can be easily recycled when finished with.
We have lots of ideas of outdoor toys that are more eco friendly for kids of all ages. Check out some ideas.
Green Toys Jump Rope
Jump rope has so many benefits for kids development. It’s fantastic for hand eye co-ordination and improving kids’ fitness and cardiovascular health among many other many health benefits. Jump rope has stood the test of time. Kids love it!
The Green Toys jump rope is made out of 100% cotton rope and has handles made of 100% recycled plastic. They recycle the plastic from milk bottles, saving them from landfill. The rope is 7 foot long and adjustable. Fantastic for active play sessions.
Kinderfeets TinyTot Plus 2-in-1 Wooden Balance Bike and Tricycle
If you’re buying for a toddler, this makes an excellent eco-friendly option that little ones are going to love. It’s a tricycle that converts into a balance bike as your child grows. It’s recommended for kids aged 18 months and up. The bike has a low, step-through frame that places children’s feet closer to the ground so they feel safe.
Being eco friendly is a big part of the Kinderfeets design. The bike is handmade with sustainable birchwood, non-toxic handlebar grips and water-based lacquers. Additionally, minimal packaging is used and consists of recycled paper and water-based inks. Materials are sourced from an FSC-certified supplier, and every balance bike purchase helps plant a tree through Trees for the Future.
Additionally, this bike comes in different colours to suit a parent’s tastes and the child’s personality.
Kinderfeets, Kinderboard, Waldorf Original Wooden Balance Board
This is a great example of an open ended toy. Play with it both indoors and outdoors. Some ways in which kids play with a balance board are standing and rocking. But really, their imagination is the limit. Use it as a bridge to roll cars over, as a desk to draw on, a stage for a puppet show or a table for outdoor tea parties. Solo rocking is great, but 2 kids can also rock on them at the same time. Little ones can climb on them, jump off them and hide under or behind them.
The balance board helps kids develop a sense of balance and gain an awareness of their body and its parts. It’s also great for encouraging imaginative play.
They craft the board using eco-friendly stains, water based lacquers and timber that is FSC certified.
Go Find It
If you’re looking for something low impact, educational and fun – it’s hard to go wrong with Go Find it. It’s a card game that invites a natural outdoor treasure hunt. It works with kids of all ages. Older kids can independently read the cards and collect their items. Younger kids can get assistance from an adult. The cards contain sensory words and images. So kids might pick a card where they have to find something smooth or something orange. For older kids, you can make it more challenging and give them a time limit to find their item or give them several items to find at once. Or why not look for items with more than one quality? There are 3 levels to play.
It’s a brilliant companion to any outdoor trip. Play anywhere in the park, at the beach, in the backyard or on a hike. Keep the kids entertained while exploring the outdoors. It fits easily in a bag or pocket. The games can last anywhere between 2 minutes to all day.
The cards have been developed by the Sensory Trust – all the profits go back into their work helping people get equal access to the outdoors.
Ecotribe Wooden Unicorn Swing Set for Toddlers
Looking for an eco-friendly outdoor swing for a baby or a toddler? The unicorn swing from Ecotribe set is constructed from all natural materials including untreated, smoothed wood and strong cotton ropes. The unicorn swing can be used both indoors or outdoors. They do recommend if you use it outdoors for any length of time to put a coat of sealer on the swing.
The bucket seat surrounds your baby or toddler with full support but with wriggle room. It’s designed for kids between the ages of 6 months to 3 years up to 44 pounds (or 20kg). You can hang it pretty much anywhere, such as on a tree swing or on a swing set.
Wooden Tree Swing
For older kids if you’re going to get a swing, a wooden swing is a more biodegradable option than plastic one. The wooden swing seat featured is made of high and eco-friendly birch wood, comes with metal rings and thick jute rope which provides additional security and comfort.
Some tips before you buy a wooden swing. Measure the width of your child’s thighs to make sure the swing is big enough. Also, check the weight capacity of the swing. If you want to attach it to a tree you may need to purchase a tree swing hanging kit separately unless it is included with the swing. Some wooden swings will require a coat of sealer to be put on the swing, or you can take it inside when it rains.
Bamboo Kendama Toy
Looking for an eco outdoor toy for older kids or teens? Then consider Kendama. The Kendama is a variant of the classic cup-and-ball game but you can use it to perform many tricks. It’s named After Fuma Kotaro, the Legendary Ninja Clan Leader in Ancient Japan. Ninjas are known for their agility and speed. Traditionally, it’s a Japanese skill toy.
The version featured is made out of bamboo which is a sustainable and highly renewable source. Bamboo grows quickly and although it feels solid like wood, it’s actually a type of grass.
Not sure if the Kendama is right for you? Check out some Kendama ninjas below to help you decide. With Kendama, Youtube is your friend. There are lots of videos to help you learn basic tricks. It’s a fab toy for developing hand / eye co-ordination.
Green Toys EcoSaucer Flying Disc
If you’re looking for a throwing toy, Green Toys have you covered. The Green Toys EcoSaucer Flying Disc is made in the U.S.A. from sturdy 100% recycled plastic milk containers. Great fun! And perfect for getting kids running around in a big open space. Plus another toy which develops hand and eye co-ordination. What’s not to like?
Hape Nature Detective Set| Bamboo and Plant Plastic
The Hape nature detective set is a great way to get kids excited about the outdoors. It’s very affordable. The size is perfect for a stocking filler. The magnifying glass with 4X magnification is perfect to encourage young kids to explore things close up.
The whistle is a fun element to the set. Whistle two tones at once: if you find something interesting, Alert your friends using the two-toned whistle without scaring the wildlife away!
The set is made of bamboo (which as already mentioned is a highly renewable and sustainable material) and plant plastic which is derived from sugar cane.
Perfect for encouraging kids to be curious and explore the surrounding environment.
Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children
This is a fantastic book for older children to encourage them to explore and enjoy the outdoors. It’s also brilliant for adults to find outdoor activities to try out with younger children. There are so many activities to try out in here and so much to learn. It teaches skills such as how to build a shelter and light a fire without matches. It encourages creativity with outdoor crafts such as leaf printing, stone painting and nature collages. Have fun with bug hunting and building a bird feeder.
The book has tons of photos and illustrations. It’s full of information, ideas and inspiration. Well worth a look if your kids love exploring the outdoors.
Green Toys Gardening Kit
Encourage kids to get green fingers with a gardening kit. There are many eco friendly ways to give a gardening kit. You can give kids a packet of seeds and some eco-friendly gardening tools. Sunflower seeds often work well for young children. Alternatively, Green Toys have done the hard work for you. The kit featured is designed for ages 5 years and above but it really is good for people of all ages (even adults can use it as an introduction to gardening).
The set includes three pots with peapod-shaped tray, trowel, three packs organic seeds of zinnia or basil or teddybear sunflower, and three soil discs. Like all of Green Toys, the plastic has been recycled from curbside collected milk containers. You can do the planting outdoors in the pots, but the kit is designed to start growing indoors. This is fantastic as kids get to see their plants growing everyday which will really keep them interested.
It’s a great introduction to gardening and plant growing, which is obviously a useful skill for eco-conscious kids to learn.
Recycled Watering Can
You can accompany the gardening kit with this watering can also from Green Toys which is also made from 100% recycled plastic in the USA. The watering can is accompanied by a rake and a shovel so little ones can really get involved when gardening.
The set can be cleaned in the dishwasher. This also makes the watering can a great bath toy for younger children.
Maxi Micro Eco Scooter: Green
Maxi micro’s scooters have always been eco friendly as their parts are all replaceable or repairable, so they aim to keep their scooters out of the landfill and be used for many years. Now they have gone one step further and created their eco scooter range. These scooters have decks made out of recycled fishing nets. Micro work with their partners, to recover discarded ocean plastic and transform it into the durable, color-pop material used for their decks.
The scooter featured is designed for 5 to 12 year olds. However, they also make eco versions of their scooters for children under 5 too.
Another eco friendly scooter option is to purchase a used micro scooter from a site such as ebay. When needed you can upgrade parts to keep the scooter in tip-top condition.
Green Toys Elmo Wagon
Another option from Green toys is the Elmo Wagon. Guaranteed to be a favorite with little ones, this can be used both indoors and outdoors. The wagon is made out of 100% recycled plastic in the USA with a cotton rope handle. Toddlers love filling stuff up in the wagon and then carting the items around.