GrowingSlower blog Shannon Brown
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7 Green Gifts for Toddlers

If you’re searching for a more natural version of the holidays, it can be a little daunting to find gifts for toddlers that are quality, sustainable, local, non-toxic, low clutter, and affordable.If you’re the friend or family member tasked with finding an eco-friendly gift for the children in your life, keep reading for 7 green gift ideas for kids.

I recently passed a sign at a local Home Depot that said, We have Christmas in stock. Of course, the holidays should not be defined by what is on store shelves, but it is impossible to ignore the emphasis our culture puts on consumerism at the holidays. 

This is the time of the year many naturally-minded parents have learned to dread. However, the holidays don’t have to be the time of consumption and clutter that we have come to expect. It’s a great time to stop and ask ourselves what we want to teach our children about the relationship between consumerism and family.


Save money and cut the clutter with these 7 Green Gifts for Toddlers

1. A Special Outing

Your time is the most meaningful thing you can give the child in your life this holiday season. Create a special outing that the two of you can enjoy together.  The memories created while spending time together will last infinitely longer than anything you can put under a Christmas tree.

2. Membership

Give the gift of a family membership or season pass to a local zoo, water park, theme park, or museum. Many memberships are set up to include the whole family and even a couple of guests. This is a gift that kids will truly enjoy for months to come. Even better, many season passes are deeply discounted at this time of year.

3. Music

Toddlers love music! BabyE starts dancing as soon as he sees I’m about to turn on the tunes. Luckily, there are lots of kids albums that parents can enjoy too. Our current favorites are the Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson and Sing Me To Sleep Indie Lullabies. You don’t have to stick to just kids music. Anything from The Beatles to Bob Marley brings on the dancing and giggles. Since albums are all available for digital download this gift can be a no-waste, clutter-free option.

4. Art Supplies

A friend recently introduced me to the Wee Can Too brand of edible art supplies. Even babies and toddlers who can’t always keep their fingers out of their mouths can participate in arts and crafts with these non-toxic edible finger paints, crayons, and sidewalk chalk. You could even make your own art supplies out of common kitchen ingredients.

5. Books

Books make an excellent gift. They are compact, rarely made of plastic, and provide hours of entertainment for little ones. Anyone with a toddler knows they love to read their books over and over again each day. To personalize the gift, you could write a special inscription in the cover to remind the child of you. Our current favorites are the interactive Sneetches on Beaches by Dr. Seuss and the Baby Touch and Feel series.

Last Christmas, BabyE received a book with the voices of my sister and brother-in-law recorded reading the story. The Recordable Storybook is one of his very favorite books to read and reminds us all of our loved ones who live far away.

6. Contribute

Rather than a child receiving a bunch of inexpensive gifts, it would be greener and perhaps more special to receive one very special present. It could be any range of items or experiences. Ask the parents if they have something in mind that they are saving up for, and see if you can go in with several other family members to make that wish come true. Maybe it’s a special class or camp, a vacation, music lessons, or some other special experience.

7. Green Toys

If you absolutely can’t live without seeing the child in your life open up a wrapped toy at the holidays, there are many green toys available at affordable prices. There is absolutely no reason to reach for the brightly colored plastic of the big toy manufacturers. I have been really happy with the quality of Melissa & Doug toys that BabyE has been gifted. He especially loves the Jumbo Knob Wooden Farm Puzzle, Rainbow Stacker, and Flatbed Tow Truck. Baby also enjoys the beautiful Haba brand toys he has received.  If you’re looking for something a little more local, there are countless eco-friendly toys on Etsy.What is your go-to gift for toddlers? Please share your ideas in the comments!


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  1. Love this post! We get so stressed about finding the perfect gift we forget what the season is really about. Simplifying gift giving makes it more meaningful and fun!

  2. These ideas are great! I hadn’t thought about giving a membership as a gift–I’ve really wanted a zoo pass, but I only think about those during the spring and summer! Great idea!

    • I think it’s as big of a gift for mom as it is for the kids. Then we have a fun way to occupy them all summer that is already paid for! You can take a picnic lunch and avoid spending anything.

  3. Excellent suggestions! These are all things my little one would love, love, love! And me too : )

  4. I was just discussing with my husband that the party line for gift ideas is ballet or gymnastics classes. My daughter has been begging for them since she heard the concept, and I know she will love them more than any object we could give her (except perhaps ballet and tap shoes). Museum and zoo memberships are another great idea that I think I’ll add to the list. Thanks for the fantastic ideas!

  5. Great list! My kids would love to do or receive anything on this list! I think it is important for our kids to know from a young age that they are not going to get 50 presents (each) under the tree every year. We carefully select a few gifts and then maybe something bigger for each kid. I love that my kids love getting educational toys and art supplies, because they are things I would buy anyways! :)

  6. This is a great list. I love giving people books for the holiday and my sons love books too. I have been thinking a lot about buying some green kids toys this Christmas. I love wooden toys and teethers.

  7. Thanks! I’m going to file these ideas away for Christmas shopping!

  8. Great list! I’d also like to add to it homemade gifts for those that sew, knit, do woodworking, etc. those that don’t can find delightful ecofriendly handmade goods at Etsy and be supporting a family owned business as well.

    • Oh geesh Karen! How did I forget to mention handmade?! Thanks for the reminder!

  9. I’ve been quietly suggesting experience gifts to the grandparents in hopes of reducing the number of toys that come into my home. My mom is on board, though my mil is taking a little longer to convince. She likes to see the kids unwrap stuff.

  10. We love Green Kid Crafts! An eco friendly kid’s craft subscription box that is mailed out to us every month.

  11. It’s been fun for me to shop for Addie this year because she’s at such a fun age. You don’t have to spend much to make her happy! We LOVE the Green Toys. Have you bought any of them? They are made from all recycled materials and are made here in the USA. We bought her the pink dump truck.

    Books are also a fabulous gift. I really don’t think kids can have too many books. And when Addie looks at her animal books she gets so excited!

    • It’s so great to find gifts that are made in the USA as well as green! I’ll have to look into them. I agree about not having enough books. Especially for toddlers, the books are so short we go through a LOT in one day, and I don’t like to repeat too many times. Although BabyE can’t help having his favorites that we read over and over.

  12. Books are always a favorite for me and I try to gift them to everybody as well.

  13. We’ve been asking family members to get us memberships this year instead of more stuff.

  14. I love giving experiences too! It’s easy to forgo doing all kinds of fun stuff until someone gifts it to you..

    • That’s so true! It’s great to get a fun gift and be able to enjoy it guilt free.

  15. For toddlers – why not give a tree that they can plant with parents and watch grow? Fruit trees such as apple trees can be that much more of a gift!


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