The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable and Educational Gifts for Kids
Updated: 5 days ago
All kids love receiving gifts and I love giving gifts. That smile on those kids' faces when they receive something special is just priceless. But, I don’t want to give them some random piece of plastic. I prefer to give them something sustainable that will hopefully also teach them something. Here are a few eco-friendly gift ideas for kids.
Don't feel like reading? Watch it instead!
Where to shop for toys
Did you know that in 2019 as much as 80% of all toys end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean and that parents often throw away toys that work perfectly fine just because kids were no longer interested in them? We can do better than that.
I love thrift shopping not only for myself but also for my daughter. Lots of our clothing is thrifted but also her toys are often thrifted. First of all, because she doesn’t care whether or not her toys are new or pre-loved, and second of all, it is much more sustainable. When you purchase secondhand toys no new resources are sourced for those toys making them much more eco-friendly. So, whenever possible I recommend checking out your thrift store first before buying something new.
Instruments are great to inspire creativity in kids. The best part about wooden instruments over plastic ones? The sounds they make are much more muted making it great for parents as well.
There are lots of eco-friendly wooden puzzles to be found but I loved the educational aspect of this one. Kids can puzzle while also learning about their bodies.
Both boys and girls will love this toolbox to improve their basic building skills. It improves hand-eye coordination while this toolbox is made from wood sourced from environmentally sustainable forests.
Wooden stacking blocks
Balance blocks can be simple squares but these stone balance building blocks are on a whole different level. They are made of high-quality wood and coated with eco-friendly paint which is natural, safe, non-toxic, and exquisitely crafted. The hand-polishing process ensures a smooth, burr-free surface for safer child play.
Wooden sorting game
These adorable beehive sorting games help develop fine motor skills, as well as color recognition and counting skills in your child.
Wooden marble run construction
This is a fun toy for both big and small children (and parents as well). This sustainable marble run construction provides endless creative building possibilities and encourages spatial thinking and problem-solving. Made with FSC wood and treated with non-toxic, child-safe finishes of the highest quality.
Wooden mud kitchen
Being outdoors is important therefore this eco-friendly outdoor mud kitchen is great to stimulate creativity and imagination. Made with wood and stainless steel to guarantee endless play for years to come.
A balance board is an amazing open-ended toy as it can be whatever you imagine it to be; a swing, a bridge, a shop, a cabin, a stepping stone, a racetrack, a lounge chair, fitness equipment, a puppet, a small football goal, a teeter popper or a tunnel. The only limit is your imagination.
Sensory play bin
This sensory bin has it all, tweezers for sorting, a brush for treasure hunting, a shovel for tidying up and paving, a spoon to match the container, and other useful objects for endless play
Wooden busy board
Keep your kids entertained for ages with this eco-friendly busy board. This board is made with sustainable and non-toxic materials only making it a great gift for toddlers.
The Creative Kid Coloring Set
This coloring book is made with 100% recycled paper and comes with a set of jumbo beeswax sticks. This coloring set will nurture creativity and help little creators improve their fine motor skills.
Bunny’s Garden Kids Book
This adorable eco-friendly book teaches your kids about how plants are grown and how they can be turned into delicious and healthy meals. This book is made with FSC-certified paper and printed with non-toxic soy ink.
Kids love to color from an early age on but we would like them to color with something eco-friendly, sustainable, and natural. These beeswax crayons are just that. They are made with 100% Beeswax and Food Grade Pigments to Color. They are free from the chemical nasties like petro-chemicals, paraffin wax and fillers often used to make crayons.
Eco Modeling Dough
Kneading art is a great way to stimulate creativity but these types of modeling dough are often made with synthetic pigments and plastic. This vibrantly pigmented Eco-Dough is handmade in small batches using safe, natural, and non-toxic ingredients making it safe for your kids to play with.
Natural earth paint
Which kid doesn’t love to paint. Especially with their hands/fingers. To avoid their skin coming in contact with hazardous chemicals, we choose natural paint. This paint is 100% non-toxic and eco-friendly to create a creamy, water-based paint when mixed with water.
Dental care is important for kids as soon as the first tooth is showing. This means that you need to take care of their teeth. When they are small you can decide on a toothbrush but once they are older they start to get an opinion and to choose a nice toothbrush. This dinosaur toothbrush could be a great solution. This toothbrush is made from all-natural organic plant material, with a fully biodegradable and compostable handle, a truly eco-friendly and vegan-friendly product that teaches our little ones about the importance of sustainability and protecting our environment while taking care of their teeth.
Make bath time an adventure with the Kids' Colorful Bath Bombs. Made with 100% food-grade coloring, these colorful bath drops only need about 2 minutes of fizzing in the tub to turn the bath a vibrant color your little one will love and enjoy.
Made from natural wheat straw material these stacking cups are a great alternative to plastic toys. They are amazing for the shower or bathtub.
Made with 100% recycled milk jugs, this water toy will be great fun to explore the bottom of the tub.
Bamboo drinking cups
Kids need to drink obviously but for smaller kids, glass is risky as they are still a bit clumsy and glass falling from their hands is a real possibility. We don’t want our kids to drink from plastic so we need a different sustainable alternative. These bamboo drinking cups are great as they are eco-friendly and they won’t break when dropped.
Bamboo kids plate
Made from organic eco-friendly bamboo this super cute plate will make for fun mealtimes. The food-grade silicone ring underneath will make sure you can place it securely on any hard, flat surface to make sure it stays in place (and prevent a mess.
Reusable kids bottle
A reusable bottle is not only great for you, but your kids also would like one. This stainless steel, spill-proof one will make sure your kids drink plenty at school.
Stainless steel lunch box
Also their lunch we want to pack sustainably, therefore we choose a fun colored one so we are sure they will use it.
This is a super fun game that even the smallest kids can play while it remains fun for even older kids. This game teaches them to follow directions while reinforcing color recognition, quantities, and counting.
Teach kids about reclining in a fun way. This game teaches them about the different types of waste and why recycling and composting are important.
Will you catch the fox? This cooperative board game helps to develop working together and problem-solving skills.
Eco-friendly bag pack
A sustainable bag pack is a must for kids who go to school but the bag pack also needs to look nice otherwise your kids won’t use them. Fluf has got you covered with this gorgeous eco-friendly bag pack.
Protect your kids' eyes with these cute eco-friendly sunglasses. These ultra-light and flexible glasses are made with 100% recycled rubber from tires pulled from the world's largest landfill in Kuwait. They offer 100% UVA/UVB protection to keep sensitive eyes safe.
This doll is a handmade rag doll and has a soft and huggable body. She is the perfect soft doll for children needing a soothing doll or for those looking for a comforting empathy doll.
Organic canvas growth chart
Kids love to see how much they have grown so this growth chart is great to track all the growth milestones.
Experience Gift Ideas for Kids
Kids love spending time with us so why not make the most out of it by giving them a great experience gift they can enjoy together with you. Next to it is a fun activity for both you and your kids there are lots of benefits for experience gifts over physical gifts.
What are the benefits of experience gifts
80% of all toys end up in landfills once kids have outgrown them. While many of these toys are still good enough to use by other kids. Parents often either don’t know what to do with those toys or simply don’t bother donating them. Next to this, research has shown that an experience is perceived as more valuable compared to a physical gift. Therefore an experience gift is a much better choice.
Experience gifts don’t clutter
Let's be honest, most kids have too many toys already and often they just lay around the house cluttering up your home. As experience gifts are not physical items, they will not clutter your home.
When giving an experience gift to someone, they often don’t do this alone. They either go with friends or parents making it a great experience for everyone involved. Because you experience something fun together, you create a stronger bond that will last a lifetime.
Prevents competition or envy
Because an experience gift can be enjoyed by multiple people, there is less envy and competition as everyone received the same gift making it a much more enjoyable experience altogether.
It lasts longer
My daughter still remembers the day we took her out to have pancakes on a boat. To her it was such a special occasion, she will never forget it (even though she was only 4 at the time). The memory of an experience gift lasts much longer as it often leaves a much deeper impression in our minds.
How to ask for experience gifts
If you rather not receive physical gifts either for yourself or your kids, just be honest about it. This not only prevents disappointment but also makes sure you and your kids receive the gifts they want. If you send out (digital) invitations, you can simply put it on the invitation that you would like experience gifts and add a few examples for those who have no idea what these are.
How can I give an experience instead of physical gifts?
When I gave a day at a climbing park to the son of a friend I designed a specific card for this activity to give to him while I (secretly) gave the money for that activity to mom.
Birthday cards in general are a great way to bring the message of the experience gift. If possible, also include the activity and the date for this activity so they have something to look forward to and know when to expect to go.
100+ Experience Gifts
1 Zoo visit
2 Animal sanctuary visit
3 Sponsor an animal
4 Visit the local wildlife preserve
5 Horseback riding lesson
6 Go to a petting zoo
7 Visit the local aquarium
8 Cook a meal (Childs choice)
9 Picnic at a park
10 Bake cookies/pie with mom or dad
11 Go out for ice cream
12 High tea (or other drink) date
13 Chocolate tasting
14 Indoor playground visit
15 Visit a rock climbing park
16 Visit an outdoor tree climbing park
17 Passes for an indoor trampoline park
18 Pool/indoor waterpark visit
19 Visit an indoor ski park
20 Go ice skating
21 Go roller skating
22 Go for a hike
23 Go for a bike ride
24 Visit a National park
25 (Backyard) camping trip
26 Ticket to an amusement park
27 Tickets to a water park
28 Volunteer at a local event
29 Go to the beach
30 A train ride somewhere
31 A boat ride
32 Martial art classes
33 Gymnastic classes
34 Tennis lessons
35 Go fishing
36 Book a summer camp
37 Surfing lessons
38 Diving lessons
39 Snorkeling lessons
40 Go geocaching
41 Laser tag
42 Go karting
43 Skateboarding lessons
44 Factory tour
45 Visit a flight simulation centre
46 Build a bird house together
47 Build an insect house together
48 Date with mom or dad (without siblings)
49 Go to the movies
50 Mini Golf
51 Visit a festival
52 Visit a magic show
53 Invite friends for a sleepover
54 Movie night with kids movies/snacks of choice
55 Visit a sport event
56 Visit a circus (like Cirque du Soleil)
57 Visit a concert
58 Visit a musical
59 Visit the theater
60 Visit a comedy show
61 Visit an ice show (like Disney on ice)
62 Escape room
63 Visit an arcade
64 Plan a treasure hunt around the house
65 Build a tree house
66 Build a fort
67 Make a movie
68 Bowling date
69 Karaoke night
70 Game night (board or video games)
71 Dress up
72 Photo shoot (when dressed up)
73 (At home) mani/pedi session
74 A weekend with grandparents
75 Overnight hotel stay
76 Visit a farm
77 Visit a greenhouse
78 Visit a vineyard
79 Painting lessons
80 Sewing lessons
81 Knitting lessons
82 Jewelry making class
83 Pottery classes
84 Dance classes
85 Circus classes
86 Acting lessons
87 Science classes
88 Cooking class
89 Baking class
90 Music lessons
91 Swimming lessons
92 Visit a museum
93 Plant a garden
94 Library membership
95 Language lessons
96 Donation to a charity of Childs choice
97 Kids picks the meal
98 Kids picks their own/your clothing
99 Cupcake decorating class
100 Yoga classes
101 Meditation classes
I hope this list of eco-friendly gifts for kids gave you some inspiration on what sustainable gift to give your kids (or nieces/nephews) on their next birthday.