Published on December 14th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans0
Green Gifting Guide: Natural Toys for Eco Kids
Kids are VIPs in your life, deserving special care and concern. Certainly, this includes providing them with toxin-free toys for play. And, of course, eco toys are safe…but what about fun?
Let’s explore some ideas for gift-worthy green toys that stimulate and engage young, curious minds in the fun, education, and craft departments . . .
If you have a few moments to browse, here are some great general resources for eco toy options and ideas. You’ll find everything from recycled content puzzles and wooden toys to eco art supplies to organic stuffies and healthy infant teethers.
Okay, technically, toys that teach alternative technologies are “educational” but they’re first and foremost a lot of fun! Check out:
- Discovery Channel’s Hydrogen Fuel Rocket
- Slinky Science’s Solar Energy Kit
- Solar racing cars and car kits from Silicon Solar
- Thames and Kosmos’ fuel cell car kits
Many excellent sustainably harvested or salvaged wooden toys (trains, autos, and animals) are out there, especially from the U.K. KidBean.com has a “toybox” of natural, renewable wooden toy products made in the U.S. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
- Safety. Eco wood toys will be unfinished or coated with natural colorants and materials like beeswax. If scented, check to make sure that natural essential oils were used.
- People. If information is available, look for indicators of fair trade, fair wage production.
- Planet. Try to get the 411 on the wood species and production process of any prospective purchase.
- Local Commerce. Check online for local craftspeople in your area.
For kid-safe, eco wooden blocks and teaching toys, take a look at:
- Camden Rose’s sustainable wood toy products
- Imagiplay’s wooden teaching puzzles and play sets
- Smart Monkey Toys corrugated cardboard reading blocks
For sustainably crafted games that teach the eco principles involved in harmonious living, check out:
- Cooperative board games featured on Eco Toy Town, ages 3 & up
- Paradice, an eco-conscious living game, ages 8 & up
- Xeko, a collective card game that teaches how to retain ecosystem balance
For more options, take a peek at Moolka, a U.K.-based distributor of eco toys and games of all kinds. They feature well-known European manufacturers such as Haba and Selecta.
Squishy modeling clays and vibrant paints are a hit with tiny tots. To avoid phthalate-laden polymer clays and pick something out of nature’s recipe book, try:
- Mary’s Softdough natural modeling dough by Terrapin Toys
- Lakeshore Scented Dough
- A glass-jarred homemade recipe for play dough
- For natural finger paints, check out NunoOrganic and KidBean.com
Give the little artists in your life gifts that help them to create works resembling Mother Nature’s colorful canvas. Explore the wide assortment of natural eco art supplies at EcoArtWorks. They feature things like:
- Beeswax modeling clays in colors drawn from nature
- Plant and veg-based crayons instead of petroleum products
- Natural watercolors
- Paper making kits, flower/leaf presses, and more