• How To Politely Request Plastic-Free Toys

by Kathleen Smith June 21, 2019

Do you dread the influx of plastic toys and other things that your kiddos receive as gifts on any given occasion? ‘Cause same.

Of course, you're grateful that your children receive gifts from family and friends. It’d just be nice to be able to request plastic-free toys without the subtle eye roll or sigh because you’re that crunchy mama.

I know I come off as extra crunchy whenever I bring up the toxic chemicals that are littered within plastic toys - like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and lead. There are studies that show that plastic (even if the label says BPA free) still leeches harmful chemicals. Wait - I’m expected to happily give that toy to my child? To play with? My child who loves to put anything and everything (even dirt) into his or her mouth.

No, thanks. That toy has got to go. I'll opt for the dirt. #SorryNotSorry

But where will that plastic toy end up? In a landfill. Plastic literally never decomposes. And recycling toys is extremely difficult, usually not even possible, because they’re made with so many different materials. That Barbie missing one leg I “recycled” last year? It’s sitting in a landfill somewhere. Those LEGOs you finally made disappear because you were tired of stepping on them? Same deal.


Living plastic-free will not happen overnight. And by no means is my own house 100% plastic-free.  That’s pretty darn near impossible these days. But... prioritizing high quality, durable toys and household items over cheap, disposable plastic ones is such an easy way to do my part in caring for the earth. And once that mindset shift happens, it just gets easier and easier. Old habits are replaced with new, better habits. And now, my house is for the most part, minimally plasticized. Is that a word…?

You, too, can make the switch to a plastic-free, or at least closer to a plastic-free life. Where to begin? Start simple by politely requesting plastic-free toys!


Are you worried that requesting particular toys is selfish or snotty? I get that. So how about this? The next time you want to ask for plastic-free toys, try to frame it within the larger picture: You’re not making this request JUST for you and your family. Going plastic free is also about the earth and preserving the environment for the same little ones who will be enjoying the toys their given.

When in doubt, bring out the crunchy mama!


Crunchy moms value wooden toys as one of the best and safest options out there for children. At Smiling Tree Toys, we create handmade wooden toys that inspire creative and imaginative play in children, whilst simultaneously developing cognitive and problem-solving skills. The natural textures in our personal, safe, and heirloom wooden toys stimulate your child's senses as they’re inspired to touch, feel and explore.

Some of the best parts of our wooden toys are their timeless quality and earth friendly nature.   We feature classic designs that never go out of style. And our toys won’t spend eternity in a landfill, because well, we’re sure your kiddos will love them so much that they’ll pass them on to future generations.  And if that isn’t the case (tear..), rest assured our toys are biodegradable and would ultimately end up as part of the earth from whence they came.

So those are all good reasons that show you’re thinking beyond just you and your family when you throw out your crunchy request to the fam and friends. Now, let’s get into the practical how-to’s for politely request plastic-free toys.



Talking openly and honestly about your desire for plastic-free toys with family ahead of any birthday or holiday celebrations is essential. Listen, mama. The people who are buying gifts for your children are your family members and close friends. These are the people who know what you like, and what you don’t. They love you.  And they want you to actually like the gifts they choose for your kids.  Plus, you’re past the polite small talk stage with them, and they’ve seen you on your good days and not-so-good mama days. So why beat around the bush?

Be honest and tell them straight up that you do not want any toys made of plastic. If they know you well, this won't come as a surprise. And if they're thoughtful and considerate, they'll actually do it!

Need some gifting inspo? We’ve gotcha covered!

Check out our holiday gift guide, our best selling toys, or shop our entire collection based on your child’s age.

My personal Smiling Tree faves as a mama to four? Our best-selling Spell Well Name Puzzle and signature Smiling Moon Balancer are two heirloom wooden toys your child(ren) will love for a lifetime. Pinky promise.



If you’re sending out birthday invites to children at your child’s school or playcenter, consider copying and pasting the below rhyme into your invite:

Now a gift certainly isn’t required,
Just being there will ensure [CHILD’S NAME] feels loved and inspired.
But if you choose to bring a gift to the party,
we politely request that it be plastic-free.
Because what better way to celebrate [CHILD'S NAME]'s birth,
Than with toys that last and don’t harm the earth?
The toys that [CHILD’S NAME] loves are plastic-free,
And preferably made from a tree!
We know this request is quite ambitious,
So we thank you for doing your best to honor our wishes.

Now that was pretty simple, wasn’t it? Not only does the rhyme note your concern for the environment, but it even makes gift-giving optional.  If you’re reading this, chances are you appreciate the benefits of being a minimalist mom.

Now I’ve never been a fan of giving a gift simply because it’s expected of me, so making gifts straight up optional will be welcomed by your party goers and go a long way to ensure your house isn’t overcome with yet more stuff after each and every birthday party you host.



Avoid the frustration of unwanted baby gifts and a pile of returns to deal with by creating an all natural baby registry featuring safe and high quality items you actually want! Do your best to keep all plastic off the registry so your eager gift-givers get the hint.

Consider noting somewhere in your baby registry that:

Cause who can argue with sentimentality and eco-friendliness?

We have an entire blog post dedicated to five brands that crunchy moms should have on their baby registry that you can check out for more inspo.  And it’s super easy to start your own all natural baby registry for free at BabyList.


If you’re sending out invites for your baby shower, consider copying and pasting the below rhyme onto your invites. If they didn’t get the drift from browsing your baby registry that you’re all about plastic-free, then it’ll be loud and clear thanks to this rhyme:

If you’re thinking of giving a gift for our new little one,
We’d be thrilled to receive something that’s
natural, safe, and of course, fun!
Plastic-free are the types of toys we desire,
If you’d like to know more, please enquire.
Because what better way to celebrate this birth,
Than with toys that last and don’t harm the earth?
Check out our all natural baby registry at


Remember, requesting plastic-free toys isn’t rude or selfish. (Just a little crunchy!) You’re simply doing your part to protect your family and the environment.  And an added bonus: you’re thinking ahead to ensure future generations will also get to enjoy this big, beautiful spaceship we call earth.

Alright, let me know how you go with requesting plastic-free toys from your family and friends! DM me on Instagram (@smilingtreetoys) and share your story.

Kathleen Smith
Kathleen Smith


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