Thinking Green Thoughts About Eco-Friendly Toys

Eliza Clark
April 1, 2011

Another birthday's coming up. Some special occasion. Or your preschooler just seems to be outgrowing too many of his toys -- too fast! You walk into the toy store, full of excitement. What's more fun than choosing a toy for a child? You scan, scan, scan the displays.

Thought bubble: Will this toy bring joy? Will my child learn from it? Will it last? Will it get lots of play time for a long time, or wind up in the forgotten-toys-basket? Will I find it scattered across the floor in a million pieces every night and curse the day I bought it? Oh yes, and might it expose my child to toxic chemicals, and did its manufacture contribute to the impending demise of our planet?

Time to take a breath, step out of the store, and have a look at some of these lovely web sites offering eco-friendly toys that are just as smart and fun and charming as we could wish.

Thought bubble: Being savvy and being green? Easy peasy!

Oompa Toys - A superb web site with hundreds of European and American toys made from eco-friendly, non-toxic materials. We love the layout of the site because it allows easy searches by theme, age, brand, or country of origin. They have a rewards program, blog, and wishlist. Our wishlist is long indeed.  Pictured: a wooden ice cream cone from Haba.  Adorbs!

Child Trek - Another site that offers very lovely, natural, eco-friendly, educational toys. What sets it apart, for us, are a series of quite thoughtful articles on child development that introduce different sections of the site. Any toy site that asks us to stop and think for a moment before clicking on the next purchase has our vote. Pictured: the miYim organic musical owl. So sweet.



Little Alouette - These toys are handmade by a family in Ohio by hand using locally sourced hardwoods. They are organic and are frequently buffed without the use of finishes -- when a finish is used, it's certified organic flax seed. These are heirloom toys that are completely safe and encourage a child's creativity. Pictured: Billy the Fish teething toy. Love!


Maple Landmark Woodcraft - A 30-person , Vermont-based company makes the wooden toys found here from local components with natural finishes. The company has recycled since its inception, giving scrap wood as kindling and wood shavings to local farmers for animal bedding. Pictured: Natural Scoot, Recycling Team. Perfect.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Another great site for safe, eco-friendly and cute toys/gifts for babies and beyond:

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    This is a perfect list. And am glad to see that there's a marketing trend going towards "greener" products for our children to play with. If you stop and think about it - it's really about going back to the basics - wooden toys and all things soft and natural. Who says flashing lights and plastic toys will teach our kids any better? It's all in the play itself and how fun we make it for our children - giving them the space to grow, imagine and create!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    Thanks for the links! My problem is I'm not organized enough to plan ahead for the inevitable birthday parties and stock up on gifts that can be used in a pinch. Seems like this might be a good place to start shopping.

    over a year ago


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