Toys are super tough and with a birthday or holiday always looming, I am constantly dreading what will come our way. The worst offender, in my eyes, is the recently popular LOL dolls. Yes, they are awful. Not only am I not thrilled with their clothing (or lack thereof), but their biggest draw for my daughter is also my biggest issue- the plastic wrapping. Not just one or two layers of it, but on average, 10 plastic pieces for every one doll! They market the joy of opening lots of little presents to prolong the joy, but do you know who is not feeling joyful when those things are unwrapped?! ME! And the ocean that will eventually have to house that plastic! I may have lost the battle on LOLs in my house, but here are some swaps you might like during your eco shopping binge tonight.
1. SEBASTIAN THE LAMB | CUDDLE+KIND
Every kiddo needs a lovey they can cuddle up with and drag through mud puddles with. This sweet lamb is fair trade, and is hand knit from 100% cotton yarn—plus, with each doll purchase, cuddle+kind donates ten meals to children in need. They have a ton of creatures for your kiddo!
2. GARDEN IN A CAN | UNCOMMON GOODS
A friend of mine has a little girl that is wild about gardening so I am planning this sweet little tin for a christmas gift. What a fun way to learn about sustainable living and gardening while kids are stuck at home!
3. 42-PIECE SET | TEGU
I wish this was a thing when I was a kid! This magnetic block set has infinite possibilities and is built to last — I might even enjoy these too. These simple wooden blocks are made from sustainably-harvested hardwoods and contain no lead, plastic, or any other toxins (the premium lacquer finish is water-based).
4. BEEP THE ROBOT | MANHATTAN TOY COMPANY
We love toys that encourage creative exploration, and this magnetic wood robot combines puzzle elements with free play that kids will love. Stack it up as a robot, or deconstruct it and turn the pieces into whatever your imagination can come up with.
5. LABYRINTH | BRIO
The labyrinth has withstood the test of time, and is a challenging game that kids 6 and older—and adults, too—will love playing for years to come. Plus, we love that BRIO is dedicated to responsible, ethical, and sustainable toy manufacturing (this game is made from FSC-Certified wood!)
6. WOW IN THE WORLD SUBSCRIPTION
The gift that keeps on giving, this annual subscription to National Geographic Kids is the perfect gift for the curious young ones in your life. This magazine helps them discover the world around them in an accessible, cheerful way and gets kids excited about learning.
7. NAMETRAIN TOWN SET | MAPLE LANDMARK
There’s nothing quite as magical as a toy train set under the tree when you’re a young child. This set by Maple Landmark is made in the USA from New England maple, and beautifully decorated with nontoxic paint and finishes. This is a gift that will be a toy chest favorite for your kids, and their kids too.
8. PALOMINO MONO | PLAN TOYS
Another holiday classic, this beautiful rocking horse is a modern take on a timeless toy. Made from reclaimed rubber wood, this horse is sustainably made and brings a little bit of nature into your home as your child is developing.
9. Anything Melissa & Doug
From family games to doll houses and puppets, Melissa & Doug creates kids toys with the sole purpose of encouraging kids to see new possibilities. They’re affordable, easy to find at most toy stores and durable enough to pass on from sibling to sibling and beyond.
10. Green Toys
Green Toys uses recycled milk jugs to make durable, colorful plastic toys your kiddos will get hours of joy from. All Green Toys products are also packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard and printed with minimal color.