Tag Archives: natural toys

Great Green Toys for Toddlers

As babies become toddlers, they start to take more of an interest in playing with toys. The challenge comes in avoiding the parade of plastic toys and keeping things a little better for your tot and the planets. Here are some suggestions:

Plan Toys Punch and Drop

Plan Toys Punch and DropPlan Toys in general makes great toys for kids. They use organic recycled rubber wood for this to. It’s made really well too.

The Punch and Drop is your classic hammering toy. Kids have played with these for a long time, and there’s a reason why they keep making them. Kids enjoy hammering. The colors are great too.

And you can’t forget the lack of batteries!

Educo Alphabet Abacus

Educo Alphabet AbacusThe Educo Alphabet Abacusis the kind of thing that can hold my toddler’s attention for a long time. She’s very much into anything brightly colored and fairly complex. Pictures in books and magazines get her babbling too.

This has the advantage of giving her something to look at as we sing the alphabet song. She loves music of any sort and even babbles along. Using any sort of visual may eventually help her to start pointing out letters at a young age without quizzing her all the time. Early exposure helped my older two, anyhow.


No, it’s not a toy as such. But it’s a great idea to expose your baby to all kinds of music very young. But rather than buy a musical toy, just find appropriate music to download on the computer you already own. Get that toddler dancing!

WONDERWORLD Puffy Dragon Ride-on

WONDERWORLD Puffy Dragon Ride-onIs the WONDERWORLD Puffy Dragon Ride-on cute or what? I mean really!

My one year old is very much so into ride on toys. She started liking them before she could walk, of course. This looks nice and soft as well as fun.

And I could never resist saying my child rides a dragon! He’s made from rubberwood and biodegradable fabrics.

Bringing Kids Down From the Christmas Crazies

Even when you keep your own Christmas fairly simple, kids get really wound up around all the presents they get at Christmas time. If you’re like me and have a lot of family giving presents, it can be hard to control just what happens.

With the new year, kids need to recover from getting so much fun new stuff and really taking a look at what they have that they really don’t care about.

This is the time of year to go through the old toys and get rid of any that aren’t really played with if you didn’t do that before Christmas. Send them off to charity. Teach your kids about giving to those who have less!

Honestly, my kids resist the clean out and then love giving the toys away. I don’t hide the process from them at all. I could, very easily. Especially this year with so many of their toys still boxed away in the garage.

But I don’t do that because it’s a great lesson.

They get to do the first sort, which is to get the toys they are absolutely not interested in keeping into the give away pile.

Then comes the challenging sort, when my husband and I get to decide if they’re keeping things we know they really won’t use. This one generates a number of protests often followed by an admission that yes, it’s really not used that much. But it’s special, you see! And they just know that they’ll start using it more soon!

That plea works some of the time but not that often.

We don’t aim for tears or a lot of frustration or anything, and it rarely goes that badly. Talking about the children with very few toys who might be able to get their old toys works pretty well. Children can be amazingly sympathetic if you play it right.

Why Do Kids Love Play Silks?

My favorite toys for my kids are always the ones that encourage active play or creativity. I’d rather avoid the ones that are supposed to be used in one particular way… even if that rarely stops my kids from coming up with other uses.

But I think one of the best gifts my daughter ever got for her birthday from a friend was some play silks. 2 years later and she still keeps pulling them out. They’re holding up well.

Play silks are such simple toys really, just a beautiful piece of silk. But the simplicity is the real delight. They get used to create costumes, mostly. It’s amazing how many costumes can come from a single piece of fabric, and yes, a bride can wear a green veil and look wonderful.

Play silks can be found at sites such as Magic Cabin or Amazon, as well as many others.

At the ages my kids are at, I really think they’re happiest when they’re being creative, and that’s why I think they love the silks so much. They may beg to watch television or play on the computer, but once they’re involved in creative play, they’ll go on for hours. Watch TV or play on the computer, and I can count on multiple requests for snacks and other signs of boredom.

Can Baby Go Organic?

I’m greener these days than I was when I had my first two kids. It’s amazing how things change once new ideas get on your radar. It makes some things more complex.

I’ve blogged a lot about how we use cloth diapers with our baby. That’s still going really well. We also use a lot more homemade cleaners. But there are a lot more things we want to do this time around.

We’ve resisted the temptation to get organic sheets and such for her bedding. Just about all the baby clothes and other supplies we have are handmedowns, and have likely off gassed pretty much anything there could be to worry about with them. Shopping for organic replacements strikes me as a bit of a waste at this point.

Baby food, on the other hand…

Going organic here is going to be pretty affordable with any luck. We have a garden, and one of the big things I want to do with any excess is prepare it as baby food.

I figure it will be a great way to get cheap, organic baby food. No question of how it was grown or prepared.

We don’t have any fruit trees, so I will still have to buy fruits to prepare for her, but if the garden behaves we’ll be in pretty good shape with certain varieties.

For the early days we have the VitaMix blender. That should make some really good purees. As she gets big enough to have a little texture, our little KidCo baby food mill should do the job at each meal.

Yes, I know organic baby food is fairly easy to buy these days in jars. I’d still rather make what I can. It makes sense financially and I know to be very, very careful about keeping things clean when making baby food, as food poisoning is more dangerous to infants.

I have a bit of time yet before taking this step, but it’s definitely time to get planning. Selene is three months now and I want to be ready to get things started when she’s six months old, not still trying to figure the whole deal out.

Will Natural Toys Be Almost Illegal?

A new rule from the Consumer Products Safety Commission will bring this awfully close to the truth. The rule is called CPSIA, and I was first alerted to it by this post on Eco Child’s Play.

The problem is that this rule mandates third party testing for all toys, and labeling with a date and batch number. The testing would be up to $4000 per toy.

This is overkill. The problems with lead paint and such haven’t been so much with toys made by individuals, or toys made in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The rules for manufacturing toys in many of these places make such testing unnecessary, and quite burdensome to smaller companies.

What can you do?

Write to your Congressperson here, Senator and the CPSC. Tell them what you think. The Handmade Toy Alliance has a sample letter that I found linked at the Eco Child’s Play site.

All of this is so frustrating to see. We have the FDA doing a lousy job protecting us, and now the CPSC going into overkill, which will be bad for small businesses. Sometimes you just can’t win either way. But you can register your disagreement and try to make a change.