green toys jenga

Not Your Typical Stuff for Kids – Green Kids Gifts 

Often the plastic toys that come from giant chain stores are not only less healthy for kids, but also have the most packaging. A lot of that packaging is difficult to reuse or recycle. So for our fourth post for our Guide to a Green Holiday in Metro Vancouver series, we have a variety of green kids gift ideas for you! If you have additional ideas, please share them with us! And remember to check out our green gift wrapping post to see how best to wrap your thoughtfully chosen gift without creating more waste. 


Green kids gift ideas:

  • Go homemade! This is particularly great for young kids.  Some ideas include:
    • Homemade playdough
    • Homemade edible finger paint with greek yogurt and some natural food colouring (e.g. beet root powder for red, spinach powder for green, turmeric for yellow, etc.)
    • Homemade face paint
  • Toys made from natural materials, like wood and cotton.
    • These toys usually have less packaging and encourage children to use their imagination instead of batteries to make the toy come alive, and there are so many options available now that fall into this category.
    • You can find everything from sustainably-made play kitchens to kids musical instruments, dolls, and playhouses. Check out this list of eco-friendly kids gifts from Green Child Magazine. 
  • Give ‘Battery-Free’ Gifts – According to the EPA, about 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually.
  • Set up a book, puzzle, or toy swap with other families. Of course make sure you do this while following public health protocols!
  •  Even in lockdown, they are still some great experience gifts that kids can enjoy while at home. Here are some of my favourites that are being offered virtually:

wooden train set

Go with Pre-loved Gifts!

Don’t forget – if you’re going with a physical gift, getting a preloved or gently used item is a great way to further reduce your eco-footprint. There are so many physical and online consignment shop options now where you can find all sorts of kids items, and often in excellent condition. Some of my favourites in the Lower Mainland include Little Earth Consignment, Once Upon a Child, MacGilleycuddy’s Children’s Consignment, Wild Child Co,  2Loops Online Family Store, and Salvation Army. Of course, there are also TONNES of gently used items you can get on sites such as Facebook and Craigslist. If you are on Facebook, make sure you check out your local Buy Nothing group! These are fantastic local community groups where people gift out items they no longer need.


Check out the other posts in our Guide to A Green Winter Holiday in Metro Vancouver series

  1. Artificial vs. Real Trees
  2. Top 5 Green Holiday Decorations
  3. Green Gift Wrapping
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