Eco-friendly Kids Toys

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Many years ago, children played with wooden toys or those made from cotton, rope, and other natural materials.

Now, there are way too many plastic and toxic additives in kids’ toys that make them incredibly unsafe. These additives disrupt hormones, trigger allergies, and may even lead to cancer in later years.

Fortunately, many health agencies have started to recognize the harmful effects of these chemicals, taking steps to inform consumers. Likewise, common consumers like us are now more mindful of what we buy and give to our children.

Still, we won’t get rid of the world’s plastic problem without targeting absolutely everything that contains plastic – and that includes children’s toys.

Why is plastic so bad?

Plastic is a cheap and widely available material used anywhere from single-use shopping bags, to shampoo bottles, industrial equipment, and even toys.

PVC plastics are the most common type of plastic found in toys. The problem with PVC is that it usually comes with additives like phthalates, BPA, and heavy metals, all of which may cause harm to your developing child.

Soft toys may be even more dangerous than hard plastic toys because they shed toxic material more easily.

Related: Why is plastic bad for the environment?

What defines an eco-friendly toy?

Luckily, more and more toy makers are turning to better alternatives than plastic toys.

  • Eco-friendly materials such as silicone (only of high quality), is silicone safe?
  • Natural rubber,
  • Bamboo,
  • Sustainably harvested wood,
  • Stainless steel,
  • Organic materials.
  • Natural paint

Earth-friendly materials aren’t all that make up an ideal children’s toy. In this article, we look for toys that are responsibly manufactured, energy-efficient, recyclable, or made with recyclable packaging, and are made with non-toxic materials.

You can thrift, but new toys can be earth-friendly, too. We found toy companies that make it easy for you to trace where they source their ingredients. More often, you’ll find that the best eco-friendly alternatives are more durable and of higher quality than cheap plastic toys.

Here is a list of our favorite sustainable toys, ready for the holiday season. These range from baby gifts to older children’s toys.

Here’s a list of the best eco-friendly toys for your kids.

Only applicable to earthhero products.

Get 10% discount with code ZEROWASTEMAN at checkout.

1. Plan Toys Fire Truck

Plan Toys

For ages: 3 years +

Made from: Sustainably-sourced rubberwood

Value: Sustainable manufacturing, safe and fair labor, recycled packaging, low-impact ink.

This realistic-looking toy fire truck is made from rubber trees that can no longer produce latex. It’s safely secured with E-Zero non-formaldehyde glue and uses non-toxic, low-impact, water-based dyes. Built with an extendable ladder and fire hose so your little one can play out their firefighting dreams.

2. Pretend Play Contemporary Dollhouse Set

Plan Toys

For ages: 3 years + / some assembly required



Made from: sustainably-harvested rubberwood that no longer produce latex. Finished with water-based dyes and non-toxic glue.

Value: Sustainable materials, recycled packaging, plants trees to reforest nearby cities, and sends donations to Museums in Thailand.

 The two-story dollhouse comes with furniture and accessories and even a tiny ladder to get up to the second floor! Let your child’s imagination go free and play with this eco-friendly toy.

3. Environmental Science: Oil Clean Up

KiwiCo

For ages: 5 years +

Made from: wood


Value: Sustainable cardboard packaging, child safety tested, designed by experts, no harmful chemicals.

This educational toy set from KiwiCo will teach your little scientist how oil affects the animals that live around oceans. They will learn how to clean the water and rescue the little animals from the sticky oil. All tools and materials in this kit are reusable and made with high-quality materials.

4. Treehouse Playset

EverEarth

For ages: 3 years +

Made from: FSC Certified Wood/Colored with non-toxic water-based paints

Value: Sustainability and environmentally friendly materials.

Adventure awaits with the Treehouse playset from EverEarth! Featuring a fully-operable pulley system, multiple levels of unique environments, and beautifully crafted figurines, this special playset has everything a child needs to lose themselves in their imagination. Plus, it’s made exclusively from FSC Certified Beechwood and GOTS Certified Organic Cotton!

5. KiwiCo Baking and Fractions

Kiwico

For ages: 3 years +

Value: Recycled cardboard packaging, quality materials, play-based learning

There’s nothing like baking to help develop a child’s hand-eye coordination and math skills. This baking set is made of solid wood and cardboard, making it a very high-quality and safe pretend play set for your growing child.
KiwiCo natural toys and sets may be bought separately or through their unique crates system. You pick a line based on your child’s age and interests, then wait for them to send you a unique, expertly crafted play kit that’s designed to help your child learn while having good, clean fun. They also have gift packaging options if you want to give one as an entertaining eco-friendly gift.



6. Tug Toy Boat

Green Toys

For ages: 6 months +

Made from: 100% recycled plastic from milk bottles



Value: BPA-free, phthalate-free, low-impact dyes, 100% recycled content made in the USA

Water toys are sometimes unsafe because of the amount of plastic and chemicals leaching from them. Fortunately, this colorful bathtime toy is certified chemical-free and made from recycled plastic milk jugs. Your little one can scoop up and pour out water from its wide spout, making sure they’re entertained while you scrub them clean. This is a great way to add lots of fun to your baby’s bath routine.

7. Mini Flip Baby Walker

Wishbone Design Studio

For ages: 2 years +

Made from: Sustainably harvested plantation poplar wood. Designed in New Zealand. Ethically made in China.

Value: Sustainable manufacturing, safe and fair labor, recycled packaging, low-impact ink

Wishbone products are designed for longevity and with low-waste. Their products use sustainable, raw materials in a mindful way and emphasize repair and reuse. They are an excellent sustainable alternative to classic kids and baby toys!

8. All the Coloring Busy Box

For ages: 2 years +

Made from: Natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, blue shade vegetable, curcumin, purple sweet potato, red cabbage, rice

Value: Made in the USA in Maine from natural ingredients.

Get creative with these non-toxic paints from eco-kids! Whether it’s on the sidewalk or a pad of paper, kids will have a blast scribbling and painting with the hopscotch chalk, finger paints, and colored pencils included in this play kit. This box is a perfect gift for young, burgeoning artists!

9. Cruise Kid Bike

Wishbone

For ages: 2 years +

Made from:

Sustainably harvested plantation birch wood. Post-consumer plastic.



Value: Wishbone products are designed for longevity and with low waste. Their products use sustainable, raw materials in a mindful way and emphasize repair and reuse. They are an excellent sustainable alternative to classic kids and baby bike toys!

Move and explore with the Cruise Kid Bike from Wishbone Design Studio. Made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and carpet and sustainable birch, this innovative bike has no pedals, encouraging kiddos 2 to 4 years old to learn how to ride a bike and fine tune their motor skills. It features larger 14-inch wheels for a smooth ride and has an adjustable seat to grow with your little adventurer.

10. Eco-Bricks Color

Once Kids

For ages: 3 years +

Made from:

  • FSC Certified Wood
  • Non-Toxic Water-Base Color



Value: Once-Kids contributes 1% of total sales directly to the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, aiding in the cleanup of plastic from our oceans and waterways!

Let imagination run wild with Eco-bricks Color Wooden Toy Blocks from Once-Kids. Made from FSC Certified Wood, these building blocks are customizable with colored pencils and are compatible with conventional building block alternatives. Each set comes with a variety of different style blocks, allowing for countless configurations and creations. They encourage creativity, imagination, and fine motor skills – and are tons of fun.

11. Plan Toys Fire Truck

Under the Nile

For ages: All ages

Made from: hand sewn from soft organic Egyptian cotton. Made from scraps of leftover clothing product at the Fair Trade Certified Under the Nile factory.

Value: Fairtrade certified, upcycled organic cotton, handmade toys

Colorful and adorable, this cuddly toy octopus is made from the purest Egyptian cotton. Under the Nile, created for cleaner and safer materials, makes sure their organic cotton undergoes intense screening to give you the best material for your kids. The soft, artificial color-free fabric in this natural toy is perfect for teething babies.

12. Garden Activity Cube

Everearth

For ages: 18 months +

Made from: Created with FSC Certified Wood.

Value: Safe and fair labor, sustainable manufacturing, low impact dyes.

This learning toy for toddlers can be played solo or with friends. So much to discover for little hands. 7 active play sides. The best way to have fun and learn while playing.

13. Baby Blocks

For ages: 18 months +

Made from: Rubberwood

Value: Sustainable manufacturing, safe and fair labor, recycled packaging, low-impact ink

This simple, four piece block is illustrated with warm bright colors and simple graphics. Challenge your toddler to create 4 different animal pictures using the tray to keep them safe.  A fantastic first toy for your toddler, as it helps to develop hand eye coordination, spatial thinking, and concentration.

Final Thoughts:

The best way to help your kid develop is to be a present parent and spend quality time with your little one. But we know that can be tough at times and you can feel much safer when you know that your kid is playing with toys that are safe.

Second-hand is also always a good option, this is where we look first.

We hope this list of friendly toy brands inspired you. Happy playtime!!!

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