Great “Green” Toys

Last week, I shared some of my ideas for what makes a good kid toy. This week, I would like to share with you some sources and suggestions for toys that are durable, fun, useful and green!

Next week is Thanksgiving and as we know the day after T-day the Christmas spending season begins. However, some folks (like me) observe a special day of consciously not consuming (known as Buy Nothing Day). I really like this website that has great ideas to make the day after Thanksgiving Make Something Day.

And if you just don’t have the time, skill, materials…. whatever… to make or create gifts for the kiddos in your life then perhaps some of these resources will make your holiday season easier.  I know they will make the holiday season easier on the environment!

1) The playstands at our house serve many purposes a fort, shop, restaurant, entrance to a secret fortress; the uses are really only limited by the imagination. They are commonly found in Waldorf School early childhood classrooms and especially crafty folks can make these fairly easily.

2) A Community Playthings rocking boat is a great toy and can be used by 4 children simultaneously or serve as a counter top in a restaurant, or stairs leading into a mysterious land. When my son was just learning to walk, this was a wonderful way for him to safely navigate learning to use the stairs.

3) Children’s work is children’s play; a special kitchen for to use for baking, cooking, sorting, stalking, washing, tidying is a multiuse learning “station” with endless possibilities for indoor adventures. Pine cones, gourds, acorns (with older kids!) make wonderful “food” additions to such a set.

4) Some kids watch dad or mom creating things with tools, a workbench is perfect for children who enjoy imitating the Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it in the house. Our workbench has lasted through many hours of pounding and pulling, and my son has fixed our stairs, a wall, the door, and the swing-set with the use of his own special tools.

 5) A natural alternative to a plastic doll is a boy or girl homemade “Waldorf” doll. These dolls stand the test of time and the cozy natural material is wonderful for little ones to snuggle next to at night (rather than breathing in the toxins of a plastic doll).

These items are all a little pricey… but hey, they will last a long time.  Check out Craigslist in your area- I’ve gotten many of our wooden toys this way. Or attend a Waldorf School Holiday Fair where these items or others like them are available, sometimes at a discounted rate. There are tons of Etsy stores for purchasing handmade wooden toys as well (and the money goes right to the crafter).

These are a few ideas that I want to share with you; perhaps the best investment of all is the book Toymaking with Children, that gives directions for making tons of natural toys and might be the ultimate gift that keeps giving.

What resources do you use to look for natural toys for your kids? Have any special crafts to share for Make Something Day?

:: :: ::

Shannon Baer lives in semi-rural Rhode Island with her husband, son and a flock of chickens. She is excited to be a new member of the Green Team here at 5 Minutes for Going Green. Shannon shares her joy of (re)connecting children and nature at her blog Backyard Mama


4 Responses to Great “Green” Toys
  1. Amber
    November 19, 2009 | 4:08 pm

    Our local Waldorf school’s holiday fair is this weekend. I can’t wait to go and check out the fabulous, lovingly crafted, non-toxic toys. :)

  2. Lynn
    November 23, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    Wow thanks for that Nova Naturals link. I love getting healthy baby gifts for all my girlfriends showers!

    My best, Lynn

  3. Statins zetia.
    February 8, 2010 | 1:34 am


    Zetia. Zetia side effects….

  4. toxic toys
    February 17, 2010 | 5:11 pm

    toxic toys…

    Your topic Reebok Fined $1 Million for Lead Charm Bracelet that Killed Child was interesting when I found it on Wednesday searching for toxic toys…