Babies and toddlers are usually lots of fun to shop for. They love just about anything you give them. That makes it all the better when you can give them something more on the eco friendly side of things. This guide offers some ideas to get you started on looking for green toys for babies and toddlers.
What Makes a Toy Eco Friendly?
The first thing to consider is what makes a toy eco friendly. There are a number of factors to consider.
Handmedown or used toys can generally be considered eco friendly, in my opinion, even if they aren’t made from eco friendly materials. There are those who would disagree with me, I’m sure. I see nothing wrong, for example, with giving my older kids my husband’s old Legos one year as a gift. These are of course older kids, not toddlers or babies. Legos may be plastic, but the ones my husband grew up with aren’t going to do any more environmental damage for my children using them than they’ve already done.
With new toys, you really have to look at what they’re made of and how they’re made.
Bamboo is generally considered eco friendly, for example, because it grows quickly with little care.
Rubberwood comes from rubber trees that no longer produce rubber and would be cut down anyhow.
For other wooden toys, make sure it’s from wood that was sustainably harvested. Look for FSC certification.
Organic cotton… need I say more than that? Wool can be a good choice too.
Recycled plastic toys are generally your best bet for plastic toys. They take old plastic and make it into toys. If you’re concerned about what may be in the plastic, such as BPA, I would suggest reading what you can on the packaging or checking with the manufacturer.
Finishing touches matter. It’s better for toys to have nontoxic finishes applied.
Packaging also matters. Any company marketing eco friendly toys should place them in eco friendly packaging, such as recycled cardboard with minimal to no use of plastic.
And of course, consider durability. A toy is only so eco friendly if it breaks quickly. Toys that can be handed down from child to child are much more eco friendly than toys that break in a short time. Of course, if it’s easy for you to fix, minor breaks may not be a significant problem.
Eco Friendly Baby and Toddler Toys
Here are some eco friendly baby and toddler toys and why I like them.
Toddlers love pull along toys. This snail is really cute and brightly colored. It moves up and down as it’s pulled. A few reviewers on Amazon have said it may fall apart quickly, but others don’t seem to have that problem and one seems to have no problem with just gluing it back together.
This is a green alternative to those “popcorn poppers” that so many children adore and parents dread. A wooden ball inside hits the slats to make noise as the child pushes it. So long as the sound is more pleasant than the regular poppers make, I’m all for it! Kids can pretend to vacuum with it or just push it around for the sheer delight of sound and motion. It will break if kids are rough enough with it, but I noticed that some parents were able to repair them on their own with glue, if the break wasn’t too bad.
This little guy is just plain cute. Not only is he a rocker for little kids – he can be taken off his base and cuddled. That’s also handy when you need to wash the crocodile. It’s made of rubberwood and biodegradeable fabric. This toy reminds me of an alligator toys my kids had as babies that was much loved. We called it a dragon, however, but it was great for snuggling, and I think this guy would be too.