Eco-Friendly Toys Becoming More Popular

In this day and age there is a lot of pressure to go organic.  This is non-toxic, child safe and eco-friendly. Toys made from organic materials leave less of an impact on the earth…let’s face it our landfills have enough plastic.  The only problem is organic items are often more expensive and sometimes less fun. Today I am going to attempt to find some organic, Eco friendly fun that won’t break the bank and that kids will enjoy.

Wooden Toys

There are many items that you can get made from wood.  Rattles, beads, blocks, trucks, skittles…the list is endless.  We do a lot of our shopping at the ‘Men’s Shed’ in Tauranga. I am sure these are all over New Zealand.  It is an organisation for retired men who enjoy tinkering with wood. We bought a tractor and loaded trailer for $28.  I thought this was very reasonable. The only thing to be watchful for is if any items are painted or dyed as this may not be organic.  Again the ‘Men’s Shed’ does not paint their items. At the Men’s Shed I have seen various forms of transport, trolleys, blocks ($8 per bag), chain saws and dolls houses.

For more information go to menzshed.org.nz

eco friendly wooden toy

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Homemade Play Dough

Let’s not forget good old play dough.  There are natural alternatives to colourants such as beets and turmeric.  Children can have endless fun with this. From my educational background I also see the benefits for the developing mind, for example, it is good for developing fine motor skills, it encourages creativity, encourages hand eye coordination just to name a few. Wooden tools can be purchased to support this play such as rolling pins, cutters etc.  This can get a bit messy so it might be wise to put a mat down or head outside. Here is a link to a non-cook play dough recipe.  If you already have one, use that instead.

Knitted Toys

Knitted toys are on their way back in.  I remember when I was younger my Granny making me a ‘Womble from Wimbledon’.  He was awesome! He even had a rubbish bag to collect rubbish in. There are so many thing that can be knitted including soft toys, fruit, rattles, trucks, balls…the list is endless.  If you don’t have wonderful knitters in your life you might like to try your local charity shop before trying to buy this new. We are living in Tauranga and I have recently discovered ‘Purple Patch’.  It is a shop on Gray Street which sells loads of knitted toys, you name it they have got it. They also sell wooden toys, clothes, blankets and many other natural crafts that could come in handy. If you are feeling really brave you could try using this pattern to create a toy of your own.  Here are some free patterns if you’re feeling up to is.  I would love to see the finished product!

A Cardboard Box…yes a cardboard box

Another thing that kids love is a large cardboard box!  They do not need to cost you a thing and they can keep the kids entertained for hours. To end the school year last year I asked the children what they wanted to do. Their response was to make a cardboard village. This kept them entertained for hours and I loved the fact that all of the children were busy and involved. It encourages children to use their imagination.  They do not have to make a house, they could make a car, truck, phone box, or a shop. The possibilities are endless. When the children no longer wish to play with it, it can go straight out to the recycling. It’s as easy as that.

I read an article the other day about one woman’s mission to get rid of plastic in her house. She is not quite there yet but is well on the way. If you’re interested have a read here.

I think we need to remember that eco friendly toys do not need to cost a fortune and the children can still have loads of fun.  I think it’s important not to rule out the simplest of things. I’m a firm believer in encouraging children to use their imagination…you never know where it might take them.  I think many toys these days take away the need to be imaginative and creative.

At Peekaboo we are looking at providing eco friendly Party Bags so watch this space!  It’s always exciting when we create a new bag for the many parties around the country.

Do you use or make Eco friendly toys? Please leave a comment below if you do 🙂

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emma houston

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