As a parent (or for anyone looking to buy an eco gift for kids) it can be daunting trying to buy the best products for your child. Is it safe? Is it toxic-free? Is it made to last? And then there’s the question of how ethical and sustainable the kids brands we choose are. Are they using environmentally friendly materials? Are they made in a way that you and your child can be proud of? Whether you are searching for an eco friendly first birthday gift, looking to create a nurturing nursery space, or seeking natural, toxic-free children’s clothing, our Kid’s Edit makes shopping for a little one easy. All products are made using natural fibres, without the use of harmful chemicals and are built with longevity in mind. In addition, we only work with brands that use sustainable and ethical practices within their supply chain. So when you shop from our Kids edit you can rest assured knowing it will be good for your child, and good for our planet and the people who made them too. To get you started we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite ethical kids brands, with a little something for every step of the way, from newborns all the way to young adults.
Toys bring playtime alive and help to develop fine motor and visual skills in children. Many of the toys on the shelves today are made from toxic plastics and synthetic materials. Instead, we’ve opted for safer, more environmentally friendly alternatives with beautiful toys made from linen, wood and other natural materials.
Toy Project makes beautiful handstitched toys in fun animal shapes. Choose between soft natural linen or traditional African Shwe Shwe fabric (cotton) – both children-friendly alternatives to the synthetic petrochemical-based materials that many mass-produced cloth toys will use. Made completely by hand and finished with mismatched buttons, each toy is one-of-a-kind and make wonderful eco gifts for toddlers and babies. Toy project is a social enterprise that provides jobs and a sustainable source of income for previously unemployed women in rural South Africa.
Chika & Co makes natural, sustainable and affordable products designed with young children in mind. Made from responsibly sourced cane and filled with recycled materials, their gorgeous rattles are toxic-free and naturally water-resistant making them perfect for newborn babies or as an eco friendly first birthday gift. Use as a percussion shaker, teething toy or baby rattle – their small handle and lightweight design make them easy to hold and play with. Handmade by artisans, the rattles will vary in shape, size and colour making each one unique. Chika & Co was born from a love of interiors, the environment and a mission to better the lives of Ghanaian artisans.
Penduka is a social enterprise that trains women in rural Namibia in crafts, design, hospitality and management skills. Using 100% cotton, they create a range of sustainable kids toys and accessories including aprons, pencil cases and soft toys. Each colourful design is hand embroidered with love and care by the women artisan, with the village story range depicting their daily lives. Penduka have also created two picture books, one the story of Tutula with a message on the importance of giving, and the other a hand embroidered wild animal book perfect for babies and toddlers.
Switching to more eco-friendly kidswear doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on style. Your little one can wear high quality, environmentally friendly clothing and look good too. From using leftover materials to protecting threatened wildlife to empowering local communities, these are the sustainable kidswear brands we’re loving right now.
Made in Kenya, this gorgeous range of baby clothing is perfect for any young wildlife lovers and teaching kids about the importance of conservation. The collection comes in a range of ages and features children’s tees and babygrows illustrated with African wildlife. Available in navy or cream, you’ll find the baby grows exclusively in our kid’s ethical gift set. The garments are made from 100% certified organic cotton, a non-toxic fibre that is soft on sensitive skin and helps to regulate temperature. Wildlife Works is produced at a fair trade, carbon-neutral factory that provides jobs replacing poaching and forest destruction. All profits are reinvested into forest communities and have a direct impact on saving endangered species across the globe.
“This is a magic hat – it fits our 8 month old, 3.5 year old & me!” ~ Serena Lee
Did you know children (especially younger children) can lose a third of their body heat through their heads when outside? Keep them warm with a cosy knitted beanie hat from Asha Eleven. Handmade from 100% cotton, the bobble hats are available in a variety of colours and are a great eco gift for toddlers. And with adult sizes too, who’s to say you can’t get one for yourself. The Asha Eleven Beanie Hat collection was created during the pandemic to provide income opportunities to women in the Imizamo Yethu Township, Cape Town. 100% profits go directly to the makers.
Accessories are a wonderful way for children to express their personalities. These playful scrunchies by Moto Moto will allow them to do so with flair. Made from traditional ‘Maasai Shuka’ fabric, the scrunchies are made using the fabric leftover from the brand’s shuka dresses. Available in 5 colours, they make great eco gifts for toddlers through to teens. Moto Moto partners with the Bignet Education Centre in Kenya to provide daily school meals for 300 (pre)primary students. Not only will your purchase bring a smile to your loved one’s face, but it will help children in Nairobi to stay healthy and focus on their education too.
When you come to decorating your nursery, the key is finding the balance between style and practicality. Storage is key (a tidy space is a tidy mind after all). And so is creating a positive space for your baby to sleep, play, learn and grow. Below are some of our favourite eco-friendly nursery essentials, including stylish storage solutions and bright organic blankets.
Incorporating soothing and neutral colours into your nursery can help to create a tranquil and safe space for your child. Made from 100% locally grown cotton, Raw Label’s baskets will fit seamlessly into your space and help to keep it tidy and clutter-free. The baskets are sold in sets of two or three and are available in small, medium and large. Raw Label uses natural and locally sourced materials to create handmade minimalist homewares that are designed to last.
Add a pop of colour and character to your nursery with a handwoven throw from Something Good Studio. Bright, quirky and eye-catching, each throw communicates a strong positive message and will add an uplifting touch to your child’s bedroom or nursery. The throws are handwoven in small, limited-edition batches using locally sourced organic cotton. Free from chemicals and fertilisers, organic cotton is soft, absorbent and gentle against babies skin. The design studio works with artists in South Africa, using art and design to encourage well-being, happiness and purpose.
QÄSA QÄSA’s beautiful ugwafu trays are a wonderful addition to any nursery. Made using locally grown ugwafu grass, upcycled grain sacks, and banana bark
, their neutral, earthy tones will help to create a calming space for you and your baby to relax in. Use to keep toys, store nappies or tidy away knick-knacks. QÄSA QÄSA is passionate about protecting traditional craftsmanship and works closely with artisans, NGO’s and community groups across Eastern Africa.
Made in Morocco, Lãlla’s hand-knotted rugs will add warmth and texture to your child’s nursery or play area. The rugs are made from different natural fibres, including sheep’s wool, cotton and cactus silk. This last fibre makes a great animal-free alternative to wool and silk. The collection ranges from bold colourful designs to monochrome geometric prints and can be used on the floor, on the wall or as a throw. Lãlla means ‘important and respected woman’ in Moroccan Arabic. The brand seeks to support female weavers and promote fair pay in Berber communities.
Lola & Mawu
Lola & Mawu’s selection of handwoven baskets work wonderfully in a nursery and are perfect for storing nappies or tidying away toys. Each basket is made from 100% straw – a natural, durable material that is free of toxins and child-friendly. Lola & Mawu’s baskets are made by women weavers in Northern Ghana. Every purchase provides these artisans with a meaningful source of income and helps to sustain their culture and artistic traditions.
We’ll keep adding discoveries to our kids edit so make sure to check back regularly. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an eco gift for a child, have you seen our new kids gift sets? Filled with four one-of-a-kind gifts for children, you can either send the box directly to the recipient or gift the items individually. The second option is especially great if you have a few upcoming baby showers or birthdays. And don’t forget to check out the rest of our gift guides for a selection of unique and thoughtful gift ideas for all your adult friends too.