When it comes to eco-friendly gifts for kids, most preschoolers and young children are pretty easy to please. They haven’t been as influenced by friends and the media as older kids, so pretty much any form of building blocks, dolls, art supplies, or games will be a big hit.
Trying to find non-toxic or sustainably made versions of these standby toys can be a challenge. After 10 years of working on our annual green gift guides, we’ve developed zero tolerance for cheap plastic toys… especially when the good brands are making the good stuff so well.
Once you shift your mindset from quantity to quality (besides – too many toys can squelch a child’s creativity), you’ll fall in love with the idea of raising your child with fewer heirloom quality toys. We promise, it’s much calmer than a toy bin that plays music or talks at odd hours of the day and night because it’s filled with overstimulated plastic toys that have no “off” buttons.
If you need some help choosing what types of eco-friendly toys are suitable, check out this article on how to choose age-appropriate toys.
So, here’s our selection of gifts that fall into one or more of the following categories: eco-friendly, non-toxic, wooden toys, ethically made, or high quality and long lasting so they won’t break and end up in a landfill anytime soon.
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ECO-FRIENDLY GIFTS FOR LITTLE KIDS
If you’re buying for little bitty ones, check out this list of green & safe holiday gifts for babies and toddlers.
For older kids, jump to the section of gifts for big kids.
Or find our tween and teen holiday gift guide.
Small children gain big benefits from climbing toys. And this versatile toy encourages imaginative play, creativity, teamwork, and balance.
Safe in every regard, Wiwiurka uses FSC Birch plywood coated with non-toxic stains and sealants. Available in 14 colors, your child can climb, rock, read, build a fort, put on a puppet show and so much more. Seriously, see the photos here for tons of creative uses!
This family-owned brand creates toys based on freedom of play. They believe children should have space to learn and develop on their own, in a stimulating environment that allows for free movement and individuality.
Lovevery offers a curated toy kit subscription. Shipping every three months, these kits are specifically designed for your child’s age.
Support your child’s learning (kits available for babies – children age 4) during important developmental windows with play essentials that are tailored to their exact stage.
All toys are made from sustainable and nontoxic materials, recycled materials, soy based inks, and safe silicones.
Handmade and eco-friendly, it’s a toy organizer and adorable wall art in one! The wheel size is 24″ diameter, slats are 1.5 inches wide – it can hold up to 64 cars.
The tire is an actual refurbished used tire, which keeps these out of landfills.
Embrace your little one’s inner tree hugger from the start! Oeuf’s Okeo-Tex certified merino wool sweater comes in sizes 0-6 months all the way up to 7 years.
Free from any harmful chemicals, this soft, cozy sweater makes a great eco-friendly gift for kids.
This charming dollhouse is the perfect place for your mice and bunnies to call home. Dollhouses are an instant catalyst for imaginative play that can help children develop language, communication and social skills.
Through play, little ones can explore concepts like family, home and relationships, that will help them grow and mature.
Want to keep a little one engaged and safely occupied? This busy board has it all.
Specially designed to entertain small children and help develop motor skills, this educational board also helps encourage logic, memory, finger grip, and attention. A child learns new subjects, forms, and colors. This sensory busy board improves coordination of movements and self-service skills.
If this one is TOO busy for your little busybody, there are plenty of simpler boards to choose from as well.
Create a fun morning routine with your child’s own weather station!
It’s also a fun addition to your homeschool classroom. Made from beech wood and decorated with non-toxic paint, your little meteorologist will love keeping up with the weather.
Aria is a soft organic baby doll with a sweet dusky pink dress with bird embroidery. The dress also has a laced feature on the neck and arms.
Aria is a handmade rag doll and has a soft and huggable body. Aria is the perfect toy for little ones children who need a comforting friend.
Encourage your child’s love of music! This wooden llama is loaded with musical fun and activities.
Includes 4 spinners, 2 gears, 1 maraca tail, 5-bar xylophone, 1 set of notches/washboard for ratchet sound, 2 clacking saddle blankets and 2 mallets. All items are stored on this adorable llama toy to keep your little one’s musical instruments organized.
Start your little one out with solid life skills… which can also increase precision, motor skills, and attention span.
This Montessori inspired gift is hand made from natural pine wood. It includes a Hammer Game, a Geoboard, and a Screw board with a standard screwdriver. Each set has character and charm.
A miniature suitcase complete with pocket compass, binoculars, travel book, and treasure box. Impeccably illustrated and crafted from the finest French materials, this set may become a family keepsake.
This adorably detailed playhouse allows children endless imaginative play with pretend road trips and camping.
Handmade and hand stitched, this camper playhouse features seven windows, embroidered license plate, and patchwork tires
Encourage creativity early on with one of our favorite eco-friendly gifts for kids.
Made from natural beech wood, this play camera allows little ones to imagine they’re a photographer. Turn the removable lens for a kaleidoscope surprise.
Unicorn and Narwhal horns for creating magical drawings! Set includes three Unicorn sidewalk chalk horns and three Narwhal sidewalk chalk horns.
Made by a woman-owned company, these eco-friendly, childhood classics are handmade and perfectly designed for little hands, helping to increase grip strength and fine motor skills while encouraging creative play and imaginative making.
Start your child’s morning and end the day with a beautiful (and surprisingly sturdy) affirmation card.
With concepts like empathy, authenticity, humility, and mindfulness… these messages are also a nice reminder for parents.
This sturdy wooden grocery store allows children to browse and shop, or ring up items.
With a hand cranked conveyor belt, a bagging area, card swipe machine, a realistic beeping scanner, and cash drawer, children will enjoy hours of imaginative play.
In this tender-hearted story, a young penguin learns that his own breath gives him the power to calm his fears.
This sweet story teaches little ones how to use the power of mindfulness to be calm and confident. Ideal for kids ages 3-7.
These 35×35 silk scarves are dyed with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes. Inspiring creative play, what these playsilks can be is only limited by a child’s imagination.
ECO-FRIENDLY GIFTS FOR BIG KIDS
Eco-friendly items are a little harder to find when you’re shopping for big kids. The good news is – older kids don’t typically put toys in their mouths. But we still believe safety and sustainability matter for humans of all ages.
Look for items that will last a long time, rather than the latest cheaply-made trend that breaks or won’t catch your child’s interest in a few months. And don’t overlook classic toys from eBay or shops that specialize in collectors items. Our editor’s sons love getting classic Star Wars toys and Harry Potter LEGO sets.
And, of course, anything that encourages your child’s love of learning, reading, or stimulates their curiosity is a great gift.
Encourage outdoor time and a little healthy competition with a huge ring toss game.
Handmade and the parts separate for easy storage.
These puzzle sets are made from safe, eco-friendly plywood. Your child can make six dinosaurs including T-Rex, Brontosaurus, Spinosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Parasaurolophus.
The edges of the plywood are grooved, so they’re safe for kids. Pieces fit right in, so no tools or glue are required to build.
Each puzzle comes with wooden punch out sheets and easy to follow assembly instructions.
Attract bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and other insects to your garden. They’ll be nice and welcome in their own little hotel made from eco-friendly materials.
This DIY project is great for your young nature lover. The local pollinators (plus your plants) will thank you!
The classic labyrinth game has challenged players of all ages since it was introduced in 1946.
Turn the knobs to balance the steel ball from start to finish; the closer you get to the goal, the more points you score. But be careful, or the ball may fall through a hole and send you back to the beginning. Develops motor skills, concentration, perception, reasoning and – most of all – patience!
The natural wood and challenging aspects of the labyrinth game tops our list of eco-friendly gifts for kids. Recommended for ages 6+.
A great STEM gift idea for kids. They can experiment with gravity, magnetism, and simple physics to get their marble to the finish line, all through hands-on building.
Works with or without screen integration via their app.
Every curious kid needs access to a telescope and a wide open space to view the night sky. Celestron’s 21061 AstroMaster is a great option for beginners.
Check out some of the amazing photos users have taken with just their camera phones through the telescope lens in the review section at Amazon.
This 18×24 puzzle helps develop skills in problem solving, fine motor, concentration, memory, color and shape sorting, and visual reasoning. The theme comes alive in the colorful shaped puzzle.
All the tools – like soft felt, cotton thread, a sewing needle and step-by-step instructions – to make their own felt fruit set (orange, banana, and pear).
No fuss set up so you can bask in the calm that comes from making something with your child. Recommended for ages 8+ due to the sewing needle.
Is your child crazy for animals? Green Kid Crafts’ Become a Zoologist three pack includes Feathered Friends, Safari Adventure, Endangered Animals.
It’s full of Science, Creativity, Crafts, and a whole lot of fun for kids ages 4-10+.
This 3-string guitar is real wood, and is a real guitar. This award winning design is approved by educators, and the guitar is shipped assembled and ready to play. Children can use the included flashcards, or the iOS/Android app to learn to play.
At a super affordable price, this makes the list of active eco-friendly gifts for kids. It also inspires time spent in nature!
This handmade wooden boomerang actually comes back to you. Big kids and even adults will love it.
Big kids construct their own unique animals using the kit and branches they find outside. This fun activity combines creativity and nature.
Kids use the included sustainably sourced materials to build their own fairy house.
Combines building and circuitry to provide educational fun.
GREAT GREEN SHOPS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY GIFTS FOR KIDS
- Bella Luna Toys is a beautiful place to purchase quality, natural-material gifts for the children on your list. The toys are inspired by Waldorf education, and invite open-ended play that nurtures a child’s imagination. Bella Luna is “committed to offering unique natural toys and products for children and families that are safe, healthy and encourage imaginative play. You will find no battery-operated or plastic toys here, the kind that will be played with for a short time before ending up in a landfill.”
- A Toy Garden is another lovely source of natural children’s toys.
- Family Pastimes designs and manufactures cooperative games (all made in Canada).
- Natural Pod – Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Natural Pod has a lovely inventory or gorgeous children’s toys, craft items and games, as well as larger furniture items. Lovely owners who stand behind their products – natural materials, safe finishes, and lots of ‘made in North America’ items.