The Absolute Greatest Guide to Green Gifts for Kids

Have no fear! Help is here!

After scouring the web for the best toys for kids that don't contain questionable chemicals like phthalates and BPA or heavy metals like lead, I present you with the ultimate gift: a guide to save you tons of time this holiday season. Forget paging through catalogues (do people still do that in the digital age?) or spending hours traipsing from store to store. You will find everything you need for everyone on your shopping list right here. So, bookmark this page and start amassing the amazing gifts that will light up your child's eyes this season (with the durability to last for many more).

My Healthy Child Wish List

I have to admit, I had such a great time compiling this list of almost 200 gifts! There are so many more options today than when my girls were first born. And, there are so many that are actually affordable! The majority of the gifts in this list are under $30. Amazing. And, these toys are soooo beautiful. The craftsmanship, the colors, the elegance and simplicity - I'm actually considering buying a couple of them to use as sculptural art in my house. (Note: Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement and these products have not been vetted through Healthy Child's quality standards.)

Now that you've got the list, hit the stores! When you're out and about, use this invaluable mobile tool from U.S. PIRG to check the safety status of products and alert watchdogs to unsafe toys as you encounter them.

If you're still stumped after reviewing the wish list, refer to the following tips, list of preferred manufacturers, and tools for even more help.

Tips for choosing toys:

• Opt for solid wood instead of plastic (look for FSC-certified wood [sustainable] that is either unfinished or has a non-toxic coating).
• Choose soft toys made of organic textiles (cotton, hemp, wool, etc).
• If you select toys with batteries, choose rechargeable ones.
• Save money and reduce pollution by considering used toys from your local thrift store, eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, or yard sales (follow these tips for secondhand safety).
• Look for toys made with post-consumer recycled materials and those made with minimum packaging, or packaging made from post-consumer products.

Places where you can recycle, swap or donate toys:

Preferred manufacturers:

(These include some toys that do not fulfill all of the tips above, but they are still preferable to many of the other commonly available options.)

crispina fuchsia
oompa toys
playstore toys
tree blocks
3R Living
maple landmark
green toys
plan toys
i love my planet toys
sckoon organics
Speesees Organics
under the nile

Thinking Outside the Gift Box:

• Choose an experiential gift like tickets to a play or a day at the museum.
• For young kids, you can get away with swapping toys with other parents. Find something your child no longer plays with and trade with another parent. Wrap and re-gift!
• Give the gift of time (especially good for busy parents who need concrete reminders to take time out for the kids). Make some coupons for your child that say things like "good for one hour of playing outside" or "good for 15 minutes of cuddling." You'd be surprised how much a young child enjoys this gift. It's empowering and they get the best gift of all - your love and attention!

One Final Resource:

Print up the Healthy Child Pocket Toy Shopping Guide so you have the tips you need for picking safer presents and a short list of preferred major manufacturers when you're at the store.

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