Play green: 7 eco-friendly toys to own for sustainable fun

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In today’s ever-polluted world, there are compelling reasons why eco-friendly toys are becoming increasingly popular among environmentally-conscious parents. Explore the top seven that are safe, sustainable and help preserve our planet.

Wooden toys on a shelf with a rabbit and a car.
Photo credit: YayImages.

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Factors to consider when buying eco-friendly toys 

When choosing toys for your children, consider making your children’s playtime not only fun but also aligned with the values and commitment to a more sustainable future. Here are some key points to keep in mind when opting for eco-friendly toys. 

  • Materials: Choose toys made from sustainable materials such as wood, organic cotton or recycled materials. Consider items that are free from harmful chemicals, ensuring the safety of your child and the environment.
  • Durability: Prioritize toys with sturdy construction and high-quality craftsmanship to ensure longevity. Investing in durable toys not only reduces waste but also allows for passing them down to younger siblings or other children.
  • Packaging: Look for toys with minimal or recyclable packaging to minimize environmental impact. Avoid excessive plastic or non-recyclable materials, contributing to a more sustainable approach to packaging.
  • Production process: Choose toys produced by companies with clear sustainability goals. Support local artisans and businesses that prioritize fair labor practices and environmentally responsible production.
  • Educational value: Focus on toys that enhance your child’s learning experience. Select items that promote creativity, critical thinking and open-ended play.
A little girl playing with wooden blocks on the floor.
Photo credit: YayImages.
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Top 7 eco-friendly toys to own

This carefully curated list of top eco-friendly toys will help you choose the ones that fit your child’s interests and your budget. Opting for green toys will ensure your child’s playtime is both enjoyable and environmentally responsible. 

Wooden building blocks

A set of wooden building blocks is a must-have for encouraging creative and open-minded play. Our family’s all-time favorite is Lincoln Logs. We keep replenishing our collection as our kids grow, and their constructions get more advanced. It doesn’t stop to amaze us how these timeless building blocks continue to inspire endless possibilities and imaginative creations. This set makes a perfect birthday or Christmas gift

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03/11/2024 09:56 pm GMT

‘‘Lincoln Logs is one of those toys that has stood the test of time in our family. I grew up playing with logs I got in the early 80s that my parents smartly saved in the original box. When my kids were younger, they played with the same Lincoln Logs that were in perfect condition still and loved them as much as I did. They are now boxed up for the next generation to enjoy because these wonderful wooden building toys absolutely last and last.”

— Michelle Price, Honest and Truly

Sustainable art supplies

Nurture your child’s artistic side with eco-friendly art supplies. Look for non-toxic paints, crayons made from soy or beeswax and recycled paper. I love these pure beeswax crayons as they are thicker and don’t break as easily as regular ones. At 3 years old my girl occasionally chews on her crayons, so these give me peace of mind that she doesn’t swallow any toxic chemicals. Plus, these come in plastic-free packaging.

Honeysticks Jumbo Crayons
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03/12/2024 01:11 pm GMT

Plush toys made from recycled materials

Instead of contributing to plastic waste, opt for toys made from recycled plastic materials. When I first stumbled upon these eco-friendly plush toys, I couldn’t believe the fabric was made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. I now recommend these to everyone I know. While these are not as soft as other stuffies we own, my kids don’t mind and cuddle with them as much. 

Mini Tiger Stuffed Animal
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03/12/2024 01:17 pm GMT

Cardboard construction kits

Kids love to play with cardboard boxes — the bigger the box, the better. These cardboard construction kits are perfect for imaginative play. The kit comes with pre-cut cardboard pieces that my kids put together into huge constructions they love to hide in and play pretend play. 

Make-A-Fort Explorer Kit
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03/12/2024 01:21 pm GMT

“My kids hated all the fancy wooden toys we bought them! However, they loved playing with recycled cardboard boxes, which is probably the most eco-friendly of all.” 

— Ksenia Prints, At the Immigrant’s Table

Bio Play-Doh

Provide your child with hours of sensory play with bio Play-Doh. My favorite is this non-toxic Play-Doh because it’s made from food-grade ingredients and is colored using food coloring. Plus, what makes it so great is that unlike regular Play-Doh this one doesn’t dry easily and can be rehydrated with water. So it can be reused over and over again. 

Bio DoUgh Natural Colored Dough
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03/12/2024 01:36 pm GMT

Recycle and Play book

Turn some common household items that would otherwise go into your recycle bin into hours of crafting and playing. My kids and I reuse things like cardboard, bubble wrap, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls for lots of different crafts with this great Recycle and Play book. 

Recycle and Play
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03/12/2024 01:41 pm GMT
A child's hand is holding a toilet paper roll for crafting.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Plantable pencils 

Have you heard about plantable pencils? These are great not only for kids but adults too and can be a great gift. Each pencil is biodegradable and carries vegetable, herb or flower seeds. Once the pencil is used up, the bottom part can be planted. My kids have already planted several in our garden. This encourages them to take care of their own plants and develop a love for nature.  

Sprout Wood-Cased Pencils
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03/12/2024 01:46 pm GMT

One last thing

Choosing eco-friendly toys is not just a trend but a conscious decision that can positively impact your kids and the planet. By embracing these toys, you can instill in your kids a love for the environment, foster their creativity and critical thinking, support local artisans and contribute to a more sustainable future. So, embark on this journey of eco-friendly play and show your kids that fun and sustainability can go hand in hand.

Tamara is a blogger at Thriving In Parenting, where she shares simple tips for busy parents — easy and healthy recipes, home decor ideas, self-care for moms and all things parenting.

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