“What is your biggest struggle with being sustainable with your kids?”
“We don’t want them - but they just keep showing up!”
Whether they come as birthday gifts, with magazines, a trip to the beach, or just every time a grandparent or friend shows up. You all told us loud and clear you want the onslaught of plastic toys to stop!
Unfortunately we can’t hold the family meeting for you (wish we could!), but here are some great alternatives for your war on plastic toys. Maybe drop a subtle hint and send them this list for the next time!
Why not rent?
Kids grow and learn fast and when it comes to toys they like to change it up. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep buying! Companies like Whirli, Toy Box Club, and Lazy Horse Games offer a subscription model on toys and games, so you can enjoy as many as you’d like for a flat rate! We are just getting through a pandemic, so you may be thinking “ewww germs” but don’t worry their websites list clear cleaning & disinfecting policies so it’s nothing to worry about. I’m not sure about you - but our minds are blown.
Show second hand toys some love!
Some toys are loved hard, and some are hardly loved - but there’s no doubt that many toys are suitable to live a second (or third) life with another family after yours is done with them. Whether it be coordinating a consistent hand-me-downs funnel with your friendly neighbours, or spending some quality time on sites like: Preloved.co.uk, Oxfam, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace. There are tons of ‘like new’ toys out there looking for a second home at a discounted rate!
New yet eco alternatives:
Can’t convince the family to rent or repeat? If they must buy new, point them in the direction of more eco-friendly alternatives! Here are just a few examples of toys and stores we know and love:
- Envirotoy: a curated website of plastic free toys options for kids (even the packaging is plastic free), including some great bath toys.
- Rudi & Bear: beautifully toys, handmade & hand painted in their seaside workshop at Bude.
- Scrunch: a brilliant alternative to the cheap plastic alternatives, Scrunch makes beach buckets, spades, and even gardening toys out of silicone. They ‘scrunch’ down so they're easy to pack for play!
Sometimes you just need something right now to solve a gift gap, or you (or a relative!) wants to share a little something special. Ask them to focus on:
- Books or a magazine: Most, such as The Week Junior, no longer wrap themselves in plastic, even when they're delivered to your door.
- Experiences not things: not buying a £10 plastic toy every month would give you £120 to spend on an AMAZING day out together once a year, or a quarterly trip to a local museum or attraction on the train or bus, or even a special night in with the latest release on Sky or Amazon. It's a cliché, but it's a true one, that our time together matters most!
- Instead of plastic toys from each child at a birthday party, suggest that the class club together and buy a voucher (or even just give cash - maybe it feels icky but some appreciate the freedom to choose) to the birthday kid so they can buy one big item they really want.
- and, gulp, I can't believe I'm saying this but.... digital gifts. Five years ago this wouldn't have crossed my mind, but today a digital download - game, book, movie or in-app purchase - might be appreciated all-round more than the plastic toy.
What did we miss? Would love to hear about your sustainable approach to kids toys and the eco-friendly brands you know and love!
Stay tuned next week for Part #2 of this series - SNACKS!