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Earth Day began in 1970 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year, it falls on Friday, April 22.
One of the best ways to celebrate the special day with kids is to get outside and appreciate nature. Better yet, having some eco-friendly toys on hand can further encourage play while being gentle on the planet.
Luckily, there are hundreds of eco-friendly toys from brands that commit to using less packaging, sourcing sustainable materials, and giving back to organizations fighting to make a difference. Many of these toys also offer educational opportunities for learning about recycling, climate change, and more.
When shopping, consider taking an extra minute to look into where and how your child's toys are made. Many brands operate entirely in a sustainable or charitable way, while others have specific products or lines that commit to an environmental mission. From outdoor toys suitable for teenagers and adults to sensory toys perfect for babies and toddlers, eco-friendly toys come in every shape and size.
Honeysticks Beeswax Crayons
Most crayons are made from parrafin wax, which can take decades to decompose in a landfill. Honeysticks use 100 percent New Zealand beeswax, which is a natural by-product of honey production. This process has minimal impact on the environment and leaves the crayons with a pleasant honey scent. The ergonomic shaped crayons fit perfectly in little hands, and the food-grade pigment makes it safe for kids of all ages, even if they end up in their mouth.
CUDDLE + KIND Cuddle and Kind Dolls
Since September 2015, Cuddle + Kind has committed to providing meals to children in need. Each adorable doll is hand-knit, hand-loomed, embroidered, and crocheted by artisans in Peru. The purchase of every doll provides 10 meals, contributing to the almost 13 million meals that have been gifted by the brand already. The beautiful deer, bunny, and elephant buddies make a stunning keepsake for a newborn or collector.
Big Potato Herd Mentality: The Udderly Hilarious Party Game
In this fun, interactive game perfect for large groups, players answer questions, aiming to answer in the majority. Every player answers the question and the odd one out lands on the pink cow, which hurts your overall score. You have to strategize and examine your competitors to determine the most popular answers to insanely hilarious questions.
Through their "Green Tatos" initiative, Big Potato ensures their game boxes are 50 percent smaller with plastic-free packaging. They also partnered with Ecologi and the Eden Reforestation Project to plant one tree for every game sold. So far Big Potato has planted 54,037 trees, reducing 294.03 tons of carbon, so you can feel good about adding this game to your stash.
Mattel Mega BLOKS Green Town Sort & Recycle Squad Building Set
Launching in June, this adorable recycle squad toy set promotes recycling and other environmentally-friendly practices for kids ages one and older. This comes as part of the new line from Mattel's Mega BLOKS Green Town, which is the first-ever toy line available at mass retail to be certified CarbonNeutral by Natural Capital Partners. Even more, the blocks come in packaging made from recycled materials. The STEM-based toys include two characters, a recycling truck, and three different waste bins for recyclables and compost.
Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe Eco Scooter
Get kids outside and appreciating nature this Earth Day with a new scooter. This adjustable scooter accommodates kids ages 2-5 at up to 110 pounds, so you won't have to buy a new toy every year—thus effectively reducing waste. Additionally, this pick is made from recycled fishing nets and plastic. Micro Kickboard donates a portion of annual sales to 1 percent for the planet, which supports environmental efforts around the world.
PlanToys Gardening Set
Introduce a green thumb early with this adorable gardening set from PlanToys. The realistic flower pot, watering can, garden fork, and trowel are designed to fit comfortably in tiny hands and promote an appreciation of the environment from a young age. PlanToys uses natural rubber wood from rubber trees that no longer produce latex. Their sustainable process continues with sustainable manufacturing and a dedication to give back to the environmental and certain communities.
Green Toys Jump Rope
Children of all ages can get outdoors and stay active with a brand new jumprope from Green Toys. The 100 percent cotton rope adjusts up to 7 feet long so kids and adults alike can try out their moves. Green Toys uses 100 percent recycled plastic in all of their products, which also contain no BPA, phthalates or PVC. Everything meets FDA food contact standards and can be washed easily in the dishwasher. Even more, the brand's products are packaged with recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy ink, compared to traditional petroleum-based ink.
Crazy Aaron's Super Scarab Thinking Putty
Known as "the most eco-friendly dough on the planet," Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty offers a mess-free alternative to homemade slime without the stickiness. Stretch, bounce, pop, and mold the slime to relieve stress, practice fine motor skills, or fidget during class or car rides. Land of Dough uses plant-based colors, ethically sourced ingredients, and compostable glitter. Each pot also comes with a wooden play toy made from sustainable forestry practices, designed to leave as small of a carbon footprint as possible.
Sago Mini Box Subscription
It can be difficult to find a subscription box with a mission to sustainability, since receiving a new box of items each month often means excess packaging and waste. With Sago Mini, your preschoolers receives a collectible figurine, play-based activities, and educational resources. All paper-products included are made from recycled sources—plus, all of the activities, other than the figurine, can be recycled.
Shore Buddies Emma the Whale
This adorable plush whale comes with a huge impact. Emma the Whale is made from six recycled, cleaned, and shredded plastic bottles. She even makes an authentic whale sound recorded by a professional marine biologist, sure to delight kids and marine lovers alike. We love that with every purchase, Shore Buddies donates $1 to help save marine life. Their mission involves educating youth on the dangers of plastic in the ocean and partnering with organizations that share this cause. Their life of huggable stuffed animals feature cute sea creatures that would normally be affected by excess waste in their habitat.
Tender Leaf Toys Weather Watch - Educational Wooden Weatherboard for Kids
Tender Leaf Toys commits to protecting Indonesia's natural resources through all of their products. The brand only works with reclaimed rubberwood, a by-product of the latex industry, and for every reclaimed tree used, they plant a new one. Awarded the ICTI Ethical Toy Program seal of approval for their ethical and sustainable supply chain, Tender Leaf Toys makes interactive and durable toys, like this educational weather watch board. Teach kids about the climate by going through the phases of the moon, the temperature for the day, as well as the wind and rainfall.
Tegu 8-Piece Magnetic Wooden Block Set
This eco-friendly toys packs easily into a pocket pouch, perfect to throw in a purse, diaper bag, or carry-on for keeping little ones entertained on the go. Tegu blocks magnetically connect for hundreds of different building combinations that kids of all ages can enjoy. Tegu pays Honduran artisans a living wage to handcraft these durable blocks that are dyed with non-toxic, water-based lacquers. Most products are made from Huesito (“little bone") trees, which are an abundant species in Honduran forests, meaning they don't contribute to deforestation. When your child outgrows their blocks, simply return them to Tegu with a prepaid shipping label to recycle.