The following is a guest post by the lovely Sara Vartanian. Founder and writer of the green-living resource for families, Green Moms Collective, Sara has a wealth of information and experience to share on giving green. Read on for her thoughts on how to shop for sustainable toys this holiday.
The holidays are the time of the year when we can be tempted to toss aside our eco-friendly sentiments and dive into the excess of Christmas.
As often happens, we’re torn between what we want to do in theory and our reality. We want to give our kids the licensed characters toys that they want so badly (I’m looking at you, Hatchimals) yet we can already picture them abandoned in a few months when a new trend hits. Personally, I’ve stopped trying to convince my family to follow my lead and are resigned to letting them give my children their latest commercial obsession while I focus on sustainable toys for the holidays.
If you want to simplify this holiday season and avoid the clutter that sticks around long after the wrapping paper has been recycled, here are five tips to help navigate the holiday overwhelm and shop for unique and meaningful gifts.
Sustainable Toys & Green Gifts For Kids
1.Toys That Last For Generations
Kids toys don’t last that long before they outgrow them, but a quality toy made of sustainable materials is something that can be loved for generations. Toys made of natural wood, with non-toxic finishes, are going to be as safe for your grandchildren as they are for your children. Wooden toys can also be repaired if they are “loved too hard” and when their lifespan is over, they aren’t going to be on our planet forever.
Toys Your Kids Actually Need
Okay, maybe your kids aren’t going to be excited by pairs of socks but there are items your child needs that make a perfect holiday present. Try pairing organic pajamas with a locally made stuffy, or bubble bath with a recycled bath toy. Bath time is more fun, and you’ve bought something you wanted to buy anyway.
3. Toys That Encourage Connection
With only a few hours to spend together during the school week, games and puzzles can foster quality time connecting as a family. Playing games also helps children develop their fine motor skills and problem-solving skills. When possible, choose games that are made out of wood to last for a lifetime and that can hold up to the occasional tantrum as your child learns to be a gracious player!
Toys That Promote Creativity
Instead of shopping for toys that are based on the latest blockbuster movie, sustainable toys are open-ended, encouraging creativity because they have multiple uses for various ages and stages. And when you swap toys that require batteries with those that don’t, not only are you doing good for the planet, you’re giving your child the opportunity to use their imagination. You might even consider presenting them a bin with loose parts (source them from around your house, outdoors, and a local craft shop) to see what magic unfolds in their play.
Toys That Are New To You
Trading with a trusted friend is a great way to extend a toy’s life, especially those commercial toys (I’m looking at you, Dora) that you (or the grandparents) bought for your little one because they were obsessed with the character. Set up ground rules with your pal: toys must be in pristine condition and be clean! Be sure to check Health Canada’s recall alerts before making the trade.
Sara Vartanian is the founder of Green Moms Collective, a Canadian website dedicated to helping mothers live a green and mindful lifestyle. Sara works with wellness and education businesses to manage their social media and outreach programs. If she’s not on Instagram sharing all things green mom, she can be found wiping green smoothies off her children’s faces or shopping at a farmer’s market.