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Recycled, Zero Waste and Eco Friendly Gift Ideas For Toddlers

by | Sep 26, 2018 | Children, Toddlers, Zero Waste | 0 comments

Toddlers like to have and play wth toys and it’s nice to give them some fantastic toys for birthdays and Christmas. However, sometimes it can seem like overwhelm and like you are massively adding  to the hugte amounts of plastic and other waste that we collectively contribute to.

This article has lots of gift ideas for toddlers that are more eco friendly. They are made out of recycled materials or are made from materials which are more eco friendly. Or they don’t contribute any extra waste altogether.

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Green Toys

Green Toys are a fantastic toy company which make their toys out of recycled milk jugs and the like (think yoghurt pots etc). They make 100% recycled toys.  So you know it’s not adding any additional waste to the environment when you buy these toys.

They make lots of different toys which are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. Some examples include tea sets, vehicles, trains, shape sorters and lots more.

The toy featured  is a bath toy. It can be played with on dry land or on the water (in the path, in an inflatable or swimming pool).


If you want to go completely zero waste, what about buying an audiobook for a toddler.

You can also get a trial to audible trial where you get listen to books for free. As part of the trial you get this audiobook (or another one of your choosing) plus a second, free.

Once your trial is up you do have to pay monthly but there are many audiobooks which toddlers will enjoy include “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See”.

Cardboard Toys

There are some amazing toys made out of cardboard that toddlers will love. Obviously the best thing about cardboard toys is that they are easy to biodegrade once you’ve finished with.

Some ideas include a playhouse, giant building blocks, playsets, cardboard cameras and lots more. Toddlers may enjoy scribbling on some of these toys as well. This playhouse is made out of recycled cardboard and is a great one to decorate.

Mondo Blocks are also made out of recycled cardboard and are fab for making great structures.

Petit Collage is a great company to check out as their toys are made out of recycled cardboard. And they make toys for all ages too.

Wooden Toys

There are tons of wooden toys for toddlers and most plastic toys will have a wooden toy version. Look for wooden toys which are made from sustainably sourced and certified wood to minimize the environmental impact.

There are many advantages of buying wooden toys for toddlers. They are sturdy and hard wearing so will last a long time and can be passed down through generations of kids.

Wooden toys generally don’t have the noise and lights that many plastic toys do. This can help kids with their own creativity and own imagination. As there isn’t sound and movement from these toys, toddlers can make their own.

Look out for toys from Plan Toys and Bigjigs which make wooden toys made of reclaimed rubber woods. Rubberwood is a byproduct of the latex production process. Rather than the wood being discarded at the end of its useful life, it is harvested from replenishable forests and used in our toy production. It is a solid hardwood, perfect for producing toys.



Bath Bombs For Kids

Bath bombs can make a nice gift for toddlers. Depending on the ones you get they can change the color of the water in the bath. My son loves the rocket one from Lush. You can buy it from Lush and bring your own packaging to take it home in. O

Otherwise there are some fab organic, vegan bath bombs you can find online. These bath bombs fizz with rich and colorful bubbles & foam.



Handmade / Homemade Toys

Rather than buying toys that are mass produced and normally made of plastic or other materials that are harder to recycle or biodegrade think about looking for handmade toys. Or if you are crafty and have the time you can make your own. If you can’t make your own, do you have a relative who likes to do that sort of thing that would like a gift idea for your

There are lots of materials you can make toys from that are more environmentally friendly than the plastic variety. Some ideas include knitting toys. There are some great books which give knitted patterns for toys. Check out over this book with over 30 cute & easy knitting patterns. Or check out pinterest for some ideas. There are lots of toys you can knit such as a mermaid, kitchen play food, balls, a fire engine, soft toys, little dolls, even a castle (if you have the skills).

Pinterest is a goldmine for finding ideas of homemade toys you can make. From the easy peasy such as homemade play doh, to toys made of felt, cardboard toys to toys using bits and pieces around the house. Some ideas include a homemade bowling set. Reuse plastic bottles and / or milk jugs as the bowling pins. Then a ball can be used to knock the pins down. Make your own foam lacing shapes to hone fine motor skills. It’s as easy as punching holes in foam shapes with a hole puncher, then using shoe laces to thread through the holes. Cardboard shapes can also work.

If you want to buy something, etsy is a good place to look for handmade toys which may be more ethical than the plastic stuff you can buy elsewhere.

Craft Supplies

Toddlers are at an age where they may be starting to experiment with holding thick crayons or chalks and starting to scribble and draw. They may enjoy finger painting and other types of art too.

Therefore some eco friendly craft supplies can make a fab gift. Think recycled paper, chalks and eco friendly crayons. Chalks are good because if they are thick and chunky, they are perfect for little hands to hold. They can also be used outdoors on the concrete so you don’t even need any paper.

First Games For Toddlers

There are many first games for toddlers that tend to be more eco friendly than other toys.

For example there are some great eco friendly memory games, like this one from plan toys and this one made from recycled paper from Petit Collage.

There are lots of card games which are great for playing snap and memory games and will be great for children from around age 2 1/2 or 3 (depending on the child). Some of these aren’t made of recycled cardboard but they will be easy to recycle once finished with.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Another fab gift idea for a toddler is their first jigsaw puzzle. Again, petit collage make some excellent jigsaw puzzles for young children. They are made out of recycled cardboard and even the packaging has been designed to be more enivironmentally friendly, using rope for the box handle instead of plastic. The smallest set they do is with 3, 4, 5 and 6 piece jigsaw puzzles.
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