As a parent, we all want our babies to grow up to be as smart as possible and you can do your part to help hone their IQs by providing brainy toys for playtime. Challenge your little one and spark learning and development with quality toys that will get him thinking. You can't expect your baby to start spelling words with ABC blocks right out of the gate, but simple concepts like stacking, nesting and shape-sorting are all well within a 1-year-old's reach. But there are choices that the eco-minded parent can make that could at least cut the amount by which your little one adds to the world’s landfill, or contribute to problems such as low-paid labor or unsustainable forestry.
For those who despair at the sea of plastic tat and disposable party bag trinkets that litter their living rooms, it might offer some solace to know that there are alternatives, albeit not stocked high and prominently in your average high street shop. 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.
We have looked for toys that are made from sustainable and or organic and non-toxic materials, and that are built to last – nothing that ends up in a tip within months can be that great for the planet. They also needed to be reasonably widely available, and of course, be fun for small people. Not everyone has an unlimited budget to spend on toys, and many of these eco versions are undeniably more expensive than their less sustainable competitors, but should last longer and don’t come at a cost to the planet.
Below is a selection of eco products that between them cover a wide range of toy types, including imaginative play, dressing up, outdoors, bath time and board games.
Nuby's Teething Mitten provides an innovative way to relieve and soothe your teething baby. The soft, flexible mitten is a solution for babies who cannot keep hold of tethers, while also protecting baby from chewing on their hand. A variety of colors captivate your baby while the soft silicone provides stimulation to gums and emerging teeth. Of colors captivate your baby while the soft silicone provides stimulation to gums and emerging teeth. The Teething Mitten features soft silicone teething surfaces that help relieve sore gums and protects baby from scratching. The hygienic travel bag is perfect for on the go for your baby.
Let's talk about the elephant in the room, especially when it's so adorable and calming for your little one. This dresser-top soother helps you set a serene mood with 4 soothing sound options - white noise, ocean, rain or nature sounds. Or select from 20 classic songs & lullabies like the Brahms Waltz and "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Turn on the soft-glowing star night light for added comfort. You can even customize the options – the gentle music and sounds can play for 20 minutes, 120 minutes, or all night long. With tons of soothing settings, the Fisher-Price® Music & Lights Elephant is a sweet little addition to your baby's bedtime routine. The soothing nature of the soft glowing night light and gentle sounds set the scene for a sleep routine that calms & comforts.
Nuby's Bath Time Fun Tub Tugs are designed for 6 months and up. These tub tugs are an easy way to make bath time a fun experience. The two soft rubber boats squirt and float in the water
The impressive Bright colors and characters will engage and capture your baby's attention during bath time. This Bath boats float in the water and squirt water from their mouths, making bath time more fun. The Nuby Tub Tugs Bath Boat Toys Are Great, Fun Interactive Bath Toys. These Soft Rubber Boats Float in The Water and Squirt Water from Their Mouths, Making Bath Time More Fun. The Bright Colors and Fun Characters Will Engage and Capture Your Baby’s Attention. The Soft Texture Makes Them Perfect for Babies to Hold and Play with For Hours Of Bath Time Fun. They Are Sized for Little Hands and Help Develop Baby’s Hand-Eye Coordination and Sensory Skills.
Often called a "go-to" teether by reviewers, the IcyBite Teether Keys have both hard and soft places with multiple textures to help new teeth erupt. After being placed in the fridge, the gel-filled portion of the keys become cool, helping to soothe sore gums. Many children seem to take readily to the teether, and many users reported it being a toy the child reached for on their own. Several users reported that the keys are long enough to reach the back teeth area, making for a more satisfying teething experience. A few users said their child choked a bit on the key because of its length, but those reports were very small in number, and no actual injuries were reported. Supervision should be given to children using this toy The cool resilient surfaces soothe and stimulate sore gums safely and stays colder, longer than water filled teethers! While colorful shapes stimulate your baby visually, the raised, offset surfaces assist in the eruption of new teeth by gently massaging your infant’s gums. This Nuby™ teether also features areas filled with pûrICE™. This teether can be placed in the refrigerator and the pûrICE™ will remain colder longer than water filled teethers!