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. It's just another thing that's hard about parenting. We want to give our kids the licensed characters toys that they want so badly yet we can already picture them abandoned in a few months when a new trend hits. Personally, I'm resigned to let the grandparents give my kids their latest commercial obsession while my husband and I shop for healthy and 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, consider shopping within these four categories of unique and meaningful gifts. They can all be found at terra20, a Canadian store that is committed to healthier alternatives.
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. Unlike the vintage toys, we played with at our grandparents which can be covered with lead paint, 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. My top choices for toys that will be loved for years are the Grimm's Earth Pieces, the Safari Story Express, and the French Cocotte Maxi Kitchen.
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. Consider pairing Ella's Botanicals Bubblemania bubble bath free from the toxic ten ingredients with Green Toys recycled bath toys that double as a hair rinsing tool. Bath time is more fun, and you've bought something you wanted to buy anyway.
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. It forces you to sit around a table and look each other in the eye. Playing games also helps children develop their problem-solving and fine motor skills like the square Puzzle Stacker , HaPe Toys' Pallina, or the Kubik Slide. Look for games that are made out of wood to last for a lifetime and that will 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. We have a collection of characters that sit unused in a bin but my children's building blocks, art items, and plain characters like these reclaimed wooden knights are the ones they reach for time and again. Don't forget that by eliminating toys with batteries like this wooden fire truck, not only are you doing good for the planet, you're giving your child the opportunity to use their imagination.
And before you start shopping, sign up for terra20's Clean Start program, a savings program for parents of children ages 0-5 years. When you're shopping for your children's toys at terra20, you can relax knowing it's all good there, no harmful chemicals will be found in your child's toys.
Disclosure: I am a terra20 Clean Start program ambassador, and I received compensation to write this post. I shop from terra20 for my own family and as always, all opinions are my own.