Christmas is around the corner so let’s start the long-waited (or dreaded) shopping season with gift ideas for the little monsters. These will be surely amusing for bubbas 0-2 years and eco-savvy parents equally.
When it comes to baby and toddler toys, there are so many brands, shops and reviews as starts in the sky. You probably are getting a lot of them too: traditional toys from Grandma (“I used to buy this for you – remember? – it was soooo hard to get one!” Sure, I remember mum, I was 15 moths old), gender neutral toys from your hipster friends, and random unwanted/overflow toys from others (you’ll pass them over to someone else too, just need to be careful not to recycle it within the same circle of friends or family). But somehow, just somehow, you’re not getting the toys you wanted for the kid.
- Recycled plastic toys. Probably my favourite maker is Green Toys These are made of plastic (easy to clean) but they are made of 100% recycled plastic. No BPA, PVC, Phthalates, or external coatings. Which is great, because they are basically re-used waste material to create these fabulous, colorful toys. They are also mainly gender neutral designs, however there is a little pink dump truck for girls (or boys, why not), and that’s pretty cool, me thinks. I discovered these when we spent a holiday in California visiting family and friends. They are available in the UK too. Bobcat has the green Recycling Truck.
- Arts and crafts. OkoNorm is a German company producing eco-friendly crayons and paints for kids. We’ve got Nawaro Wax Crayons (picture 1.) from www.Greenweez.co.uk and these are great for little fingers to grab them and also less worry if they put them into their mouth. (Like Bobcat does it, still.) They cost you not much more expensive than any other high street brand. Also really like Crayon Rocks Bag 16 piece (picture 2.) sold at babypur.co.uk because they are really cute shapes, and it’s very presentable again in the little sack.
- Natural rubber. You have probably heard about Sophie the Giraffe. The French company has a whole range of Sophie products, not just the famous teether. I love these little balls: So’Pure Sophie la girafe Balls (picture 3.) I buy them every time I have to put a new baby hamper together or as a small baby shower present, and Bobcat has them of course and still plays with them at 19 months old – they are toy balls after all and always all over the place! I also like Lanco’s products for babies and small toddlers made of 100% natural rubber produced by the Hevea tree. Lanco Ocean Bath Toy Set (picture 4.) is probably the cutest of the range, from babypur.co.uk
- Wooden toys. Classics, when it comes to eco-friendly toys. You just need to make sure that the sourced wood is ethical. They are lovely, and last long. I found some really cute and quirky ones, bit unusual, compared to the old-time favourite set of blocks and rocking horses. Like Chicken Puzzle from Plan Toys (buy it on greatgizmos.co.uk – picture 1.). Or this little wooden stacking toy, made from forest-friendly wood and free from toxic varnish & paint from DiscoveroO: Magnetic Rocket (picture 2.)I think Santa Claus will get one for Bobcat. It looks really cool and can you spot the passengers. A man, a monkey and an alien! Brilliant! Notonthehighstreet.com also a good source for traditional wooden toys, Bobcat has the Set of 4 Pull Back Racing Cars (picture 3.) since was only a few month old, they were great when he was practicing his grasping/pinching fine motor movements. Pull along toys are also a classic way to use wood, like this cute colourful rabbit: Pull Along Rabbit (picture 4.) I, for one prefer colourful toys and so do the kiddos, apparently. Make a small child choose between a colourful toy and a “trendy” pale grey/beige/natural coloured toy. So then.
- Soft toys. Crocheted soft toys are great presents for babies and small toddlers. This one is a rattle toy: Chrocheted Octopus Rattle from Pebble (picture 1.) It’s handmade, fair trade and 100% cotton. (From birdkids.co.uk) Another absolute favourite is the organic cuddly toys of Apple Tree. They are so cute and well designed that it’s almost a mission to pick a favourite. I’d go with this cute cuddly bear: Little Cubby Picnic Pal (picture 2.) The San Francisco based company (another reason for me to love them) use 100% organic cotton and non-toxic fillers to produce these cuties. They are available on Amazon.co.uk. A new and pleseant discovery the soft toy range of Kenana.co.uk. I love the the very realistic Bundu line, especially the zebras: Bundu Zebra (picture 3.) because they are looking like zebras! According to them: products are made in Kenya through our Kenana Knitters and they have been made using environmentally friendly processes, 100% natural and organic materials.