Birthday parties. What's not too love? Balloons, junk food, cake, bouncy castles, magicians, goody bags - a child's dream. We have been invited to several recently so I always feel like I'm shopping for a gift. I have a few friends in my area with children's clothing businesses so I try to patronize them (like www.chickiddie.com) or I go to the local book store. Yesterday, I was in my favorite toy store in my area called the Darien Toy Box, started by Bill Jensen in an effort to offer well made, unique, educational and of course fun toys and he has a really terrific selection including some great eco-friendly toys. So of course, it gave me an idea for a blog entry. Here are my top 5 favorite eco-friendly toys for ages 2 and up.
1. Charlie and Lola- We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers
Charlie and Lola was created by Lauren Child in 2001 about two siblings- Charlie is the patient, helpful older brother and Lola is the energetic and very inquisitive little girl. These books are fun creative, humorous and great to look at and to read. This one is about recycling. It's a great starter for young children to teach them about the importance of reusing and not just throwing everything in the trash (or on the floor- which is where it all ends up in my house). There is even a great picture of them climbing up a huge heap of garbage bags (my nightmare). Check it out. Call the Darien Toy Box to order: 203-202-2992.
2. The E Racer made by Hape International is a beautifully made toy constructed out of bamboo and water-based paint and let me tell you these things go fast. Both boys and girls loves these cars. It is also very well priced - it ranges from $13.00-$19.00. You can call the Darien Toy Box for this one also, 203-202-2992.
3. The Trapecolo, also made by Hape is a creative play set that includes 180 colorful bamboo pieces that the child can arrange in a multitude of designs. It encourages imaginative skills, planning, understanding of basic geometry and symmetry. It is a great "quiet time" activity for 4 year olds and up (and it's quite beautiful to look at it also). It's also a nicely priced at approximately $27.00.
4. Now isn't this truly a 21st century toy? A recycling truck made by Green toys. These beautifully designed toys are actually made out of recycled plastic milk jugs and they are extremely durable. The packaging is all recycled cardboard and really easy to open. Who has struggled to open that awful toy packaging, cursing under your breathe, as you dig into the thick plastic and zip ties with dull scissors- all while a really anxious child watching you- it's terrible? Green Toys is simply a great company.
5. This Little Piggy's House- There are many great cardboard box houses out there but this one recently caught my eye because it has the chimney, mailbox, window box and dormer. It is quite fun and can be decorated by the child. It is definitely a more expensive toy at $49.99 but one that will be enjoyed! This company also gives 5% of their profits to feeding hungry children.