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  • Writer's pictureValinda

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable and Educational Gifts for Kids

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

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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.


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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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids

Wooden toys


Wooden instruments

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys


Wooden puzzle

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

Wooden toolbox

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

Wooden sorting game

These adorable beehive sorting games help develop fine motor skills, as well as color recognition and counting skills in your child.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

Balance board

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

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

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - wooden toys

Crafts


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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - crafts

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - crafts

Beeswax crayons

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-Friendly Gifts for Kids - crafts

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - crafts

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - crafts

Bathroom

Dinosaur toothbrush

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - toothbrush

Bath bombs

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - bath bomb

Stacking cups

Made from natural wheat straw material these stacking cups are a great alternative to plastic toys. They are amazing for the shower or bathtub.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - stacking cups

Submarine toy

Made with 100% recycled milk jugs, this water toy will be great fun to explore the bottom of the tub.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - bath toy

Kitchen


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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - bamboo cups

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - bamboo plate

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - reusable bottle


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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - lunch box

Cooperative games

First Orchard

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - cooperative board game

Hungry bins

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - cooperative board game

Outfoxed

Will you catch the fox? This cooperative board game helps to develop working together and problem-solving skills.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - cooperative board game

Other

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - bag pack


Recycled sunglasses

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - sunglasses

Organic doll

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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - organic 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.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids - growth chart

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 kids

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.


Bonding experience

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.

kids cooking

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


Animal related

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


visiting a zoo

Food related

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


Active

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


girl with skateboard

With others

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


Art

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


kids dancing

Education

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


Miscellaneous

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.


More Eco-Friendly with Kids

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Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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