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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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