7 Eco-friendly Alternatives to Toys
Studies show that the fewer toys children have, the more creatively they play. But what do you give them as Christmas presents if not toys? At Christmas we follow the rhyme ‘something to read, something to wear, something to play with, something to share’. But what to choose for the last two? Children can be harsh critics when it comes to receiving gifts. And it becomes even more complicated when you’re attempting to give a great eco-friendly Christmas gift.
Here are seven options for eco-friendly gifts for children that are not toys.
Memberships or season tickets make an excellent gift if you’re looking for a family-friendly activity. You can buy memberships for a single person or for the whole family. They’re especially good if you’re trying to pick a gift for siblings.
Children tend to prefer activities that are hands-on, so it’s best to avoid activities that require a lot of reading or a long attention span, especially for little ones. Some places you could consider are:
- Zoos or animal sanctuaries (it’s even better if they can interact with the animals)
- Historical or theme museums
- Science museums
- Art galleries
- Sports series
- Theatre or dance company seasons
Children love receiving items in the mail. Subscription boxes have become very popular over the past few years and there is a great variety for children. You can choose craft, activities, stickers, DIY… I love them because they give you an opportunity to choose a box that is specific to your child’s interests. Magazine subscriptions offer the same opportunity and the gift keeps giving all year!
Classes are a great way to get your child involved with learning something new and it may give them an opportunity to discover a new hobby. Ask at your local library or community centre to find out what sort of classes are offered in your community.
Classes can be expensive, but there are often class discounts around Christmas time.
Depending on your child’s interests, choose physical activities like sports, dance, horseback riding, boating and others. If your child is more artistic or experimental, then consider enrolling them in cooking, science, or art classes.
Kits are an excellent gift for your child if they happen to be more hands-on. They’re a great way to introduce children to different subjects, as you can find kits available for almost any kind of activity. You can also easily put one together yourself, with a bit of imagination.
Some ideas for kits are:
Not all commercial kits use eco-friendly materials, so check before you buy. We also recommend that you stay away from kits that only provide one or two uses, as these often contain cheap materials which cannot be reused, and provide limited entertainment for your child.
Coupons make an excellent gift for older children. Not only will you be able to teach them about how to use coupons and purchase goods for themselves, but you will also be giving them a coupon that they are able to use on items that interest them.
Or you can create your own coupons for your child. For a younger child, make a coupon booklet that they can give to you for different rewards or the chance to get out of chores. This is a great way to help them learn how to manage their time and decide when it’s best to use the coupon.
You will find many different types of snack packs or gift baskets online that offer unique healthy foods and snacks. This can help open up your child to new flavours, but it’s also great if your child has a favourite type of snack that isn’t available all year round.
If you are buying food for a younger child, we recommend that you consider purchasing foods that are smooth. There are some great sites online that offer child safe snacks as well as soft foods, such as flavoured honey, chocolates and fruit pouches.
7. Handmade Gifts
Handmade gifts are also a great pick because they provide you the opportunity to personalize the gift you’re giving. Children love knowing something unique was made just for them. With simple crafting skills, you can create amazing puppets, dolls, or stuffed animals and even teach your child how to make one themselves.
As you can see, there are many eco-friendly gifts to choose from that are not toys and won’t add to the clutter. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to the items on this list, but I hope that this gives you some ideas for Christmas this year.