Do you shudder at the thought of plastic toys flooding your house? Join the club! Not every family wants to collect piles of plastic debris only to be neglected and stepped on. We get it – you want to provide stimulating play for your children while keeping the mayhem down to a minimum. We’d love to share a few of the best eco-friendly toys and common household items that can provide fun for your children and still keep you sane.
Some of the Best Eco-friendly Toys
Eco-friendly toys are a great alternative to the cheap plastic ones that are commonly found. They are made without harmful plastics or harsh chemicals. Best of all, they are thoughtfully designed and carefully made for maximum fun and well-being.
Here are a few of our favorites.
The Baby to Kids Natural Rocking Horse by Teamson Kids is perfectly safe for babies 6 months and up, as well as for toddlers who are ready to rock on their own. The blue bassinet and railing keeps babies contained and can be removed for slightly older children. In addition, there is a Safari Collection of rockers that include giraffes, zebras, bears and wild horses. These high quality rockers are made from eco-friendly wood. All Teamson Kids products meet high safety and quality standards.
This Rainbow Rattle by Green Sprouts is BPA and PVC free. The colorful rings spin and create fun noise around the rainbow-shaped rattle. The balls on the end make it easy to hold and shake for babies three months and up. Another bonus – it is Polypropylene and TPE free. Green Sprouts focuses on protecting babies on the inside while promoting healthy development and connection to nature.
The Hevea Planet Kawan Teether meets a baby’s need for a textured chew while using products that are safe and eco-friendly. This beautiful teether is made from 100% natural rubber and is free from phthalates, PVC, EVAtane, silicone and BPA. The one-piece design eliminates nooks and crannies that could create bacteria build-up.
The Glamour Mansion Fold-in Doll House is a dream come true for both little girls and their moms. Girls will love the three levels of luxury for their dolls while moms will love folding it up and storing it away when playtime is over. It comes with 8 pieces of wooden furniture and is perfect for imaginative play. Teamson Kids Doll Houses creates high quality designs while meeting high safety and quality standards.
The Tipper Truck by Luke’s Toy Factory has a bucket to hold and dump items – a beloved activity for youngsters. The parts also fit easily to eliminate frustration. The colors are molded in, not painted on, so no one will get nasty paint chips if they chew it. Everything at Luke’s Toy Factory is American made, and any plastics used are certified safe.
Another great toy is this Push Around Car by BeginAgain that is easy for children 18 months and older to push and pull around. It is made from Natural Rubber and Rubberwood, both sustainable resources. Bonus — the rubber wheels keep your floors safe. All toys from BeginAgain are designed to satisfy children’s need for play, without the need for batteries.
Use Household Items for Kids’ Activities
You really don’t need to look far when you want to create an engaging activity. In fact, your cupboards and closets may have just what you need. These activities will work better if you collect a few of these items first.
Cardboard boxes provide options for all ages.
With cardboard boxes you can:
* Use them as stacking blocks
* Cut windows and doors in them
* Give older children craft supplies and encourage them to get creative
Toilet paper rolls can do many things.
They can be used to create:
* Dolls for enacting stories
* Shakers (with beans, paper, and tape)
* Stamps with some paint and paper (they can even be shaped into hearts!)
* Telescopes and binoculars
* Opportunities for your children to use their imaginations
Buttons and strings and beads! Oh my!
Children can use buttons for counting, sorting, making shapes and adding décor to crafts.
You can scrounge up household materials to encourage fine motor skills. Children can use yarn, string, or shoelaces to thread Cheerios, beads and even toilet paper rolls. Kids can also weave with strips of cloth, paper or ribbons.
Activities That Require No Special Materials
Perhaps you detest collecting and storing household items. That’s fine too. There are still ways you can keep your kids busy. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Have you ever tried packing for a trip and your kids just have to “help” you? Send them on a pretend holiday and let them pack a small suitcase (or bag). When their imagination trip is over, encourage them to unpack it all.
Water play is super fun and takes just a little prep. You just need to pull up a chair to the sink and your child can wash some child-proof dishes or a toy baby. Measuring cups, spoons and funnels are all a bonus.
Turn on some music make a dance party. Get silly.
Couch cushions and sheets are perfect for building forts. You can add blankets, teddies and flashlights for extra fun inside. Also, if you’re not finicky about the state of your couch, place a cushion (or more) in the middle of a room to create a mini jump pad.
Encourage Their Help
Most of all, children want to be involved with you and just need the chance. When possible, involve them in normal tasks like laundry. Young children can help sort, load or fold the laundry.
Tea parties are a classic game and a great way stay hydrated. Invite some teddies or dolls to the fun.
Give ‘Em a Cupboard
Instead of locking up all your lower kitchen cabinets, keep one cupboard accessible with child-friendly items in it. Then when you are busy cooking or washing, your children have a place to play near you.
That’s our roundup. Now we’re curious: how do you do keep your children busy while keeping the clutter down in your home?