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Green Toys: Get Out And Play!
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Our children are exposed to harmful chemicals every day of their lives. They breath in our contaminated air. Our food and water supplies are tainted by pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful items. We cannot avoid the amount of chemicals that our children encounter for the most part, but we can make sure that they do not have to deal with more in their toys.

Green toys are not only better for our children, but for the planet as well. Making sure that our children have good, safe toys to play with will keep them occupied, healthy and hopefully teach them some valuable lessons as well.

The first toys that a child comes in contact with will find themselves chewed on, tugged on, napped on and washed frequently. Baby toys, for that very purpose must be durable, and safe. The more that a baby chews on a item, the less harmful chemicals should be involved.

Look for items that are labeled as organic, nontoxic and age appropriate. Regardless of material, make sure that all items given to an infant are checked thoroughly for undue wear or dangerous pieces that could be pulled off and swallowed.

Older children can make do with many items, but some care should be extended with their choices as well. Make sure that all items are free from harmful plastics, paints or other processes that would make the toy less than desirable. On a related note, take careful stock of where and how each toy is produced. Do not buy toys from manufacturers that employ sweat shop labor or other unsavory practices.

Sometimes the best choices for your children’s green toys are the classics. Mix up eco-friendly water paints in small reusable containers and let them paint the driveway or on sheets of recycled paper. Draw hopscotch grids on the drive, find a pebble and teach them a new game. Buy them jump ropes made from hemp or other sustainable material and challenge them to jumping contests. Buy a load of pre-washed sand and let the kids build castles and other creations, knock them down and start all over.

Green toys can be found in many places. Check the Internet and catalogs for sources for these products. Make sure that the toys you choose are age appropriate and durable. Any toy that is going to be chewed on should be pliable but firm, and made of materials that will not come off in baby’s mouth. Unbleached, untreated cotton is a good choice for soft crib toys, and may become baby’s favorite lovey bear well into his pre-teen years.

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