Kids, especially younger ones, can be pretty easy to shop for. Watch commercials with them and see how often they say “I want that.”
If you’re trying to keep things a little more green and rather less plastic you have a bigger challenge ahead of you. But even then it’s entirely possible to find great green gifts that kids will really welcome.
As children vary so much in what they like, I prefer to recommend stores to shop for them, rather than just particular toys. But I’ll mention a few favorites.
I love Magic Cabin’s stuff. They call their toys “kid powered” as they’re all about the imagination, not the batteries. And their toys are just beautiful. They have a Forest Friends Bower that I can picture my daughter going nuts over. It’s perfect for over the bed as a canopy or off in a corner to encourage imaginative play.
Ok, so this isn’t a store. But it’s a great gift for just about any child in the age ranges that play with play dough.
If you want to make it really special, give the ingredients, containers to store it in, and the recipe, and make it as a project with your child. Time with the parents is a great gift too!
These guys make some amazing wooden toys as well as some practical things. There’s the Learning Tower, for example. It’s a safe stool for kids to stand on, capable of holding up to 500 lbs. and with an adjustable height. They even sell a kit to make it into a playhouse for those times that it’s not being used as a safety stool, or you can buy an easel attachment.
And of course they have plenty of games to choose from, toy trucks, wooden blocks, play kitchens and much more.
These guys aren’t specifically green, but they have some great old style toys available, not just all the current stuff. Stuff like Lincoln Logs and Red Flyer Wagons. You’ll have to watch it a bit to avoid plastic toys, but it’s always good to be able to find your old favorites.
Now, I don’t know that I always agree with what they label as green toys. There are a lot they label as green just for having their Frustration Free Packaging. The packaging is certainly an improvement, but has nothing to do with whether the toy itself is green.
Many of the plastic toys are made from recycled plastic in this category.
There are some great green technology toys available too, such as the Thames & Kosmos Fuel Cell Car and Experiment Kit which allows kids to build a solar powered car and a fuel cell powered car. It sounds great to me for helping kids learn about alternative energy sources.
Don’t forget the possibility of quality used toys. This can be harder to apply to older kids than to ones young enough to not know the difference, but sometimes you can still manage it. eBay can be a great source for many of those toys that you remember so well.
Garage Sales and Thrift Stores
Yet more great places to look for used toys. A bit more of luck can be needed to find particular items, but the prices can be just amazing.