I am not a fan of plastic toys, as they often end up in landfills after a very short play life, and plastic is derived from oil. The number of plastic toys in my household could be counted on one hand, yet I fear I have derived my children of the creativity and spatial relations Legos can teach children. Then I discovered Uberstix, which are compatible with other building toys, such as Legos, K’Nex and Erector.
The Uberstix Scavenger Series utilizes recycled materials, such as straws, water bottles, and cups, to create working models. This is a unique idea in children’s toys to use upcycling, the process of using something of waste to create a product of greater value. My only concern is that Uberstix uses name brands, such as Starbucks or McDonald’s, in its list of suggested waste materials to use. Considering I try to raise my children as commercial-free as possible, this is concerning to me. I also think that Uberstix could much farther towards greening its product by making the products from recycled plastic.
Despite my eco-concerns, my seven-year-old daughter and her father love to build with Uberstix. They have made many amazing creations, and this toy has kept my daughter entertained for days on end. Uberstix do break, but the instructions make suggestions about how to reuse the broken pieces.
Dane Scarborough, the inventor of Uberstix, claims, “We are regarded by a lot of people in the industry as the greenest toy company out there.” I beg to differ, but I think the company may be headed in a good direction. Upcycling should be encouraged at every level, and children think it is fun to go on scavenger hunts for these items.