Gifts that give: Holiday ideas for kids

PORTLAND, Ore. - You can give your kids a gift this holiday season that gives back.

They're gifts that have a feel-good component, and when you give these gifts to your kids it gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with them to share the story of how others will benefit too.

We start at Learning Palace at Cascade Station where owner Mike Faris turns us on to wooden games made by a French company.

"These are games from Blue Orange Games, and they're an environmentally friendly company. And for every tree that they use, they plant two trees for the environment," Faris said.

Many toymakers support green causes. Thames and Kosmos makes science kits for kids. For every wind power and hydropower set sold, it donates 1 percent of the price to environmental nonprofits. The "Wind Power: Renewable Energy Science" kit cost $50.

Green Toys are made out of recycled milk jugs right here in the United States; in fact, the company has re-purposed more than 10 million jugs to date! Toys range from $11 to $25.

Next we stop in at Thinker Toys in Multnomah Village. Owner Tye Steinbach shows us Squishables.

"(Kids) can take a photograph of (Squishables), send it to the company, and the company will donate $1 for every photograph they receive to a charity of their choice," Steinbach said. "This month the charity is the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and they've done this with various charities over the last several years."

Squishables range in price from $20 to $42.

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty for $3 comes in 30 colors, including metallic and glow-in-the-dark. Some putties are even magnetic!

"It's made in a factory plant in Philadelphia, and it is staffed largely by people with special needs and disabilities," Steinbach said.
So when you buy the product, you're supporting their employment.

And it's totally addictive!

OMG Friends - a Portland company - makes small pocket-sized animals sold at Piccolo Mondo Toys. During the holidays, OMG is donating one doll to Doernbecher Children's Hospital for every retail unit sold.

If you want to give Christmas presents that give back to the community, here are some links from KATU's Shellie Bailey-Shah that you might find helpful:

Make a donation in somebody's name:

Toys that give back to the community: