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Eco-Friendly Toys

Why not help save a tree with the presents you put under the tree this year? Here we offer a collection of award-winning products made from environmentally-friendly materials as well as those that teach important lessons about protecting our planet's resources. Who knew saving the earth could be so much fun?
Green Toys Flatbed Truck & Race Car Green Toys Flatbed Truck & Race Car
Ages: 1 & Up
Green Toys Inc., $30.00

To children these are just two really cool cars to push around. The blue truck hauls a sleek red "hot rod" on its back, and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off. But to parents, these are prime examples of the rugged indestructibleness that all toddler toys should have. So far, testers have proven that the flatbed and the racecar are just as good outdoors in the dirt and sand - as well as plummeting from the tops of sliding boards - as they are indoors. Because of the way they're made, it's a cinch to rinse them off in the sink and then let them air dry.

Green Start Stacking & Nesting Blocks Green Start Stacking & Nesting Blocks
Ages: 2 & Up
innovativeKids, $19.99

Made entirely from Earth-friendly materials, the Green Start Stacking & Nesting Blocks are remarkably sturdy-and colorful-for what basically amounts to recycled cardboard. Each of the five sides of the blocks (the sixth is open for nesting) uses colorful illustrations to teach something different: letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and even the names of baby animals. It's pretty impressive just how much they've fit onto the sides of these things. Plus, the nesting / stacking / building aspect teaches the concepts of size and spatial awareness.

Tegu Blocks Tegu Blocks
Ages: 3 - 10 yrs.
Tegu, $125.00

Tegu won the hearts of our parent testers. Its simplicity accounted for this, as the toy combines basic wood and magnets. The set also promotes a clear message of "create, capture, share", while also providing clear support for sustainability. Tegu products are made in Honduras from recycled hardwood. When building is complete, children can take a picture and upload it to the Tegu site. The website mirrors the product's simplicity - it is easy to use, clean, and functional. The discoveries with this toy never end.

Naturebag Naturebag
Ages: 3 - 12 yrs.
Naturebag Eco-Activities Ltd, $34.99

This all-in-one kit is packed inside an organic cotton shoulder bag filled with eco-friendly items designed to help children explore nature through a variety of sensory activities. Open the bag to find tools such as recycled cardboard leaf viewers, a rubber wood magnifying glass, soy-based crayons, hemp twine and organic cotton blindfolds. The 19-page booklet provides detailed instructions for more than 15 activities that teach children to observe nature through sight, sound and texture using the tools provided.

CitiBlocs Skyline 200 Piece Hot & Cool Colors CitiBlocs Skyline 200 Piece Hot & Cool Colors
Ages: 3 & Up
CitiBlocs, LLC, $43.99

A hip American edition of the beloved Kapla Blocs, the 200 piece colorful Citiblocs sets are, depending on your perspective or vernacular, a cool, or hot, updated and eco-friendly (New Zealand Radiata Pine) version of a treasured building toy. Start by creating low and wide structures (horse corrals or Frank Lloyd Wright homes) and move on to skyscrapers in Singapore or Dubai. Young builder testers created pens to pretend to bathe oil soaked brown pelicans, and structures hopeful of a nod from I.M Pei.

Seed Bombs Seed Bombs
Ages: 3 & Up
DuneCraft, Inc, $4.99

Dunecraft's seed bombs are a great product for first time gardeners. Each package contains six seed bombs and instructions for planting them. The outer coating of the seed bombs protects them from animals, insects, and the elements as the plants sprout. Seed bombs are an easy way to start growing wild flowers, herbs, and shortgrass. Our testers saw quick results after tossing their seed bombs into their yards.

Twig Twig
Ages: 3 & Up
Fat Brain Toys, $49.99

Opening the box containing this exquisitely designed set of blocks elicited gasps of "Ooh's" and "Ah's" from goggle-eyed youngsters who couldn't wait to get their hands on them! The children have never before seen blocks like these, which have open spaces, holes and slots that make it possible for the compatible, precision-cut pieces to slide into, between and alongside one another. The 72 wooden pieces (from 100% reclaimed wood) include six sets with the same components. Each set of 12 pieces is painted in a different brilliant hue, and they nest together perfectly like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

Makedo - Kit for One Makedo - Kit for One
Ages: 4 & Up
Reeves International, Makedo (TM), $20.00

The makedo free play range encourages open ended creativity and making. Each kit comprises makedo's resusable connector system, construction tools and an inspiration poster featuring project ideas to get creativity flowing. Turn cardboard boxes, paper cups, plastic bottles, lids and other household packaging into amazing recycled artworks with the Makedo Freeplay set of connectors. Manufacturer's Description

Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse
Ages: 4 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $29.99

How many toys out there appeal equally to a preschooler and a "tween", while being environmentally friendly at the same time? The Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse turns out to be a wonderful art project for a range of ages. The package wastes nothing - even the box itself becomes part of the house. Testers loved seeing the house take shape. They spent hours decorating and coloring the many accessories, then embarked on days upon days of using the house as a centerpiece for pretend play, adding and rotating their own embellishments from household items and scraps, to small playthings and trinkets.

Recycled Cardboard Zoo Recycled Cardboard Zoo
Ages: 4 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $29.99

There is something for everyone in the Recycled Cardboard Zoo. This is a great activity for the whole family to do together on a rainy day. From the fuzzy zebras to the life-like aquarium, this zoo will keep your little animals busy for hours. The best part about this set is its instruction's suggestions for using ordinary household items, such as used egg cartons (think: igloos for the penguins!), to spruce up and add even more dimension to the zoo. It's a fantastic set for families with varying ages of kids, because it's a great learning experience both about animals and their habitats, and about recycling and helping the environment.

Classic Wood Crafts Classic Wood Crafts
Ages: 5 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $29.99

Classic Wooden Crafts is an arts and crafts activity that comes with over four hundred pieces of wood in a variety of shapes and sizes. Additional materials include feathers, chenille stems, cotton and elastic string, and wooden people and beads. Glue, eco-friendly paints, paint brushes, a marker, and sand paper round out the necessary supplies for making these wooden crafts. One can use the instructions for ideas or just use one's imagination. There are enough materials to use the set multiple times, and when done, the materials can be housed in the bag that is included.

Miracle-Gro Kids 3 in 1 Gardening Set Miracle-Gro Kids 3 in 1 Gardening Set
Ages: 5 & Up
Peachtree Playthings, $12.99

The Miracle Gro "Ready Set Gro" set contains three flower pots, a watering can, Miracle Gro soil mixture, and tomato, red pepper and cucumber seeds - everything needed to plant a mini vegetable garden. Children were very excited to plant their own garden and watch it grow. Within days, the seeds sprouted roots, then shoots, and our little farmers were ecstatic. Throughout the process, we learned about germination, photosynthesis, and even responsibility from the included materials.

Plastic Bag Monster Plastic Bag Monster
Ages: 8 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $10.99

Turn all your unwanted plastic bags into an enviro project. Change them into adorable monster puppets or a nice decoration for your home. Kids will see how they can have fun recycling making toys out of something as simple as a plastic bag. The kit makes 2 plastic bag monsters and includes: card templates, wooden beads, string, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, moving eyes, double-sided adhesive tapes and detailed instructions. You need to recycle your own plastic bags and bottle tops to make the monsters' bodies.

Sustainable Earth Lab Sustainable Earth Lab
Ages: 8 & Up
Thames & Kosmos, $54.95

The National Geographic Earth Lab Environmental Science Kit by Thames and Kosmos teaches children about the earth's current environmental problems and what sustainable practices can do to overcome them. The kit utilizes hands-on experiments and learning in order to give children a concrete understanding of abstract ideas and concepts. The material and experiments are divided into five sections: renewable energies, natural resource usage, climate change prevention, waste and water management, and energy conservation. The kit includes most items necessary to complete forty experiments.

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