Natural wood and cloth toys: Earth friendly and kid safe

Now that your family is “going green” and making the switch to more environmentally friendly products, what is the next step? You're using fewer household chemicals, recycling, conserving resources, and buying local foods, but have you thought of your child's toys?

The trend of plastic toys is still booming, but a new trend is up and coming. For natural families, more earth-friendly alternatives to plastic toys are being chosen, including wood and cloth toys.

Why not plastics?
Plastics are difficult to recycle for several reasons. First of all, plastics must be separated according to their “grade”, making the process difficult and extremely labor intensive. Depending on your location, it can be hard to find a place that will recycle many of your plastic items. Toys are especially difficult because they often contain several grades of plastic.

Not only are plastics hard to recycle, but they can also be highly toxic as well. Some chemicals like phthalate and parabens, which have been banned in other countries, are still contained in plastics in the United States and can have lasting effects on children such as infertility in boys and cancer.

Alternatives to PVC and BPA plastics are available in the US. However, if you're making a conscious effort to be kind to our environment and to your family's health, it just makes more sense to go “natural”.

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Natural Toys
Wood and cloth toys offer a safe and natural alternative to plastic toys, and their availability for all ages is on the rise. Everything from baby rattles to sorting toys, puzzles to blocks and trains, is available in wood or cloth materials.

Here are some things to watch out for. All toys with paint should clearly state that the paint is nontoxic. You should also inspect all wood toys for splinters or cracked wood, as well as all cloth toys for ripped seams or choking hazards. Read all care and safety instructions carefully.

More importantly, you should do a little research into the company that you are buying from. Just because a toy says that it's natural, cloth or wood doesn't mean it's good for your family, our environment, or the world.

Some things to look into:

  • How is the toy manufactured and where?
  • Is it a fair trade company?
  • What other toys does the company manufacture?

Buying wood and cloth toys is a great opportunity to support local businesses and work at home parents. Many natural toys are made in the homes and garages of fellow natural families or within your community.

Here are a few places where you can look for homemade natural toys:
Hip Mountain Mama
Etsy

Please leave a comment! We'd love to hear about the best companies to buy natural toys from or a great home business that sells natural toys.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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