Consider giving kids a day at one of the local science museums. Courtesy of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Dec. 10, 2018
The holidays are for children more than any others – so why not use this magical time to teach your young’ins about our amazing Mother Earth and how important it is to care for her. Shop for the gifts on our list both in DFW and online and be sure to thank these retailers for carrying greener choices. Phone numbers supplied when applicable so that you check current availability. Any pricing listed is subject to change and is at the discretion of the individual merchants.
Houston Street Toy Company in Fort Worth’s historic Sundance Square was launched two years year ago by local entrepreneur Lindsey Ross, who also owns Schakolad Chocolate Factory. You’ll find a wide selection of kits to inspire young scientists. Is there a future engineer in your household? The Green Science Windmill Generator uses science to harness wind power and light an LED bulb. This kit contains all the materials needed to build a five-inch windmill generator with LED light, just like real energy-producing windmills. Just add a recycled soda bottle. An enclosed pamphlet contains fun facts about renewable energy. The Green Science Windmill Generator is all about real science – in the name of making learning fun. $14.99. Find more exciting educational toys at Houston Street Toy Company, 309 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX 76102. 817-810-9644.
Knitted Finger Puppets
Fair & Square Imports on the square in downtown McKinney specializes in unique fair trade gifts, including lots of goodies for the kiddies. These adorable finger puppet animals and people are hand-knitted with care by talented women from the highlands of Peru using hand-washable acrylic. Choose from a wide variety including chickens and other birds, farm and zoo animals, and scads of human friends. They are great for creative story telling and make fun party favors or stocking stuffers. About two-and-one-half to three-inches. Please note that, based on availability, the store may be unable to accommodate specific animal and/or people requests. Price is for one finger puppet. $4.50 each. Many other unique gifts sold in-store and online at FairandSquareImports.com. Fair & Square Imports, 219 E. Louisiana St., McKinney 75069. 469-343-4421.
Waterproof Solar Lantern
The PackLite Halo is a compact and lightweight, inflatable solar lantern that is durable for both indoor and outdoor use. Ideal for the campsite, backyard, boating and emergency kits. It provides 50 lumens of bright LED light on high and can run for up to 10 hours on low when fully charged (no extra batteries required). The PackLite Halo can be recharged by the built-in solar panel in approximately 10 hours of direct outdoor sunlight. It measures four inches by four inches by four inches when inflated and packs down to less than one inch thick. The PackLite Halo has a red indicator LED to show solar charging and an adjustable strap to make it easy to hang in your tent or hook to your pack when on the go. $17.99 at Container Store locations around town and online.
Green Toys Tool Set
Step into a toy-lover’s paradise at Froggies, a Dallas institution in the trendy Knox-Henderson shopping district in Dallas. Last year, we featured their USA-made Green Toys which are best-sellers and you’ll soon see why they’re worth repeating. Not only are they manufactured from recycled milk bottles, each one is tough enough for years of play for kids of all ages. Inspire young builders with this tool set that is offered in your child’s choice of pink/green/gray or blue/green/yellow. $29.99 each. Other sets start under $10. Froggies 5 & 10 Toy Store, 3211 Knox St, Dallas, 75205. 214-522-5867
Recycled Art Kit
Target stores have added several eco-friendly gifts for kids to their toy department. Let your voice be heard with major retailers too by choosing these greener options. ALEX Toys Eco Crafts lets your young artist create 20 easy projects with recycled stickers, papers and pencils. Just layer and stick to make puppets, animals and jewelry. Includes 428 stickers and shapes, six recycled colored pencils, 42 craft sticks, wooden spoons, fork and spatula, wooden buttons, four small wooden spoons, spools and beads, string, ribbon, glue stick, tissue papers and easy instructions. Made of recycled paperboard and soy ink. Packaging is also a carrying case and can be recycled at end of usage. Recommended for children 6 years of age and older. $13.29 at Target stores everywhere.
Potholder Loom Kit
Harrisville Designs has been in the textile business in New Hampshire for more than 40 years. Rooster Home & Hardware is proud to sell their traditional all-metal potholder looms and genuine cotton loops. Not cheap plastic and polyester like other kits on the market. Your kids can easily make colorful potholders for your home, as gifts or to sell as a fundraiser for their school, church, or club. This kit includes loom, hooks for weaving and finishing, instructions and enough loops to make two potholders for $16.99. Loop refills are also available for $6.99/bag. Free potholder weaving class on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rooster. Call to register at Rooster Home & Hardware, 10233 East Northwest Hwy. Suite 409, Dallas 75238. 214-343-1971. Find tons more gift ideas at this unique store!
Bamboo Dining Set
World Market’s gift selection knocks it out of the ballpark this year and they have delightful kids’ ideas loaded with eco-friendly fun – even at mealtime. Check out this bamboo dining set by Bamboozle. Whether your little one is eating their favorite meal or trying a new food, Olivia the Owl will be there to encourage every step... or bite of the way! Packaged in beautiful, recycled craft paper boxes that can be recycled again, the dishes are made of biodegradable, dishwasher safe and durable bamboo fiber. Shaped dinner set includes the owl plate, bowl, cup and flatware. $14.99 at World Market stores around the area. While you’re at World Market, peruse their other toys, many of which are educational and (or) eco-friendly.
Kid's Carving Knife
Austin-based Whole Earth Provision’s kids’ department is second to none and they know that there’s nothing like sitting in the great outdoors and carving a fallen branch into a unique piece of art. Teach your youngster how to do it safely with My First Opinel Natural Rounded Folding Knife. For greater safety, the tip of the blade on My First Opinel is rounded and the Virobloc® lock keeps the blade in an open position for use and in a closed position for transport. The wooden handle provides a secure and comfortable grip. Crafted in France, the knife features Opinel’s signature classic wooden handle, made from sustainably harvested red beechwood, grown in Europe. The stainless steel blade is durable, sharp, holds its edge and is easy to maintain. $14.99 at Whole Earth Provision stores in the area. If your little one is flying home, be sure that they pack this in checked luggage.
The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids
A truly useful and educational gift and great stocking stuffer is The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids. Stocked at Trinity Haymarket, the Almanac for Kids features a treasure trove of fun facts, creative activities and great ideas that will keep youngsters of all ages loving learning the whole year through, with memory tricks; spring-season traditions; the history of soap; an investigation of “dirt” and guidance on creating a fairy garden; kids who can bird-call, beavers that build, and moose on the loose; crickets and puppies as pets; weather disasters and natural ways to make your own predictions; state songs; record-setting suggestions; and much, much more! Inside, your child will find amazing stories, quirky facts, natural wonders and loads of other things to do. Cost is $9.95 at Trinity Haymarket – a Dallas gem near the Trinity River, of course, at 1715 Market Center Blvd, Dallas 75207.
Day at a Science Museum
Give your child an experience that they won’t soon forget and include your own time well spent with them as you both enjoy a day at one of our local science museums. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is a blast for all ages. Be sure to catch a show at the Omni Theatre such as Dolphins, National Parks Adventure or The Polar Express while you’re there. Visit this link for more fun ideas in and around Fort Worth.
Courtesy of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
In Dallas, spend a day the The Perot Museum or Texas Discovery Gardens. All are fun and your kids won’t even realize that they are learning as they laugh. Click here for more kid-friendly venues around Dallas, many of which are free.
For Young Readers
Dallas greenie Kim Young, who is one of those unusual adults who seems to still be able to see the world through the eyes of a child, has assembled an incredible collection of books for young folks on her website, Pretty Things and Cool Stuff. Kim enjoys working with small, family-owned publishers such as Enchanted Lion Press in New York. Some of the following titles are from Enchanted Lion as well as other independent publishers.
The Forest (just published and beautiful!)
IF Apples Had Teeth (a great reprint of a classic)
Beastly Verse - introducing kids to poetry.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg - The Case of RBG vs. Inequality
To Kill A Mockingbird – Graphic Novel Version.
Real Love – The Drawings for Sean by John Lennon.
Order online at prettythingsandcoolstuff.com. Local delivery may be available. 214-660-5467.
Teach your child (or grandchild) all about the beautiful world of garden helpers and composting with Bees, Bugs & Butterflies and Compost, two wonderful books from our friends at Mother Earth News. These fun, family-friendly books will inspire your young naturalist for the endless possibilities that can come from digging in the dirt. Try either (or both!) and inspire your child to discover the magic that can spring from a little hard work. $14.95 each. With your purchase through 12/16/18, get a free copy of Mother Earth News Guide to Family Health. Purchase online, or call 800-234-3368 and give your customer service representative the discount code MMEEMIC5.
Eco Lunch Boxes
Big kids will love this awesome three-piece Bento Lunch-Able Kit, especially when they realize that it helps to save our oceans by reducing trash. This plastic-free stainless steel and silicone lunch packer has it all when it comes to convenience. It’s embossed with a lovely ocean-inspired seaweed motif on the leak-proof silicone lids. The Mini Splash Pod tucks inside the top layer or can be used on its own. Holding a whopping four cups of food, the whole set straps together with a wavy silicone band that attaches to a wave-shaped latch. The nubby waves on the strap are non-slip and easy to use for all ages. The entire set is dishwasher and oven safe. Because it does not contain plastic, the lunchbox is free of all estrogen-mimicking chemicals, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates and bisphenol-S (BPS). Will last for years and years. $35.99 at EcoLunchboxes.com. Many more styles from which to choose.
Guitar Pick Punch
Our one and only suggestion from Amazon will encourage your young musician and entrepreneur with a tool that will allow them to make gifts galore and possibly start a small business – a guitar pick punch. Designed by guitar players for guitar players! Never be pickless again. The Pick-a-Palooza is as much fun to say as it is to operate. Simple to use, kids can recycle and create custom guitar picks from old credit cards, gift cards, hotel room key cards, driver's licenses or any thin piece of plastic that is around the house. Kit includes guitar pick press and starter plastic sheets. Your musician friends may want their own too. $19.95 on Amazon.com.
MORE 2018 GREEN GIFT GUIDES