No plastic toys please! 7 brilliant gifts for kids that cost less than $25

Posted in Birthday.

Keen to choose the exact right thing for you child’s best friend, but not keen to add even more plasticky rubble to future landfill? Here’s what you need to do …

It’s the toys that count

Ask anyone who knows me, I have a thing for presents. I love to think about them, I love to plan them, I love to buy them. Giving them is the piece de resistance of all my efforts, but if I’m honest I think I enjoy the fun of hunting down something special most of all.

If you have children you will know they tend to love garish plastic stuff the most, that strikes dread in the heart of many parents. And I am a parent who loves to surprise children (mine and others) with the joy of receiving something they truly love.

The problem is the environment.

And while I am by no means the most ethical parent I know, I still shudder at the thought of buying useless plastic toys.

Lots of children’s parties = lots of presents

Now that I have children who can play with others, there are quite a few birthday parties on the horizon.

And rather than go to a massive toy store chain and fill up my trolley, I’ve done a bit of research to find my favourite eco-friendly toys for under $25.00.

There’s a caveat to this. I am by no means a zero-sum eco-warrior, though I totally respect families that can live within strict environmental guidelines. Some of these toys may come attached with air miles to transport them to our shores. So if that is likely to upset you, please don’t read on.

Ditch the plastic

If you’re like me however, trying to do your best and starting small (ie. avoiding plastic is the first big step) then you might be interested in the following list.


1. Sunkit Print

This fun little kit allows kids to create a unique nature print. Children collect flora from around and about, put it in the special paper then hold it up to the sun. After some time the heat will create a special outline of the plant that was enclosed within. $13.00 will give you 15 light-sensitive sheets to play with.

Buy Sunprint kit

2. Little Gardeners Grow and Create Pot Mini Sunflower

As I have nothing resembling a green thumb, I love these little kits. They come with the 3 pots, soil pellets and seeds – and the pots are made from 100 percent recycled materials. Incredibly, they are a mere $6.95 for the starter kit. The website also has a stack of cute little “grass growing heads” to choose from.

Buy Little Gardeners Sunflower Garden Starter Kit


3. Farm Animal Croquet Set

This croquet set may look suitable for very small children, but judging by the hand-eye coordination of some older kids, I think they’d still get a kick out of this. I love that it’s something that gets them outside, and the animals are pretty cute. And at $21 for the set, it ticks the budget box too.

Buy Farm Animal croquet set

Little Paper Ball Run

4. The Little Paper Ball Run

I saw this little beauty at my sister’s place (her children were six and four at the time) and it was giving them hours of fun. This one probably needs an adult to help out in construction, but then it can keep children amused while the parent goes off for a cuppa. $21.00.

Buy The Little Paper Ball Run

Shadow Puppets

5. Moulin Roty Castle Shadow Puppets

Moulin Roty is a gorgeous French toy brand, normally falling on the expensive end of the spectrum, but these cute little shadow puppet sets are affordable at $25.95. I love the idea of recreating the magic of a shadow puppet show, shining a torch on the wall just before bed.

Buy Moulin Roty Castle Shadow Puppets

Fairy puppet set

6. Djeco Fairy Puppets Craft Kit

If you search you might find a similar kit of dinosaurs if fairies aren’t quite to your taste. Djeco has an incredible range of beautiful craft activities for kids, but this one tickles my fancy as I can imagine kids would love putting their fairy together (and it doesn’t look too taxing for the adult involved). $14.95 for the kit.

Buy Djeco Fairy Puppets Craft Kit


Toy construction vehicles

7. Le Toy Van Construction Set 

This one has slipped over my budget of $25 but I think it’s worth it. For those kids who don’t go for crafts or gardening-style toys, this set of wooden diggers will keep them playing for hours in the dirt.  This set includes five construction vehicles with functioning parts: a lifting crane, scoop, roller, digger, tip-up truck, and two traffic cones. $29.95 for the set.

Buy Le Toy Van Construction Set


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