Now more than ever, it’s important to use our purchasing power in a smart and environmentally-friendly way, and that includes toy shopping.
More and more businesses are getting savvy to the growing environmental movement, and it’s not as hard as some parents might think to get green gifts.
We know how busy parenting can get, so we decided to round up a few tips for eco-friendly toy shopping as well as a list of the best brands to look out for!
Things to keep in mind when buying eco-friendly toys:
1. Batteries Not Included…at All if Possible
Try to limit the number of toys that need batteries. If you do buy toys that require batteries, then they should buy rechargeable ones and a recharger.
Rechargeable batteries can be used over and over and have less of an environmental impact compared to regular batteries. They’ll also make your life easier, as instead of having to run to the store to buy more, you just have to recharge the batteries you already have. You can purchase rechargeable batteries on Amazon.
2. Look for “Natural” ToyS
Buy toys that are made from materials found in nature and have limited processing.
Instead of a plastic train, choose a wooden one. Instead of a plastic doll, choose one made with cotton or wool. Toys that are made of wood are often painted, so make sure you research if non-toxic paints or dyes were used, or if they have a natural oil finish like linseed or beeswax.
Buying toys that are free of harmful chemicals is especially important for babies and young children who are more likely to suck and chew on them.
3. Research Ethical Standards of Toy Companies
Buying the cheapest toy can often mean a toy that has been created in a less than an ethical environment where employees work long hours for little pay and in poor or even dangerous conditions. About ¾ of all toys are made in China, where this is often the case.
There are also worries that workers are abused or that children are being put to work to make items in developing nations. Make sure you only purchase toys that are fair trade.
4. Buy local
Search out craftspeople in your area and choose toys that are made in the local community.
5. Reuse and Recycle Toys
One of the best things parents can do to shrink their environmental footprint is to forgo buying new toys at all. Toy exchange with friends and neighbors is always a great way to get new toys and to bond with fellow parents.
Another great way to reuse toys is by visiting flea markets or swap meets that specialize in children’s items. You can also check out garage sales and thrift stores for second-hand toys. Make sure you also do the same by passing on or selling toys that your children no longer play with.
6. Create Toys With Things on Hand
Kids are super imaginative, and sometimes simple items make the best toys! A simple stick can keep kids busy for a long time – it’s a wand; it’s a sword, it’s a snake! Oh, and pro tip: kids love boxes. A big one can be painted and cut up to become a house, a spaceship, or a car.
Parents and kids can also make things together in the kitchen, like cooking up their own playdough or mixing up some goop!
The Best Eco-Friendly Toy Brands
Finn ´+ Emma
- Knit dolls made in collaboration with female knitters in Peru.
- Wooden toys are made from untreated hardwood.
- G.O.T.S certified organic cotton and eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes.
- Classic wooden blocks.
- No heavy metal contamination.
- Their blocks are made from basswood trees that grow in the Great Lakes area. These trees are a renewable resource.
- They re-purpose our scrap and wood dust.
- Sustainable wooden toys made from rubber trees that don’t produce latex anymore.
- Water-based dyes and chemical-free.
- They recycle wood from their production to feed a biomass generator that powers the factory as well as the villages nearby.
- They use responsibly sourced materials, such as recycled card, FSC wood and FSC paper, vegetable inks and water-based paints.
- GOTS certified organic cotton.
- Sustainable crayons, dough, paint, and more.
- Family owned.
- All Hevea toys are made from natural rubber and the wood, which is biodegradable. Using natural rubber acts against climate change by increasing the number of trees and cutting back on the use of fossil fuels.
- FSC certified