If you plan on toy shopping this Earth Day, or any day, here are a few options for environmentally friendly products for kids.
Not Just a Cardboard Cutout
The Benz Bench is a kid-sized bench (shown at left) and storage box that’s strong enough to hold a parent and child at the same time. It’s made of smooth, more than 60% percent recycled corrugated cardboard that’s non-toxic. It’s also fire retardant, withstanding as much as 15 seconds of open flame, without affecting its recyclability.
Green Lullaby, the Benz Bench maker, also makes a cradle, storage blocks and other furniture for kids.
The Skuut balance bike helps kids develop coordination, balance and steering skills needed to ride a real bicycle, and it might even be better than a bike with training wheels. This bike without pedals, meant for kids aged 2 to 5, allows them to kick off the ground. It’s like a scooter with a seat.
And thanks to a partnership with Trees for the Future, which has helped thousands of communities in Central America, Africa and Asia improve their livelihoods and their environment, a tree will be planted for every bike sold.
Price: $92 at RunBikes.com.
No living tree is harmed in the making of hand-cut branch blocks called Tree Blocks. They’re made of wood from managed paper forests and abandoned fruit trees that would otherwise be piled up and burned. They come in different shapes and will keep your toddler stacking for hours. They are finished in flax oil and are safe for kids 3 years old and up.
Price: $42 for a 36-block set at CreativeKidStuff.com.
Made by poor artisans in La Paz, Bolivia, Ecowoods three-dimensional puzzles are made from discarded scraps of wood from larger companies that are part of a sustainable conservation program. The toys are are finished with natural flax oil, eucalyptus oil and bees wax.
Price: $20 to $24 at One World Projects.
Made from corn starch-based plastic, the Green Sprouts Baby dumbbell rattle isn’t made using petroleum, doesn’t contain potentially harmful PVC and BPA and it isn’t made with synthetic materials. It’s even biodegradable and compostable. It’s safe for kids 6 months and older.
Price: $10 at EcoToyTown.
If you consider your dog your baby, a West Paw Design Turtle or other stuffed animal is a fun and environmentally friendly toy for your pup. This squeaky toy is filled with recycled IntelliLoft fiber made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and is machine washable. And since it’s made from plastic, it comes out from the washer clean and free of pet odors.
Price: $13 at West Paw Design.
For your cat, West Paw makes a stuffed fish toy. Inside, along with recycled IntelliLoft fibers, this little fish is laced with USDA certified organic catnip and has sewn-in jingling bells.
Price: $8 at West Paw Design.