One of my criteria for buying toys and gifts nowadays is to keep stuff out of the landfill. The gifts on the list for kids below aim not to add any extra waste for the landfill areas on this planet and where possible recycle materials that we already have.
There are consumable ideas, experiences, recycled toys and gifts, online ideas and homemade toys. It may not be 100% perfect, although I have tried, but it should make an excellent starting point when purchasing gifts for kids.
1.) Sprout Pencils – natural and biodegradable pencils. Each Sprout pencil is equipped with a biodegradable seed capsule containing a coveted seed variety. When the pencil is too short to write, simply turn it upside down and plant the stump. If you water it regularly, you’ll see the pencil transform into a plant.
Recycled Cardboard Blocks
2.) A brick set – made of recycled cardboard. Kids really love these oversized building blocks
DIY Eco Friendly Garden
3.) Consider creating an eco friendly garden kit. Buy some biodegradable peat pots and some seeds and your child can create an indoor garden.
4.) Days Out – Swap lego for a day out at a theme park of another exciting adventure.
5.) Online gaming subscriptions for gamers such as Xbox live or Playstation
6.) Chalk – you can get big thick chunks of chalk that can be used outdoors. Great for playing games like hopskotch or tic, tac toe.
7.) Cinema tickets
Recycle Me Kit
8.) The Recycle Me kits contain everything you need to turn household items into creative masterpieces! The set featured contains different materials to create a birdhouse, herb garden, jewelry box, and an owl! It includes all the additional items needed to create up to 4 projects using standard milk cartons. It’s recommended for ages 4 and up.
There are many other kids to choose from. It makes it easy to create art from toilet rolls, egg cartons and other household items. Great for the crafty child.
Reuseable Water Bottle
9.) Reusable water bottle – that they can take to school or for sports
Plush toy made of 100% recycled materials
10.) The Emperor penguin stuffed toy measures 8.5″ and is made entirely of recycled materials. It’s made from 100% post-consumer material and is plastic bead free. The eyes and nose are embroidered so is baby and toddler safe. It comes with an educational hang tag that teaches children about emperor penguins, wildlife conservation, the environment, and what they can do to reduce plastic waste.
It’s sold by free the ocean and every sale funds the removal of 10 pieces of plastic from the ocean.
11.) Homemade lip balm
A good one for teens and tweens. You can make lip balm at home and give it to them as stocking fillers. Or buy them a book like the one below so they can do it themselves. You can use recycled containers to store the lip balm for ultimate eco friendliness and zero waste.
12.) Music lessons – do they want to sing, play piano or guitar
13.) DIY cookie kit – have the ingredients in a glass jar which you already have.
14.) Tickets to see their favourite sports team
15.) Homemade play doh or slime
16.) Secondhand – if there is a specific game or toy they want can you get it secondhand.
17.) Audiobooks – great to listen to at bedtime or in the car. Older kids may appreciate a gift to the audible service on Amazon.
Audible Gift Membership
You can purchase gift memberships to audible for varying lengths including 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. An easy way for kids to get a bedtime story. Older kids can enjoy picking up their own audio books. Kids get one credit every month where they can pick a book that they will then have access to forever.
18.) Bath bombs – for girls and boys. Lush make a great rocket shaped bath bomb which my 7 year old loved for his 7th birthday. You can bring your own packaging to Lush and they will let you take the bath bombs you purchase in your own packaging.
Alternatively you can buy a set of bath bombs. Look for ones which don’t come in plastic wrap and have eco friendly packaging.
19.) Fun shaped soaps
20.) Itunes credit
21.) Pampering for young girls (pedicure, manicure, hairdressers, spa day etc)
22.) E-books – Check out some of the bestselling kid e-books on amazon to give you some ideas.
23.) Music subscription eg – spotify (for older kids who like to listen to music)
24.) Homemade / DIY science kit – It’s very easy to make a homemade DIY science kit for a gift. You can find tons of science experiments you can do at home online. Decide on 3 or 4 science experiments that can be done with household ingredients. Place the ingredients in a shoebox along with instructions on how to do the experiments. Wrap it up and you have your gift. They make lovely activities for parents and carers to do along with their children.
25.) Dress up box for kids – Young children love getting dressed up. You can get secondhand clothes from family, friends, charity shops and online to create a great dressing up box like no other.
26.) Adopt an animal gift pack
Green Toys Skipping Rope
27.) The Green toys skipping rope has handles made out of 100% recycled plastic. The rope is made out of US cotton. Green toys are a very eco-friendly toy company. They save the milk bottles from landfill and use them to make a whole range of toys. They include a tea set, dump truck, car transporter, baby toys, trains and lots more including a bath toy featured below. Amazon do a great selection but other merchants stock these toys as well. In the UK check out the Ethical Superstore.
28.) Online computer games. If they don’t already have a games console, they could get a second hand one from ebay or somewhere else and save it from landfill.
Recycled Bath Tub Toy
29.) Ferry boat with mini cars by Green toys – this ferry boat is great for toddlers and preschoolers and made from 100% recycled plastic.
30.) Planet Love Life – this company make really cute bracelets out of fishing nets and rope. They make a good idea for tweens and teen girls.
31.) Get active – take the kids for an adventure they won’t forget with an adrenaline filled experience. Think climbing walls, go karting, horse riding, ice skating, Go Ape, ride in a tank, a canoee adventure or a helicopter ride.
32.) Sporting tickets – a ticket to see their favorite sports team play.
33.) Photoshoot – older kids may love a makeover day and photoshoot but there are some great themed photoshoot packages you can buy as well (such as a fairy and elf themed shoot).
34.) Recycled notepad – for UK readers check this one out from Protect the Planet.
35.) Recycled pencils – there are pencils that are made out of all sorts of things including newspaper. The Three Leaf colored pencils featured above are made from torn strips of waste paper making them completely tree free, eco friendly and biodegradable.
37.) Chocolate, cookies, sweets. There is lots of ways you can do this zero waste fashion. Make your own or buy zero waste. One way to get sweets is to get a pick a mix with your own container. Buy cookies and cakes from a bakery and request to use your own packaging.
38.) Jigsaws made out of recycled cardboard. Suns out do a great collection for all ages and abilities.
39.) Look what you can make with recycled paper (book) – great arts and crafts book using recycled materials.
Playhouse made out of 100% Recycled Cardboard
40.) Easy playhouse – This one is a great option for toddlers / preschoolers. It’s made of recycled cardboard and can be recycled again once finished with. Kids can draw and decorate it themselves too.
Cate and Levi – Monkey Puppet Making Kit
41.) Monkey Puppet – Create your own one of a monkey puppet from 100% reclaimed wool. The finished puppet is 10″ tall. It typically takes 4-6 hours to finish a puppet from the Cate and Levi kits. It’s a great kit for teaching kids sewing, which means they can start to learn skills which will help them fix clothes and other items in the future (instead of throwing fixable items in landfill.)
The kit includes reclaimed wool, detailed instructions and pattern, hand sewing needle and thread, signature eyes. And the best part it’s zero waste.
The kit is recommended for ages 7+ and parental assistance is encouraged.
Fort / Castle – Toy Storage (with 100% recycled paper frame)
42.) Fort / castle – the frame of this storage unit is made out of 100% recycled reinforced paper, it can be used for play and storage. The storage bins are made out of durable non-woven bonded fabric.
Recycled Card Game – Charades for Kids
43.) The Petit College Chardes for Kids card game is made from using recycled card and printed with vegetable inks.
The game is fantastic as kids can play on their own or the whole family can partake!
It’s easy to learn. Action and noises are allowed but words are not!
Take it in turns to act out the picture for the other players – and whoever guesses what’s on the card wins it! The large icons make it easy for non-readers to join in the fun.
There are five color coded categories which include everyday objects, animlas, on the go, jobs and foods. As an added bonus the cards can also be used as flashcards!