Today we have the chance to change the way we shop for kids. From toys to clothes to educational materials, we can try to purchase things that are good for the environment, made in sustainable ways, and are ultimately easy to repurpose or recycle. Avoiding plastic whenever possible is a kindness we can give to the earth.

Choosing products that can inspire a love of nature in children, who will one day be the custodians of the earth, is another thing that can help in the future fight against climate change. Gifts that stimulate their curiosity and offer learning opportunities may contribute to their development into insightful, involved, compassionate adults.

Finally, when considering what gift to give a child, it may be time to turn away from the endless stream of unwanted toys and instead give a child an experience. One child psychotherapist claims that a walk in the woods, a day at the beach, or a weekend road trip exploring new places can be an investment in your child’s brain development, in addition to creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Our children are going to inherit a world filled with climate challenges. It is their generation that will have the opportunity to make a world of difference.

Henry and Etta


When Henry was a wee thing, his mother, Amy, was always disappointed with the selection of clothes available for boys. So she started making her own. Since she loved thrift store and digging for hidden goodies, it only made sense that she started making his clothes from these repurposed treasures. Now, several years later—with two wee lads at home—it’s grown into a little business.
Henry and Etta strives to make fun, playful kids wear for both boys and girls. Because sometimes girls like dinosaurs and boys like pink, they try to have a variety of options for all kids. Bright patterns adorn raglan dresses and tees for older kids, and sweet baby duds for the teeniest ones.

Reusing these gently worn clothes helps make their products eco-friendly. They strive to reduce waste by designing clothes and accessories that use up even the smallest pieces or fabric. Patchwork blankets and bibs are made from scraps and backed with organic cotton fleece, making them super sort and absorbent. Almost all of the non-usable scraps find another use filling pillows and cushions.

Most materials are 95% cotton with 5% Lycra, some are 100% cotton. They try to use organic cotton whenever possible.

Since these are all handmade, the selection and quantities may change over time. Visit their Etsy store to see all the wonderful clothes they have given a second life!


Did you know: By purchasing a gently used item, you’re helping to keep things in circulation that would have gone into a landfill. Thrifting is the ultimate way to live out the slogan, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

Sprout Plantable Pencil


Sprout is the Danish company behind the original plantable pencil. Each Sprout pencil is equipped with a biodegradable seed capsule containing a coveted seed variety. When the pencil is too short to write, simply turn it upside down and plant the stump. If you water it regularly, you’ll see the pencil transform into a plant.

By planting a Sprout pencil instead of throwing it out, you can make sustainability a lesson for children. Watching a plant grow from the pencil can inspire them and help them make sustainable choices in their daily lives.


Growing a garden with kids has many opportunities for learning: teaching responsibility and patience, learning to love nature and the Earth, and understanding first had the idea of sustainability. One idea is to grow a Pizza Garden with a child. They can cultivate the plants throughout the growing season, and ultimately harvest them to make their own pizza!

Chipper Handmade Rattles


Small is beautiful! And supporting local craftspeople is a great way to find unique items, and to be kind to the environment. Individual handmade items don’t require the scale of large manufacturing, and don’t use masses of energy or deplete natural resources. Plus you can often find out exactly where the materials came from, and how the piece was made.

Laura Stantz has been making soft toys and baby rattles since 2008. All the animals from Chipper Handmade, Laura’s one-woman company, get designed, cut, sewn, stuffed and shipped from a tiny little house in Southern Indiana. Laura has been sewing since the ripe old age of nine, when her mother sent her to sewing class to get her to focus! She’s been creating ever since. Painting, sewing, making, gardening and cooking all the time! She hopes you enjoy the fruits of her labor!

Her charming collection of toys and rattles are all handmade using unbleached cotton that is sourced from South Carolina, natural dyes such as coffee and berries, or toxin-free powdered pigments, and guaranteed to make you smile.

When Laura isn’t doing something nutty in Indiana, she’s a private chef on vintage rail cars that travel behind Amtrak across America! Visit her Instagram page to see her latest creations!


Buying from local craftspeople is a way of putting your money back into your own local economy, and supporting a small business.



Established in 2015, Parkland Design & Manufacturing creates bags and accessories for everyday life. The exterior fabric of all Parkland products is made from 100% recycled water bottles. Their mission is to inspire others to make sustainable choices by offering products that combine purpose, style, and quality at an accessible price.

In addition, their leather diamonds are now made from apples. A unique manufacturing process combines apple waste (a byproduct of juice production), solvent and polyurethane to form an animal-friendly material with properties similar to genuine leather. Apple leather is 100% vegan.

From the manufacturer:
One global issue we are passionate about is the use of plastic water bottles and their negative impact on the environment. Changing the fabric used in Parkland products is one way we can reduce the impact of this worldwide problem. At Parkland we continue to research and implement more sustainable practices within our business. The cardboard boxes we use for shipping are made from recycled paper, and the bags we use for packaging are made from recycled material. We also print our seasonal catalogs on recycled paper. We’ve implemented a comprehensive recycling program within our office. The majority of our staff choose to walk, bike or use shared transportation for their daily commutes. And it doesn’t stop there. We are always looking for new ways we can reduce our impact.


Unifi, a textile company, has recycled nearly 20 billion plastic bottles while manufacturing their fabric called Repreve. That’s 20 billion bottles that didn’t end up in landfills or in the ocean!



4M’s Green Science Kits can teach young science enthusiasts how to harness the power of wind and convert it into electricity, desalinate water, harness the light of the sun to power a solar rover using a recycled soda can, and create a cloud in the palm of their hand. Many of the lessons found in these kits can apply to climate issues today.

The award-winning 4M Green Science Weather Science Kit is the perfect gift for any young meteorologist or budding scientist. It includes six exciting activities that help children understand how real-world weather works. Kids can experiment with static electricity that causes lightning, make clouds right in their palm, build a desktop water cycle model, watch air currents that produce wind, and study the greenhouse effect along with acid rain.

Their Windmill Generator is a hand-on learning experience that teaches the value of renewable energy. The windmill generator uses green science to harness wind power and light an LED bulb.

The Potato Clock kit teaches young minds the value of green energy in an illuminating way. The Potato Clock uses a pair of ordinary spuds to power a digital clock. This kit includes a digital clock, wires and prongs; two potatoes are all that’s needed to create a working clock. This kit is ideal for young science enthusiasts, and offers a valuable lesson on the transformative power of green science.

The 4M Solar Rover Kit teaches children how to harness the light of the sun to power everyday objects. Transform a recycled soda can into a solar-powered rover. This kit includes all the parts necessary to build one solar-powered car.

For more than 25 years, 4M has encouraged curious young minds as a leader in innovative and educational products. STEAM concepts are increasingly recognized around the world as essential tools for integrated development. 4M toys continue to be ahead of the trend, focusing on bringing new concepts and technologies to the global market.


The youngest person to graduate from college was Michael Kearney at age 10 in 1994, earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. At age 14, he finished his master’s degree in chemistry, and at 18 he obtained his master’s degree in computer science from Vanderbilt University. At 22, he completed his Ph.D in chemistry.