Shopping for decent baby toys can be a real nightmare because there are so many non-green options out there. The average toy store is full of cheap plastic, battery-operated toys that break far too easily and could be leaching toxic chemicals into your home.
Fortunately, demand is steadily rising for toys made from natural, organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly materials, resulting in some really great new toy companies offering high quality products. Here are a few that have caught my eye, or whose products my own two kids have enjoyed playing with. Most are geared for the 0-12 month age range.
1. Stuffed Big Owl Toy by Under the Nile
This beautiful stuffed toy is hand-sewn and stuffed entirely with 100% organic cotton -- no synthetic filling. The dyeing process is metal-free and uses vegetable dyes. Under the Nile is a certified fair trade company based in Egypt, and has lots of adorable stuffed animals to choose from. Order online to buy. Currently on sale for $13.99, regularly $26.
2. Chan Pi Gnon Teething Toys by Vulli
These cute little mushrooms are handmade by the same company that markets famous Sophie the Giraffe. Like Sophie, they are BPA-free and made from 100% natural rubber derived from sap of the Hevea tree. They come in green, blue, and pink, and together their names come from the French word for mushroom: “champignon.” Not available for purchase directly from Vulli, but carried by many green baby toy retailers online, such as Amazon for $15.
3. Wooden Earthworm by Begin Again Toys
Made of plantation-grown rubberwood, this adorable earthworm is made of wooden balls strung onto a sturdy elastic, perfect for twisting and pulling. Earthworms come in four colours and ship only in the U.S., $11.
4. At the Farm Baby Book by Hape Toys
This baby book is drool-proof and sure to please. It is made from sustainably sourced wood with water-based paint, tied together with string, and features brightly coloured, large pictures of farm animals. Ships online to continental U.S. Customers in Canada can find Hape products at Master Mind Toys and many other toy stores. $9.99
5. Bamboo Safari Mobile by Petit Collage
Perfect for small babies, this beautiful mobile is cut from sustainably harvested bamboo plywood, an earth-friendly renewable resource, with 100% wool felt accents on the animals. Available online, $66.
6. Woodland Soft Blocks made by Apple Park
These soft blocks are made from 100% organic cotton, stuffed with natural corn fiber, embroidered with 100% organic cotton details, and packaged in 100% recycled paper printed with soy ink. Each of the 3 blocks in the set makes a different sound – a squeak, rattle, and bell. Available online, $33.
7. Hippo Rattle by Pebble
This cute toy is made in Bangladesh by talented artisans at Hathay Bunano, a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities for women working from home. The rattle is knitted by hand from 100% cotton yarn, with 100% polyester fill. In U.S., it is available on the Kahiniwalla website, which has lots of other cute animals to choose from. $21.70
8. Gyro Ball Toy made by Dandelion
Made with organic cotton and filled with corn fiber, this gyro ball is 9 inches in diameter and full of endless fun for baby. It has teething tags, a chime, and 4 different fabric textures to touch. Available online, $23.99.
9. Fish Bath Toy by Lanco
Made of 100% natural rubber, this adorable bath-friendly fish is handmade and hand-painted in Spain. You can also get a crab or frog. Lanco bath toys are guaranteed free from PVC, BPA, and phthalates. Available at select baby stores and on Amazon, $12.99.
10. Set of 3 Montessori Natural Wooden Teething and Learning Toys
Handmade from birch and maple wood, these beautiful toys are finished in beeswax and olive oil, wrapped in organic cotton, and contain non-toxic glue. Available on Etsy, $22.
11. Shape Sorter by Green Toys Company
These are the only plastic toys on the list, but they’re made in the U.S. from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs, which is pretty cool. The plastic contains no BPA, phthalates, PVC or external coatings, and meets FDA food contact standards. The toy comes in fully recycled packaging. Suitable for 6 months and older. Available online, $19.99.