60 Green Stocking Stuffers for Kids

by - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

green or eco-friendly stocking stuffers for kids children stocking

In my family, we make amazing Christmas stockings (or Santa does). We take gifting very seriously, but I didn't realize how good my Dad is at this very particular type of giving until I was an adult. The key is to use magazine to make the whole thing taller and to have lots of silly things in the stocking.

 I love a great stocking, so even though the plan is to cut down the gift-buying in our household by A LOT, I would never cut the stocking. In fact, this year my plan is to do no more than four gifts and a stocking. That's it.

For kids, you can fill a stocking with cute little toys and treats that might be surprise hits for the holiday. I try to master that balance between cheap but practical items like socks or nail clippers (my Mother in Law's genius addition every year) and super fun kitschy items (usually random finds at target).

I stand by this equation, but the problem here is that when you are hanging out in the "cheap junk" aisle at Target, you certainly aren't being a good steward. That stuff is often so cheap because it is made somewhere where the person making it is treated very poorly. It's often made of plastic, and it has traveled a long way, wasting fossil fuels, for basically no reason. So triple whammy against my beloved stocking stuff. So I have started to approach it a new way.

Last year, I tried to do this, and I had a lot of successes. I am pretty sure we still took a last minute run to Target to fill out the goodies. Having done this once already, I am confident that isn't necessary, and I am pretty excited to do an all-ethical stocking this year.

Even better, I don't have to break the bank. Everything on this list is under 15 dollars! 

 One of the most common complaints lodged against Eco-friendly and Made in America Products is that they are too expensive, so people only think about greener options when they will make a BIG difference! But anyone's who has ever been on a successful diet can tell you, small changes can make the largest difference if you stick with them! So maybe this isn't the same super cheap, kitschy toy that lined our stockings before, but you can find equally fun, strange, and hilarious stuff without ever feeling like an eco-terrorist. Even a few switches out can make a big impact!

You can find toys that are plenty affordable made right here in the US. I am excited to try to load that sock with gifts that do good but don't break the bank.

Three Steps to an Awesome Kids Stocking

gooswill hanging toy bags shelf

1. Get Things Used- I have never bought Christmas gifts used before, but I am going for it this year, especially with our Bub, who could care less whether something is new or used. My favorite for this is the mixed toy bags at Goodwill. We already bought most of the Bub's filler with two bags of Duplos. Why do people buy duplos new?

I can find so many cute toys in consignment stores, not to mention practical things like socks or hats! If you spend 2 dollars on a little toy or stuffed animal you can clean, that beats anything you will buy new! A trip to a kids consignment store or Goodwill can check off most of your boxes immediately.

2. Buy American, Eco-friendly, or Fair Trade- THIS. This change in priorities can ripple out to make a better world for the kid you fill the stocking for. That's more important than anything you can give. Look at the challenge to find these things as fun instead of intimidating- this is why we start early!

3. Re-think your Regular Candy Choices- This deserves its own post, but you might try to support some local candy before you do the same old from Hershey's (I want to love them, but I just can't anymore). You can find cool stuff right under your nose! Chocolate is an especially hot button topic for treats, so check with your local candy store and think about buying some fair trade chocolate.

Alright, let's get to the links-

I am coming up with a shorthand so you can get the information you want fast. This is the key:
The key- USA= Made in the USA, GU= Get this Used, EF- Eco-Friendly, R=Recycled Materials, Fair Trade= FT

I wouldn't expect anyone to buy everything on this list, but the key is to notice you have TONS of options. You can get anything- from super fun to completely practical- made ethically, in the United States, and with good stewardship for the environment!

Bath Toys

1. Bath Crayons (USA)- BeeUtifully Organic makes organic bath crayons that will make such for such a fun time! I want to play with these. Messy Play Kits or Krazy Kool Kits sell bath crayons too.

safari rubber duckies
from Lotsaduck
2. Rubber Duckies (USA)- Everyday when I make my way to the tubbie! I find a little fellow who's cute and yellow and chubby! Lotsaduck is based out of Pittsburgh and has all sorts of adorable rubber duckies- sadly, they are closing, but you can get a good deal there right now. Celebriducks has a line of Made in the USA ducks (a little on the nose with the signage though). We bought The Bub the very simple yellow version, and it continues to be a big hit.

alligator washcloth
from Cozy Chipmunk
3. Washcloths and Puppets (USA)- These Huggable Hoots puppets look super cute and you can stuff them into a stocking easily. It might be a perfect combination of fun and practical. I also love this simple Crocodile washcloth. You can also try Granny's Craftiness or Stockings by Pat.

If you are crafty (and quick), there are some great patterns on Etsy for this kind of thing as well.

dinosaur rainbow soap
from Southern Skye Beauty
4. Fun bars of Soap (USA) - I get that soap as a gift sounds lame, but I think cool soap could be a big hit.  My favorites are these dinosaur soaps from Southern Skye Beauty. I also found mermaid soap, bath crayon soap, game controllers (check out this whole shop- looks cool!), lego soap, and because the world is wonderful macaroni and cheese soap.

begin again bathtub toys shark octopus diver
Begin Again on Amazon
5. Begin Again Bathtub Toys (EF)- These bath toys are made of rubber, so no plastic, and they are dishwasher safe to make it easy on you. Also, the deep sea diver is just cool. The company is based out of Fort Collins Colorado, but I am not convinced they are actually made there.

For the Especially Little People

ivy lantern bibs
from the ivy lantern
6. Bibs (USA)- Your baby is so smart. But not smart enough to be disappointed when you just buy a bunch of things you need and stuff it in a stocking for their first Christmas. Bibs make for a perfect bottom layer (since it's probably too soon for candy).  Swaddle Designs makes cute inexpensive ones as well. If you want to do something a little more trendy, these super cute (and usefully neutral) bandana bibs from The Ivy Lantern. There are about 4 million bibs on Etsy so you can find what you want, but here is another long list to browse- Organic Mama Design, The Pleated Petal, Le Petite Birdie, and Bananas Boutique.

7. Feeder (USA)- These chewy feeders are so helpful when you start baby on solids or when they start to teeth (ice or frozen fruit inside and let them gnaw). May not be a regular purchase, but a nice little splurge for a stocking!
green toys play keys
from amazon
8. First Set of Keys (R, EF, USA)- Both Green Toys and Re-play sell sets of all recycled plastic key rings. The Bub loves his; they are really good to shake. These are pretty cheap, made in the USA, and use recycled materials; I don't understand why anyone would buy other sets!

9. Jumbo Beads (USA)- Another Classic for babies, this Holgate toy helps them string beads and work on that hand eye coordination. This has been made here in the US since 1948! Also, it is awesome for an airplane time-passing toy.

10. Link Toys (USA)- Boomering Links are a perfect toy for anybody under 2. Simple often entertains them longer, and these links can easily be thrown in a purse, brought on a plane, or strewn through a car seat. Great toy and super cheap.

11. Onesies (USA)- You could get a funny or special onesie you might not splurge on otherwise.  My favorites are from Honest Elements and Jam Jam Jams. I love this Parks and Rec one from Baby Swag (out of Butler,PA!), but you should poke around on Etsy and get something that makes you smile or laugh. You can also check out buggy and bubba, Little Jonesies, and The Little Stork.

soft blocks black and white
from Little Sidekick
12. Soft Blocks (USA)- Tactile soft blocks give the baby a well-rounded sensory experience. My bub loved toys like these, but you can get ones for the same amount as in the stores on Etsy, and you will be supporting a local maker instead of a big corporation. Woot! Arrows and Olives Baby sells cost-effective and pretty ones. My favorite are these high contrast ones from Little Sidekick, because those black and white patterns will totally catch a little one's eye. More options? Try Burgandy Bee Handmade,

13. Spoons and Forks (R, USA)- Yeah, this may not seem like the most fun, but you can buy one of the Green Eats sets (or just the spoons!) that will last you for years and they will fit perfectly in a stocking (and a diaper bag). Plus, my 2 year old would say forks and spoons are the most fun toys in the whole world. He loves playing with them.

state teethers from little sapling toys
from little sapling toys
14. Teether (USA, EF)- You have about a billion choices here, so you can get something really cool.  Lifefactory's teethers have been staples in our house when the baby was teething (and he just likes touching the different patterns as well). I would recommend these teethers to anyone. You can teach geography and chewing with Little Sapling Toy's state-shaped teethers, which are basically the coolest thing I've seen. I love these Feltman and Co. ones as well. Begin Again's simple teething ring wins awards and parents' love, so this might make a great gift for your little person! They won't be toothless forever! Manzanita Toys is guaranteed to have something you will love as well.

With Baby Two, I am pretty obsessed with black and white, high contrast stuff, because they really can enjoy it more. I like the cloth bunny teethers in black and white- Kadydid Designs, Pippa Ollie, and Baby Sprouts Co.
toy and pacifier strap
from Mom N Daughter Creation
15. Toy and Pacifier Strap (USA)- When your bub is little, you lose toys and cups all the time, they are always throwing them or dropping them, so I think the toy strap makes a lot of sense. I like the name bottle  leash too, so funny! I like this toy strap best, because it is so smart and makes so much sense. Good job Mom N Daughter Creation! Etsy has plenty of options- Henley's HeadbandsThe Chipped CupThe Stitched CoFawn and Finn, and Clover and Birch.

16. Pacifiers (USA)- Why not just buy things that you actually need? Spoiler alert, your baby will not remember or comprehend their first Christmas, even if they are a whip of a baby. Really you should fill their stocking with cake for you. Some Nuk silcon pacifiers were made here, and they have glowing reviews.The Philips Avent Soothies are made in the US, and they were the only ones we had any luck with

17. Mittens and Hats- Great gifts and fit perfectly in a stocking. Kudos to you if you can make them yourself. My favorite are these mittens using recycled fabric from Gypsy and Lolo.

18. Car Seat Toys- I love these hanging jellyfish. Something for them to swat at.

Fun and Creative

19. Clay (USA)- Sculpey Clay became one of my favorites in my time teaching art to kids. It doesn't dry out easily, so they have time to fiddle, and if they make something they want to keep, you can set it in the oven. You can get packs in all different sizes, including small ones that might fit in a stocking.
recycled colored pencils
from amazon
20. Colored Pencils (R)- I love these colored pencils made out of recycled newspaper instead of wood (they have a mini size for little fingers). They come in cute tubes that would fit perfectly in a Christmas sock!

21. Coloring Books (USA,R)- Not all are made in the USA, so always check, but many still are. You can get ones that are recycled and even teach your kid about environmentalism! This one is my favorite- so cute! My new favorite doing research this year is Wee Gallery's How to Dress a Fox (they have 5 different animals to choose from). These books are so cute, and they are made of recycled paper and soy ink- win! They sell recycled coloring murals too.

This doodle book looks really fun and different as well. This can be a perfect way to work in your little one's favorite character- Barbie, Anna and Elsa, Hello Kitty, Etsy has plenty too, from hymn lyrics to cutesy owls. My dad uses these and magazines to wrap around in the stocking to make it taller/ able to hold even more stuff. I kid you not, he's the master.

recycled r2d2 crayons
from Extra Money for Mommy

22. Crayons (USA,R)- Did you know you can get crayons in any shape ever? Any shape? And they are recycled from all those nubbins you would just throw away? You can get them in your kid's name, seashellsChocolate Bars, dinosaurs, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I love these eco-friendly crayons too, because they are completely biodegradable. You could also try Honey Sticks which are made of beeswax.

As an aside, when you are in the aisle with the crayons trying to make a pick, Crayola is actually probably your best bet. Stay away from the other brands, most are made overseas. Plus, Crayola is never that much more expensive. So just remember to go with Crayola if you are doing your shopping in Target.

23. Lacing Toys (USA)- Mama Made Them makes sweet whale lacing toys that might be the perfect start for a future sewer. Animal ones like this elephant are fun as well. Maple Landmark also has a set of wooden lacing toys.

little blue notebooks from ordinary artist
from ordinary artists
24. Little Notebooks (USA)- Is there anything with more possibility than a fresh new notebook? I love these little ones from Ordinary Artists that would make perfect stocking stuffers. My beloved Decomposition Books, made from recycled paper and soy ink in the US, would be perfect as well. The Bub loves the little drawings they have on the cover and inside. If your kid is cool or manly, Field Notes has notebook sets as well.

25. Markers (USA, R)- I love Crayola. They actually collect old dried up markers and put them back into use again in their simple marker sets. I love that. I will give them all of my marker budget (larger than you might imagine) forever. Out of the box, perfect fit for a stocking. 

26. Stickers and Temporary Tattoos (USA)- Somebody has Frozen fever? Ok, everyone does. Something about those sisters. If your bub loves Frozen but you don't want to ship your money to China, look into these stickers or these ones.  They can be creative, spice up stuff the kiddo's already own, and many are still made in the US! I have also seen princess and Sofia the First stickers made here.

chevron rainbow washi tape
from Pretty Tape
27. Washi Tape (USA)- I feel like I would have loved these as a kid, and its another gift you could use to spruce up anything! These are fun and different, and open up lots of avenues for creative play that you can still pick up. These mint green ones are adorable.

28. Finger Paint (USA)- I bought finger paint at our local toy store that was made in the US. Simple and fun,

Fun Little Things

hermoine bookmark from pearl and violet harry potter
from Pearl and Violet
29. Bookmarks (USA, R)- Let's encourage that reading with fun bookmarks! My absolute favorites are from Pearl and Violet, because you can get your favorite characters poking out of your new favorite book! Owl makes bookmarks you can put pictures in out of recycled leather. If you are looking for something you can personalize, or maybe encourage your kids to gift, these plain Made in the USA bookmarks could be decorated to look amazing. Peggy's Passions makes spoon bookmarks that are so cute and can be personalized. My last favorite are Ryan Sheffield's author bookmarks.

minion lego christmas ornament from Ornaments 4 charity
from Ornaments 4 Charity
30. Christmas Ornaments (USA)- It would be kind of a cool tradition to put an ornament in their stocking each year that has to do with their year, then they can hang it on the tree. If you want ones made in the USA that also do good, Ornaments 4 Charity (which seems to be one amazing family) makes adorable lego ornaments and gives 100% of the proceeds to charity. So awesome!

I love this little hedgehog one as well, but you can find so many Made in the USA ornaments on Etsy.

31. Dinosaurs(USA)- The USA company that makes little green soldiers also makes dinosaur plastic toys. I personally like the Galaxy Laser Team better.

adopt an alien key change orange googly eyes
from Adopt an Alien
32. Key Chains (USA)- I love these Adopt an Alien ones, and I remember really enjoying them as a kid, despite not having any keys.  These squid ones are adorable too. Cookies and popsicles, too! You can find it all.

33. Henna Stencils and Temporary Tattoos (USA)- These are in, and they look like so much fun. You can bring any character in through these things, and you can find lots of adorable ones. Is it inappropriate to give children tattoos? I don't know, but I would put one on my child, so lucky boy.

wooden smart phone from treasured fc
from Treasured FC

34. Wooden Smart Phones (USA)- These teethers are hilarious, and I think the wooden smart phone might make a great imaginative toy as well.

35. Magic Wands (USA)- I actually think these simple wood magic wands look really pretty and chic unfinished, but decorating them with markers might be fun? Or you can just get to casting spells right away.

Learning Toys

36. Cards (USA)- Bicycle Standard Cards are made here in the US. Classics. Perfect gift for an older child? Time to start learning magic tricks.

37. Puzzles (GU, USA)- You could get puzzles at basically any level and then put them in the stocking broken up. This seems especially cool, because they wouldn't know what they were putting together! This is one you can definitely find in consignment stores for kids, but there are some made in the USA Maple Lamdmark makes a bunch, including this bulldozer, around 15 dollars. For older kids, you can do one of these giant floor puzzles made of recycled materials in the US. For even older kids, you can find puzzles made of all recycled materials- a California map or this Wonderous Ocean One.

38. Sandwich Stackers (R, USA)- I worked briefly at a Chrildren's Museum that had these Green Toys Sandwich Toys, and I couldn't believe just how much the kids loved them from toddlers to older kids playing restaurant.  I think they might fit a stocking perfectly and be that toy you didn't expect to be a hit, but they play with them all the time. So simple. So genius.

39. Spinny Spellers (USA)- These wood toys help new readers to play with letters and words. You can get critter ones for the smaller set.

Soft and Cuddly

egg and bacon octopus plushie
from the marmalade forest
40. Eggs and Bacon Octopus (USA)- I love this breakfast monster so much. I am not sure a child would love it, but I would love you for buying this for your child.

41. Pocket Tidbits (USA)- Don't write these little crocheted balls off too quickly. You can also buy them little outfits, so this one may be a huge hit.

42. Safety Cones (USA)- Etsy, you give me faith in the universe. Thank you for these Plush Engineer safety cones.

43. Sloth Plushies (USA)- Because I hear sloths are the meaning of Christmas. I kid, but these are cute. Also from Plush Engineer, because this store is a treasure.

soft play game controller from anns craft house on etsy
from Anns Craft House
44. Soft Game Controller (USA)- Another winner. The Boy is already training The Bub to sit and use the other controller while he plays. I am sure that's not developmentally sound, but these soft versions are cute.

45. Stuffed Elephant, Bunny, or Zebra (FT,R)- These little stuffed animals are exceptionally cute, and they help support women get good jobs in Malawi. Another cute little way to do good with your Christmas shopping!
purple fuzzigles
from Fuzzigles
46. Puffy Balls of Awesome (USA)-  If I were buying stuffed animals for my kids for Christmas, these Fuzzigles are what I would (actually, probably will) pick. It's hard to pick a favorite.

Stuff that Moves

rolling elephant green toy
from amazon

47. Elephant on Wheels (EF, R, USA)- Made out of recycled plastic milk jugs (and saving TONS of energy. I didn't even realize how much), this Green Toy on wheels could be a perfect gift for someone without great hand eye dexterity (I love the pig and turtle as well). A good second Christmas stocking stuffer.

48.  Matchbox Cars (USA)- Bad news, Hot Wheels are not great for the environment, much like their regular-sized car counterparts. That doesn't mean you can't find other ice cream trucks and race cars made stateside! And TONS of used Hot Wheels are out there. I love these little Maple Landmark cars. Holgate also makes wood cars that are adorable and local. Green Toys sells adorable racecars (including a pink one!), but it might cramp the stocking- I would recommend these smaller cars instead.

49. Yoyos (USA)- Another classic gift. I never got good at a yoyo, but if your child is older than 2, he or she is already more coordinated than I am.

50. Tops (USA)- I can't remember being too psyched about tops when I was a kid, but these simple ones from Maple Landmark might be just the kind of challenge that makes the holiday fun. A throwback in a good way.

Making Noise

made in america kazoos
from Amazon

51. Kazoos (USA)- Gah, I love a good kazoo. A staple at my Grammy's house, and my Grammy is the grand poobah of gifting. You can get this one from West Music for 90 cents!

52. Percusion Blocks (USA)- I don't know why you would buy a percussion block for your own child, but maybe to stick in your enemies' childrens' stockings? Evil Santa Claus?

53. Slide Whistle (EF)- This slide whistle, birthed in Gerrmany, will perfectly fill the need for making lots of annoying noise in an eco-friendly cacophany of annoying. Once, we played Reading Rainbow in a talent show on slide whistles. It is my Christmas wish that your children can enjoy a similar moment (we were in our 20's).

54. Train Whistle (USA)- Toot toot! This whistle is perfect for the Thomas-lover you spawned. Maple Landmark makes one too.

Practical Stuff

pumpkin bowties etsy hairties
from Pumpkin Bowties

55. Hair Clippies (USA)- You can find a million hair things on Etsy made by a person with their own little business. You can buy your children hair stuff for little money. Here are some hair clips and hair bows like these from Masterpieces of Fun Art. Sparkly hair ties. Lots of sparkly hair ties. Minion Hair Ties. Frozen hair ties. Disney hair clippies.

56. Nail Clippers (USA)- My Mother in Law gives nail clippers in stockings every year. Genius, because nail clippers seem to disappear so quickly. I don't know where they go, but you never find them. You can start the tradition early with these baby clippers. For bigger kids, bigger clippers.

57. Sippy Caps (USA)- We got these caps this Christmas to add to our Lifefactory bottles, which you already know I am obsessed with. If you are getting to the sippy cup phase, think about going glass or recycled!

58. Socks (USA, R)- Solmate Socks are my favorite. We just bought a set for the bub (they come in sets of 5. How cute is that? Perfect fun socks to put in a stocking. We recently became huge fans of Pact socks as well.

59. Toothbrush (R, USA)- Preserve makes toothbrushes out of recycled plastic. They are completely beloved by our toddler, so this may seem like a bummer gift, but I think it makes a lot of sense. If you have a truly little little one, the banana toothbrush was also well-loved here. If you are trying to make gifting about things your child needs, not just what they want, this could be a good step.
stack snack container orange replay
Re-Play from Amazon
60. Snack Containers (R, USA)- Maybe fill these absolutely wonderful replay Snack Stacks with other treats to gift them? Like put some candy  or another surprise inside? Mix red and green for a festive feel. Then you will have snack containers and cut down on wasteful zip loc bags. Win!

Lastly, BUY YOUR CANDY LOCAL!!! America still has tons of candy companies working in the US, so there is no reason to buy those Hershey kisses made in Elsewhere. Buy less candy, but buy good candy. I hope you found lots of inspiration for your stockings here!

If you are interested in green shopping inspiration, check out the List of Shopping Lists! You can transform your shopping this Christmas!

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