On the Third day of Christmas

My true love gave to me …3 French Hens

On the count of 3,

1,2,3, Go

1,2,,3, …Red Light

Third time’s a charm…

Christmas is all about children and buying children toys. Games, dolls, trains, BB guns, footballs, bicycles, sweaters, mittens, and the dreaded socks. So today I thought I would have some fun and add to your toy wish list.

I’m sure everyone remembers and is reminded of the recalls for toys that contained lead and other toxic elements from toy that were shipped from China which has led to regulations from the EPA. I won’t use this as a soapbox to bash China, that will be another post but the US Consumers Product Safety Commission has posted this list of toy recalls for you to look at and see if you need to be concerned about items that you may have purchased.

Depending on the child’s age will determine the appropriateness of a gift and just how much concern you should have. Obviously, if a child is on the age to put something in their mouth you want to be more aware than an older child that has more interaction with the toy.

For very young children you need to also be concerned with whether it is a completely safe, non-toxic toy. If it  was made in the USA using FDA-compliant, medical-grade materials. It is BPA-, PVC-, lead- and phthalate-free. Free of all the bad plastic stuff! Wooden items should be also be free of lead based paints and sealers. Personally, I try not to use items with these concerns for myself and would hope that you would also concern yourself with watching out for these too.

For Young Children

Green Irene offers these kid friendly items that have all been researched and are toxin free. Of course, there are recipes for homemade play dough that you could easily make and delight most children.

My Playdough Recipe

3 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartor
3 1/4 cups water
food coloring (gel kind)

Whisk all the dry ingredients togethe in a large pot. Whisk in the wet ingredients (except for the food coloring) and stir until no lumps remain. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes until dough forms. Separate into several portions and add food coloring, kneading until uniform in color. Store in airtight container. This dough lasts a long time and is biodegradable so I have put it in my compost bin when it finally gets too dried out or yucky.

And for more information on making healthy choices read this from Healthy Child, Healthy World.

An interesting site that makes their products from recycled milk jugs is Green Toys.

And a list of other cool toy sites:

-Hazelnut Kids
-Eden Home
-Eco Toy Town
-Kid Bean
-Rosie Hippo
-Down To Earth Toys
-Bella Luna Toys
-Koukla Online
-Toy Spectrum

About.com

For Older Children

Books have always been a favorite in our house, but electronic games are very fashionable but I’m not sure how earth friendly they actually are. If you have a serious reader in the house and I would hope you do, then I would definitely recommend a Kindle for them. It is electronic but it is definitely earth friendly. You can store over 200 books which is much easier on the planet than the process of making a book. There are other eReaders out there as well and I would seriously look at those for older children as a great geeky gift.Kindle Video

Of course, batteries are a common item in most older kids toys and here are some facts from Planet Green about battery waste:

  • 5 billion: The number of batteries Americans purchase each year.
  • 146,000: Tons of battery waste those 5 billion batteries leave behind each year.
  • 25 percent: the percentage of total pesticide production each year that is used on conventional cotton crops.
  • 6: The number of phthalate plasticizers banned from children’s toys by the European Union in 1999. This legislation became mandatory in 2006.

So without using batteries what older kid wouldn’t want a solar powered lantern or flashlight. They can use these to read books in bed at night or for those camp outs in the backyard.

Toys R Us is actually offering a whole list of Green Toys.

Then again, there is always the box….