Top Ten Natural Toys for Christmas 2012!
Top Ten Natural and Green Toys
I am a green mom and it is important to me that my kids play with natural, green toys. I don't want the toys my kids play with to be bad for the planet or for them. That is why I think it is best to go natural with toys and this means lots of wood, wool, cloth, recycled materials, and sustainable choices. Even if "going green" is not your thing you can still find lots of reasons to buy natural toys. Usually they are made by smaller, more ethical companies who won't use lead paint or harmful plastics. Cloth toys such as dolls and pretend food can even be organic and therefore safer for your kids. Let's face it.. kids are being bombarded with chemicals and other toxins, the last place they need to find such things is in their toys.
For peace of mind and for planetary reasons many parents are choosing natural and green toys. This lens has some good suggestions for girls and boys!
Photo Source: Amazon.com
Better for the Planet - Better for Kids!
Hammer Balls by Plan Toys
A curved wooden box with three colorful balls and a mallet, this toy helps children to improve hand-eye coordination, aligning, slotting and aiming. Pound the balls and watch them roll out one by one.
This is one of my all time favorite toddler toys. We got this toy for our 3 year old son as a Christmas gift and not only does he love it, his older siblings do to! It is a wood block with a lovely curved shape that has three holes in it. You place one or all of the three colorful, wooden balls on it and then you use the hammer to pound the balls through the holes. They roll out from underneath and the fun begins again. The concept is incredibly simple but it is fascinating to most young kids. It is similar to the idea of wack-a-mole but without the violent concept of striking an animal. Early childhood learning involves playing and this toy helps to develop hand-eye coordination and aiming. It is easy for toddlers to grasp the concept and fun enough to keep them practicing.
Hammer Balls also has a beautiful Euro-contemporary design. The curves are sleek and fun, making it one of the most aesthetically pleasing toddler toys I have come across. It is a natural and healthy alternative to plastic toys that have chemicals and off gassing potential since it is made of natural recycled rubber wood. It is painted with non toxic dyes. As always Plan Toys has successfully delivered a fun and natural toys for kids and I highly recommend it to other moms of toddlers.
Automoblox Mini Cars and Trucks
Little boys usually love to take things apart and put them together again. They also usually love cars and trucks. Automoblox is a toy concept that takes these two ideas and puts them together to help boys (or girls) create and invent new vehicles. Usually creative building type toys are plastic... it is just easier to make interchangeable parts in plastic than in wood.
Automoblox manages to deliver a natural building toys made of wood and plastic, the best of both worlds. The majority of the vehicle is wood that comes apart in sections and the plastic parts like the wheels, windows, and people are plastic and interchangeable so that with just a few cars or trucks you can create a variety of customized vehicles. You can alternate colors and body pieces so that the design possibilities are endless.
Both of my boys like cars like Automoblox cars and trucks. They can play for hours designing new cars and trucks. The quality of these cars is excellent too. These vehicles will stand up to rough play, even if they get sent crashing down the staircase at high speeds daily.
They get high ratings from me because they at least partially use sustainable materials. They are quality toys that inspire creative play, design, and imagination. The interchangeable pieces help with problem solving too. They have all the makings of an excellent toy.
Bamboo E-Racer Cars!!
Boys are gonna love this one!! The new E-Racer will thrill eco-minded moms and kids with sleek design and nimble handling and the extra benefit of having a tiny environmental impact. The body of each E-Racer is built from one single piece of renewable bamboo and finished in non-toxic, water based paints from Europe.
The E-Racer couldn't be more sporty or stylish - its beautiful design will delight young and old as it races around the home track! HaPe draws on decades of child development expertise, which makes them sensitive to children's needs, whenever they develop and design a new toy. Their toys support children throughout every stage of development, starting at a very young age to help nurture and develop their natural abilities.
Renewable Energy Science Education Kit
Kids love to learn about our planet and how to help protect it. The best way to explain certain environmental concepts is through hands-on experiments. What could be better than letting them build and observe their own renewable energy system?
The Renewable Energy Science Education Kit consists of a wind turbine kit, a solar photovoltaic panel, an electrolyzer, a PEM fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system. Together they are a small-scale, clean energy, system. It teaches children and adults how fuel cells work to create electricity and how wind and solar energy can be used as a renewable energy source. It is a kit that inspires children to experiment and see the advantages of clean technology first hand.
Overall, I think this is an awesome opportunity to teach older children the benefits of renewable energy and how it can help to protect our planet. The kit is easy to set up and use and will give lots of food for thought on how to be good stewards of our earth.
Wooden Skittles Game from Camden Rose
The Natural Wooden Skittles by Camden Rose are made of unfinished birch wood from sustainable programs. Playing skittles is fun, physical and it stimulates mental activity. Games are important for any child’s development - it improves their social skills and communication, develops their strategic thinking and is a great way of spending time with your family and friends.
The skittles game includes:
* nine natural pins
* one twin-striped headpin
* two balls
* one all cotton storage bag
* instruction booklet on how to play traditional and modern skittles games
Each skittle is handcrafted and can be painted if preferred.
Storage bag and skittles are made in the USA from high quality materials by Camden Rose, a company that embraces sustainability and fairtrade.
Melissa and Doug Birthday Party Cake
Most children love to play in pretend kitchens with play food. They can spend hours creating pretend delicacies for their parents or stuffed animals to eat. There is a big market nowadays for play food and play kitchens but unfortunately much of it is made with potentially toxic plastics that could have BPA or phthalates. Melissa and Doug is one company that makes wooden food that is not only more sustainable and safe they are some of the cutest sets you will ever see! One of their most adorable sets is the Birthday Party Cake. It is a colorful wood cake that is cut in slices and held together with Velcro. Kids can pretend to cut and serve slices to their party guests by using the wooden spatula. The cake is adorned with delectable toppings such as strawberries, jellybeans, and gumdrops and has wooden candles to wish upon. All children love birthday parties so this toy creates a little bit of that magic every time they play with it. Every day can be a very merry un-birthday.
To keep all the pieces organized it comes in a wooden box for easy storage. Several of their sets come this way so it is really easy to stack them and keep all the pieces together. They are also very high quality. They won’t chip or break even when played with roughly. They are a great value for a relatively low price.
A toy and an educational resource! TAG's unique learning center provides a sure way to learn how to spell.. It consists of a spelling tray with an attached chalkboard, wood tiles with individual letters and spelling picture word cards. A word is spelled by copying the word card. Letter tiles are placed in the correct sequence in the spelling tray. The word is studied, then the doors are closed. The child writes out the word on the chalkboard from memory. Correctness is checked by lifting the doors and matching the letter tiles to the handwritten word. Checking answers by lifting the doors provides positive reinforcement when correct and negative reinforcement when incorrect. This is ideal for the teaching of spelling, especially when the child works alone and checks his or her own answers - mistakes then become a part of the learning process and are not perceived in a negative way.
The cookies and the separate frosting pieces come in a variety of "flavors" and designs. They can bake cookies with vanilla or chocolate frosting and then top with a coordinating colored frosting or sprinkles. The set also comes with a spatula and a kitchen mitt, everything a little baker needs to make some cookies. This set is great for creative play and it is an awesome value for the money.
Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up Doll
This dress-up doll set has reinvented the concept of playing with paper dolls. Instead of using paper that can tear easily and need to be discarded, this set uses durable wood for the doll body and a wooden stand so that dressing is a snap. The different pieces of clothing (27 pieces) are all magnetic so that all a child needs to do is place the clothing on top of the body. This makes it incredibly easy for small hands to dress up their dolls.
Nina Ballerina is an adorable doll with a variety of clothing options with tutus, blouses, slippers, and crowns in a variety of colors and styles. Ballet enthusiasts will love to play with her. My own daughter loves to play with Nina Ballerina often and finds this dress-up doll much easier to play with and dress than paper dolls or even Barbie. I like the fact that it is made of wood and it is very durable. It also comes with a nice wooden box to store the doll in with compartments for all her clothing. The pieces are small and can get lost easily so this is a nice feature.
There are also several other dolls you can buy including a Princess doll which we also have. They provide many hours of creative play for little girls and can usually be found for around $10-12 so they are a great price too.
Xeko Indonesia Game
Xeko is a really fun trading cards game for kids that has won many awards, including game of the year in 2007. The game teaches players about ecology and endangered species in various parts of the world. It is a trading card game with a social conscience and there are a couple different missions available in places like Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Indonesia. Game players learn about the multifaceted nature of ecosystems, as they try to save the endangered ecological communities in whatever destination they have chosen. It is difficult to describe the game and it was pretty complicated to learn the game as well. Principally you play cards against each other on a big map of the ecosystem. I play it with my 8 year old son and my husband. The starter set comes in a lovely collector’s box and the cards and board (or map) are really beautiful. Extra cards can be bought to expand the game and the missions can even be combined.
The game is made from recycled paper stock printed with soy based inks. Players can send their card wrappers back to the company too. Conservation International is provided with 4% of the net sales of each game, for their work in supporting the hotspots that inspired the game.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Responsibility Chart
Okay so not actually a toy but I bought two of these charts about a year ago for my two oldest kids and we LOVE them! It is a magnetic chore/responsibility chart that encourages independence and responsibility. It is really easy for children to understand even young children that can't yet read. Basically you have spaces along the left side for chores or goals and then corresponding spaces for every day of the week. It offers a variety of chores and positive behaviors on magnetic pieces that kids love.
They are actual chores like set the table or make your bed and then there are goals like no hitting and use the potty. There are plenty of different ones to choose from, suitable for all ages, and there are blank ones so you can customize. If the goal is met or the chore is accomplished that day the child gets a reward button such as a star, a heart, a flower, a trophy, a bear, and many others. The right side has a section for even more magnetic buttons that show the results of the goal or chore set at the end of the week. I imagine this would be were you could write out a reward or incentive they receive, like allowance. The chart is also a dry erase board and you can write on it as well. It is simply outstanding and its bright colors and adorable pictures mean kids love it to. It can be folded for easy storage and it has a sturdy strap so you can hang it on a wall. The only feature missing is a snap closure so you can snap it closed while it is hanging so that little brother or sister can’t reach it and grab the magnets and run off with them! This is a very helpful product!