10 Best Green Toys for Kids

by Rachel Sokol

10 Best Green Toys for Kids
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There’s an overwhelming amount of baby goods out there, and to be honest, many toys and baby items are made of cheap plastic and contain little parts or batteries that can be dangerous. Additionally, innocuous-looking toys could be emitting icky chemicals into your home, and around your baby. (Especially if baby puts the toy in their mouth.) Thankfully, there are sustainable, organic, and natural toys and baby gear out there (mostly wooden) that are made of high-quality, planet-friendly materials. Parents are demanding more of these items, and manufacturers are taking note. Here’s our list of must-have sustainable baby goods for children 0 to 3 years of age.

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Mochi 28-Piece Blocks


“Mochi products are made with…wait for it…RICE!” says Monica Banks, mom and founder of the Gugu Guru baby product concierge service. “The unique combination of polypropylene plastic and rice gives a softer texture that babies love.” Manufactured in Japan, Mochi offers everything from building blocks (this beautifully-made set contains 28 pieces of various shapes and is nice for stacking and sorting) to teething rings, “and every product is rigorously tested to meet and exceed industry safety standards.”

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Green Toys Airplane & Board Book


This cute toy airplane is non-toxic and made of 100 percent recycled materials; it doesn’t emit any plastic-y odors and is sturdy with a small cockpit. The accompanying storybook is made with soy ink and recycled materials; neither the toy or the book has an paints, coating, or dyes that can be harmful to kids. The book features various transport vehicles and even includes a cartoony picture of the matching toy plane. Great gift for a little airplane lover!

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Hevea Rubber Duck


As Sesame Street’s Ernie crooned, “Rubber Ducky, you’re the one.” That’s why no baby bath is complete without a quintessential squishy toy duck. This particular one is made of 100% natural rubber, which is odorless. Since it doesn’t have any holes in the molding, it won’t collect bacteria or mildew, which is a common bath toy issue. It’s also compostable, totally non-toxic, and available in a variety of colors. Makes a great Baby Shower gift since it’s a plastic-free alternative to your typical floating rubber duck.

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Olababy Steambowl


Ok, this isn’t a toy per se, but if your child is anything like mine, they love banging spoons against kid-OK plates. “This brand’s products are not only functional and beautifully designed, they're made with 100% toxin-free, food-grade silicone,” says Banks. “The steam bowl allows you to steam and serve your child using one dish, minimizing waste.” Also, adds, Banks, the accompanying award-winning soft spoons, “are by far one of the easiest for babies and toddlers to hold and manipulate for self-feeding.” Just note the bowl and spoons are sold separately.

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PlanToys Tea Set


A must-own for any child who loves hosting tea parties, this full collection contains: a teapot, sugar bowl, pitcher, 2 tea cups with saucers, 2 tea spoons to stir the tea, 2 tea bags and 2 sugar cubes. It’s the mission of PlanToys to promote environmental and social responsibility; green living is important to the brand. This tea set is made from sustainable wood and the accessories are smooth to the touch. It’s modern-looking, paint-free--so it won’t chip or undergo obvious wear-and-tear--and recommended for kids ages 3+.

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Manhattan Toy Musical Llama


Made of smooth wood and water-based, non-toxic paints and finishes, this color musical instrument--shaped like a llama, of course--is an award-winning Amazon’s Choice toy. Recommended for age 12 months and older, toddlers can make beautiful music with the attached xylophone and a maraca-inspired tail. There’s a wooden ‘washboard’ on the llama’s head where you can store the wooden mallets (the washboard also makes sounds when rubbed by the mallets) and cause-and-effect amenities such as various spinners, shapes you can lift up, down, and more.

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Honeysticks Pure Beeswax Crayons


Made in New Zealand, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill traditional crayons. Honeysticks crayons are made from 100 percent pure beeswax and non-toxic pigments. Available in 12 vibrant colors, these crayons ooze non-toxic goodness and are safe for kids of all ages; the crayons contain no paraffin wax or icky fillers that leave behind a waxy odor. Thicker than traditional crayons, and very sturdy, they’re easy for small hands to grip thanks to their ergonomic shape and smell wonderful--like honey, but not overwhelming. Each crayon is 55mm long and 20mm diameter.

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HAPE Wooden Kitchen Food Set


According to Banks, when green toy shopping, “organic materials are always a good sign but generally checking that the products are labeled as or use non-toxic, natural materials and are free of chemicals like PVC (a big source of phthalates) or BPA.” She adds: “If they’re wooden toys, ensure that they’re not coated in anything potentially harmful.” These 10-piece play kitchen items are made of smooth wood, non-toxic finishes, water-based paints, and contain milk, orange juice, cheese, eggs, and more. Just note the staw in the juice box is removable, making this set best for kids ages 3+ for safety reasons.

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Grimm Six-Piece Rainbow Stacker


I recently brought my daughter to an indoor playspace that had this wooden rainbow stacker on a shelf, and she loved it. The wood is smooth and quite sturdy, handcrafted in Europe, and painted with certified non-toxic based colors, meaning you don’t need to panic if your kid nibbles on the wood. The six rainbow arches can be used for stacking, of course, or as a doll hammock, tunnels for cars, hills...anything your child wants it to be. Pretend play is at the forefront with this not-so-basic toy. An Amazon’s Choice product with numerous positive reviews, it’s recommended for ages 1 +.

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GYBBER&MUMU Wooden Colorful Shape Puzzle


This puzzle takes green to the extreme, which I appreciate. All wooden toys from this brand are thoroughly tested for safety at international labs and are lead-free, BPA-free, and dangerous paint-free, meaning, again, there’s no need to panic about odors and toxins and your baby gnawing on the pieces. The individual puzzle pieces--which are vibrant in color--are smooth against baby’s skin; and each geometric piece of this chunky puzzle encourages imaginative play, while teaching color recognition, shapes, and matching. An Amazon Choice toy, one reviewer described it as, “very good quality and perfect for tiny hands.”