Let’s face it, it's not easy...they’re everywhere! Even with rules in place and the best intentions, preventing plastic toys from entering your home all together is nearly impossible, but at the very least we can reduce the amount that manages to sneak it’s way in.
If you’re like most people these days then you’re becoming more and more aware of the issues and damage that plastics are having on our environment and wildlife. Thankfully even the smallest changes to our daily routines when it comes to reducing plastic and it’s usage, can make a big difference.
When it comes to toys however, things can be a little more tricky! For obvious reasons, children enjoy playing with them and people love giving them as gifts and don’t necessarily think that far ahead as to where it will end up once the fun is over. Unfortunately for the majority, they end up in landfill and as we all know, that’s where they’ll stay!
You don’t have to go far to see how many plastic toys are thrown away. Just have a look the next time the council has a clean up! We recently drove down a street that was lined with things ready to be collected by council and almost every single pile had at least one plastic toy stacked on top.
I’m not going to sit here on my high horse and pretend that we don’t have any plastic toys in our home…I told you they sneak they’re way in! Thankfully we only have a few pieces, the majority of which have been passed on from relatives. It’s not easy, but we definitely made it clear to our friends and family from the beginning that we wanted to avoid plastic toys as much as possible. Setting this up from the start has helped us avoid being inundated at Birthdays and Christmas…so far! Well that and possibly because we do own a toy store so we kind of have the toy thing covered!
Now, I know what a lot of people might be thinking - yes, that’s true but plastic toys are so much more affordable and easier to access - and for the most part that is true, however, thankfully the times they are a changing! Toys that are made from eco friendly, sustainable materials are becoming more and more popular so the demand for them is increasing which in turn means that they are much easier to come by and also much more affordable.
There are so many different brands out there now that are helping people become more conscious about choosing toys and gifts for their children and loved ones, as well as understanding that quality over quantity is a healthy practice for both our children and the environment.
So here’s my top 5 tips that might help you make your gift giving a little more eco friendly and hopefully a little less stressful!
1. Think longterm! Sometimes it’s a good idea to purchase a toy that might start out as a pretty piece on their shelf before becoming a beautiful toy that will grow with them. A great example of this is our very popular stacking puzzle animals and larger wooden puzzles that are both beautiful and educational.
2. If there is something that you know they’ll love but is a little over budget, consider purchasing it as a group. It’s less stressful for everyone trying to choose something individually and reduces the amount of gifts the child gets which can be overwhelming and helps them appreciate what they do receive a little more. These types of toys are also heirloom pieces that they’ll treasure and love to pass on when they’re older - think our beloved Dump Truck - Robur!
3. For the child that has everything - I recently started a new tradition with my nephews and nieces for their birthdays where I take them out for the day and do something special with just them on their own. This is ideal for both of us! I don’t have to stress about finding them something that I hope they’ll like or buy them something that they don’t like and don’t use. We get to spend quality time together, they love it and we get to make some special memories which we otherwise wouldn’t have.
4. I also started another tradition for Christmas time, because again, these kids already have everything! It may not appeal to all but I make a donation to a charity of their choice. It’s a great way to remind them that there are a lot of other people in the world that don’t get to enjoy Christmas the same way they do or even have the chance to open a gift, and again, it prevents the clutter of gifts that are often played with for a few moments and then end up being thrown away.
5. Depending on their age, consider purchasing them lessons to a class where they can learn a new skill, you could even go with them and enjoy it together! There a lots of places that do classes for both children and adults - think bread making or chocolate making, surfing lessons, trapeze school…the possibilities are endless! It’s a great way to make some amazing memories together and boost their confidence.
I think in general the key is to get organised early and think outside the square a little, rather than doing that last minute dash to the shops and buying something under pressure and just for the sake of it.
Thank you so much for reading. If you have any other ideas, comments or suggestions, leave a comment below!
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