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Green Toys: Recycled Cardboard Paintable Schoolhouse Promotes Creativity

green toy schoolhouseAny parent knows that children love cardboard boxes.  Often, the box a present comes in encourages more creative play than the toy it once contained.  Imagination Box Co. was born out of this cardboard creativity.

After raising three kids and seeing how much waste there was in the toy industry, we said, “NO MORE,” and began making many of our children’s toys. An old box became a way to stimulate their creativity and recycle at the same time. They loved them and so did the neighborhood kids. It took about 17 years, but…voila…Imagination Box Co was born!

Made in the USA, Imagination Box Co. toys are completely recyclable and made from 45% post consumer materials.  Each set comes with watercolors, so that your child may decorate and assemble their own toy. For my eight-year-old daughter, it has provided hours of entertainment and excitement. [Read more…]

Adorable, Fair Trade Peruvian Clothes and Toys by Inca Kids

Fair Trade by Inca KidsThis is actually the second time we have had the pleasure of reviewing Inca Kids‘ products, and we are pleased to see their fair trade, Peruvian line expanding.  My son and I are in love with the super soft, uber adorable scarf from “Casa Betania”. Adorned with cars, this scarf is sure to please any little one and fair trade discerning parent.  Made from alpaca and acrylic yarns, this scarf is not itchy and carefully crafted by women in Peru. Casa Betania:

Started as a way to assist women with lack of emotional and financial support in some of the most unprivileged areas in Lima.
On December 4, 1990 they started making jute cartridge pouches,  then they learned to embroider and sew, some women brought their tools, also fixed the schedule from 2 to 7 p.m. and wages. The group that started with 7 women, grew into a group of 23 women selling their products to churches. Cáritas of France donated 2 sewing machines and libraries as well a provided some financial support.

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Toy Companies Ignore Their Impact on Climate Change

Toy companies ignore climate changeOur home is filled with eco-friendly toys, largely sent to us for review here on Eco Child’s Play, and we have a family commitment to avoid junk toys. Not only are junk toy materials bad for the environment and your children’s health, Climate Counts has discovered that toy companies are ignoring their impact on climate change. [Read more…]

Eco Friendly, Naturally Finished Wooden Toys From Korea

Soopsori eco friendly wooden toys from KoreaI know, I know, it’s not very eco-friendly to get your children’s toys from across the Pacific Ocean; however, Soopsori wooden toys are beautiful and top quality.  Made from 100% natural wood without paint or bolts, these toys are safe, adorable, and ethically produced.  Made from 20 different kinds of wood, natural color and texture create variability in these toys.

Soopsori’ is much more of a public corporation chasing a common good than a commercial company. We here at ‘Soopsori’ provide you with lifelong memories in addition to wooden toys. As a result, we aim to dedicate ourselves to practicing an honest and reasonable management style. In order to realize this philosophy, we share our profits with environmental NGOs, as a company we feel socially responsible for contributing to a more eco-friendly society. From lumbers that are not taken artificially to making products without any chemical paints, we are aiming to build for an environmentally-secure future. This is our primary objective.

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Happy Fun Dough Colored with All Natural Plant Extracts

All natural Happy Fun DoughKids love play dough, and of course you can make your own, but who has the time?  Even when I have made my own natural play dough, we usually end up ruining it by using unnatural food coloring.  Not Happy Fun Dough:  it’s colored with all natural plant extracts.

Happy Fun Dough has a slightly gooey texture compared to commercial Play-Doh, but it is still moldable and shapeable. The big difference between Play-Doh and Happy Fun Dough is the latter’s complete natural ingredients and recyclable metal packaging.  Made from water, flour, salt, cream of tartar, canola oil, and citric acid, Happy Fun Dough is safe and handmade.  It comes in green, natural, brown, orange, pink, and yellow.  Alternately, a gluten-free version made from rice flour is available for parents and children with celiac’s disease, although it is made in the same facility that uses wheat. [Read more…]

Cute, Cuddly Maggie's Organic Stuffed Penguin Made From Fabric Scraps

Maggie\'s Organics penguin made from fabric scrapsI’ve long been a fan of Maggie’s Organics, and I lived in their tights when I was pregnant.  Now Maggie’s is venturing into stuffed animals.  Like their sock monkey, Maggie’s Organics Penguin is made from excess fabric and slight irregulars, including the hat made from tie dyed socks!  Unlike Mattel, that claimed Barbie was going green by making accessories from fabric scraps, I trust Maggie’s because they have always been a Fair Trade and organic company.

CONTENTS: Outside: made with 100% Organic Cotton. Filling: Post-industrial Polyester fiber (from mill scraps)

DESCRIPTION: The second stuffed animal in the Maggie’s Menagerie collection has come to life! Typically Penguins don classic black and white attire… but our Penguin has taken a walk on the wild side, sporting a colorful stocking cap made from our incredibly popular tie dye socks and legwarmers.
The animals are made from excess fabric and irregulars and stuffed with reclaimed polyester mill scrap. The Penguin’s embroidered eyes and securely sewn on hat make it safe for all ages.

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Like Netflix for Toys: rentAtoy.com

Toy shopping can be pretty hit or miss.  There’s no telling what the kids will love and what will be tossed into the toy box vortex, never to be seen or played with again.  Many’s the time I’ve bought a toy that I thought was pretty cool- a month later, I’m the only one still playing with it.

To make things more painful, I also like to shop for toys that are educational and made of natural materials.  These sorts of playthings can be quite expensive, and it hurts to see them unused and unloved, or simply too quickly outgrown. It would definitely be nice to give these toys a trial run to see if the kids like them before plunking down the cash.

Enter rentAtoy.comLike Netflix for toys, rentAtoy.com allows you to rent toys every month and return them when you’re done.  Shipping is free both ways and there are no late fees. [Read more…]

Organic Plushies by miYim at Target

I am not a huge fan of box stores, but I am even less of a fan of the idea that my kids could cuddle up with a stuffed animal that has a ton of chemicals that I probably would stutter pronouncing.  This is something I contemplated recently when a very kind nurse offered me a stuffed animal for my daughter when she was in the hospital.  Especially when a kid has a respiratory infection, the last thing I would want to do is expose their delicate lungs to chemicals from an innocent looking teddy bear.  But there is some good news for those of us strapped for cash during these tough economic times that do not want to sacrifice our children’s health.

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Baby Essentials That Aren't, Part 6: Baby Brain Boosters

Open any pregnancy or baby book, and you’ll find that list: the baby essentials, the things you absolutely cannot live without.  While many accessories are easily recognized as frivolous, certain items are truly indispensable: the basic necessities for life with a baby.

Or are they?

In this weekly series, we’ll be looking at several baby essentials that really aren’t.  They may be useful in certain situations, but if money or space is tight, or if you’re just looking to simplify and reduce consumerism and waste, here’s how to get along just fine without these so-called “essentials.

In Part 1, we questioned the crib.   Part 2 bemoaned the bucket.  Part 3 scrutinized the stroller.  Part 4 ditched the diapers.  Part 5 scrubbed the tub.  This week, let’s bust the brain boosters! [Read more…]

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Activity

Any container that I do buy I either recycle or look for a way to reuse.  We have mountains of carrot juice bottles that I am always trying to find ideas for. This was a very fun simple activity to do and will help me when my daughter needs something quietly to play. I have been keeping it in my purse, and it has gotten me out of a few tantrums all ready.

Take the plastic bottle, clean and dry it out very well.

We collected anything from around the house that we thought could fit in the bottle from old bottle-caps to charms to stickers.

While adding the objects to the bottle we kept a list going. When we used a sticker we just rubbed whatever substance we were going to fill the bottle with (sand, rice, beans) on the back side so it would not stick to the edge of the bottle. [Read more…]

Wooden Fairy Dolls from The Fairy Ring

Fairy DollsNatural dolls are almost impossible to find in conventional stores. Most dolls you can get at big box stores are made of plastic with phthalates and PVC. Cloth dolls can be found at specialty stores but they can be very expensive. Getting quality, natural, safe dolls for your little ones can be a tall order if you are on a budget.

Recently my little girl fell in love with small wooden fairy dolls from an etsy seller, The Fairy Ring. These dolls are simple, adorable, and very stimulating as far as creative play is concerned. Upon getting her first fairy doll, which she decided to name “Jewel”, she insisted on having more right away and they have been with her constantly ever since. When she takes a shower they hang on the shower door. When she goes to sleep at night they are held lovingly in her hand. Her dreams are now filled with fairies.

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Free Toys and Less Clutter: Sharing the Toy Library Love

Toys!  Toys!  Toys!  If you have kids, chances are your house is overrun with them.

Cheap plastic garbage toys gifted from well-intentioned relatives; expensive high-quality wooden eco-friendly educational pieces that are almost more works of art than toys; noisy electronic toys; toys with a million pieces that always turn up in the darndest of places (but never when you’re actually looking for them)… We concoct ingenious storage solutions, we spend our hard-earned dollars on the very latest thing, and then we hear that inevitable lament:

Mo-o-om… We’re booooooooooooooored!!!

So there you find yourself, bewilderingly surrounded by this mountain of costly yet apparently useless paraphernalia on one side, and these adorable yet apparently helpless children on the other, thinking “there has GOT to be a better way!”

Well take heart, because there is.

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Confused About Product Recalls?

recall informationOne thing I have noticed from the comments left by our readers is there is a lot of confusion regarding product recalls.  Often different news organizations, blogs, the CPSC, and companies have conflicting information about recalls.

From the peanut butter recall to lead in toys, parents are searching for information to keep their children safe and protected from dangerous products.

Parents.com has just launched a Toy and Recall Finder where parents can discover and follow up on product recalls.  The site makes it easy to search by product names, model numbers, brand names, categories, and/or time periods.  The following categories are featured on the Toy and Recall Finder: [Read more…]

Green Toys Inc – Recycled Toys Made in the USA

toy dump truck

What if that empty milk jug you just tossed into the recycling bin could be made into a fun toy for your kids to play with? Now it can, thanks to an amazing toy company called Green Toys Inc. This amazing toy company out of California creates cute and colorful children’s toys from recycled plastic milk jugs. creating toys that really are green in so many ways.

We believe the world would be a much better place if everyone said “please” and “thank you”, cell phones didn’t ring during movies, and all toys were fun, safe, and made from environmentally friendly materials. Since it’s probably no use holding our breath for those first two, we’re concentrating on the toys.

Green Toys Inc strives to be eco-friendly from start to finish. First their toys are made from recycled milk jugs and other environmentally friendly materials. Second, everything is local to their business in California. They are made 100% in the USA, reducing the fuel and energy use that transporting the toys or materials would use. And as they mention on their site the toys are made in California, a state known for strict toy safety and environmental laws. Even their packaging is recycled and environmentally friendly!

[Read more…]