If you’re a parent, then you know how important playtime is in early childhood development. It can even be enjoyable for parents to watch their children play, or to even join them during play. There’s nothing like the look on a kid’s face when you hand them a new, shiny toy! Have you ever stop to consider how the toys you purchase for your children are made, and how the production of these toys may be impacting the environment?

To put this into perspective, let’s begin by establishing how massive the toy industry is. In 2016, the Huffington Post reported that it reached $20.36 billion in sales. The issue does not involve the size of the industry, but the fact that it is an industry that carries a very heavy carbon footprint. This is because highly popular (and of course inexpensive) plastic toys account for 90 percent of the market. Like all plastic products, plastic toys are not good for our planet, being nearly impossible to recycle. Cheaply made plastic toys have a much shorter span than their higher-quality and more sustainable counterparts.

As we have talked about previously on our blog, making an effort to eliminate single-use plastics is critical to the future of our planet. Arguably, while plastic toys may not necessarily qualify as “single-use,” their short life spans pose a similar threat to the environment. Plastic toys present a unique challenge because they’re usually made of other materials too, which cannot be separated when recycling. As a result, most of them are not recyclable (or properly recycled) and end up as litter, harming wildlife.

Luckily, there are many eco-friendly toy alternatives for your kids to enjoy and learn from. Keep reading below to learn about some of our favorite earth-friendly toys.

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1. Organic Cotton Stuffed Animals 

Toys made out of wood, organic cotton, metal, and natural rubber are considered safe and sustainable alternatives to plastics. Miyim’s 100% organic cotton fairytale collection, which you can purchase at Giggle.com, is an exceptional option that your little one is sure to love.

2. Organic Vegetable Bag Basket 

What better way to get your kids to love vegetables from an early age than to get them vegetable toys? This wooden veggie set from Pottery Barn Kids is made from eco-friendly rubberwood and nontoxic water-based paints, with a retail value of $24.

3. Eco-Dough 

We’re pretty positive that almost every child loves squishy things. Who are we kidding, almost every adult also enjoys squishy things. Eco-kids is a family-based company that started with one product – the eco-dough. Eventually, they expanded on this product and also created several different non-toxic arts and crafts supplies. The ingredients used in all of their toys are made from materials such as non-GMO flour, vitamin E, and essential oils – all of which are not just safe for children, but also the environment.

4. Green Toys™ Seaplane 

Every toy designed by Green Toys™ is manufactured from 100% recycled plastic, most of which is recycled from milk jugs, right in America’s backyard. They feature a variety of different toys, making it simple and easy to find something that your kids are sure to love. While you can’t go wrong with any of their toys, the Seaplane is one of our favorites!

5. Animal-Shaped Reusable Water Bottles 

Get your children started on their sustainability journey with a refillable water bottle. We love this one in the form of a bear from Flora and Fauna. Buying your kid(s) a reusable water bottle introduces healthy hydration habits for the entire family, providing a good foundation for teaching about positive and impactful lifestyle habits.

These are just some of the myriad of toys you can choose from that are more environmentally friendly. Choosing sustainable toy alternatives is a great way to help make your family more environmentally aware. Educating and motivating your children from an early age to start thinking about how their efforts impact the planet, and how even little changes can make a difference, is essential. In today’s world, being eco-friendly is important, so teaching your kids gives our world more hope for the future. If you’re looking for other ways to help create a sustainable future, be sure to learn more about what Spring Power & Gas offers to our customers.