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Stuck for kids birthday ideas? Try these made-to-last brands
There’s a lot to be said about the importance of independent play time, it’s the building blocks (pardon the pun) of child development, not to mention an activity parents love too. But when it comes to toys, many – especially plastic ones – contain toxins (like BPA, phthalates and formaldehyde-ridden glue) and inevitably end up in landfill taking hundreds of years to breakdown. However, there are many great brands making fantastic educational toys (that the kids will love). Here’s our list to treasure and pass on to the next generation.
From family games to doll houses and puppets, Melissa & Doug creates kids toys with the sole purpose of encouraging kids to see new possibilities. With everything they create they hope to inspire free play, creativity, imagination, learning and discovery. They’re affordable, easy to find at most toy stores and durable enough to pass on from sibling to sibling and beyond.
Made from post-consumer plastic – AKA recycled milk bottles – Green Toys has kid’s imagination, safety and the planet at heart. They divert a huge amount of waste from landfill to cleverly create toys that range from dump trucks to doctor’s kits and more. And their popular sand play set has the stamp of approval from our own children. They also make mealtime fun with their range of brightly coloured plates, bowls and cutlery.
This green company crafts exquisite wooden toys, games and puzzles for toddlers and older children too. Get them counting and learning colours or role playing in their own farmer’s market or ice cream stall. Toys are made from sustainable rubberwood with non-toxic paints and are free from formaldehyde (which, scarily, is found in a lot of mainstream glue). If your children are into imaginative play Tender Leaf Toys has lots to offer.
Craft can be pretty problematic from a sustainability standpoint – think plastic, glitter and questionable ingredients in those paint pots. But OkoNorm aims to change that. The German company focuses on high-quality art supplies that are non-toxic and ethically made. From modelling clay and ergonomic beeswax crayons to water-based felt-tip pens and finger paints, little ones will only be bound by their imagination.
Is your child interested in music? Plan Toys has a great range of instruments for budding performers. While we can’t guarantee they’ll make great music, we can assure you their pieces are free from toxic glue and their paints are made from sustainably sourced rubber trees. As well as the instruments we love the pull-along toys, puzzles, blocks, bath toys and role play pieces.
From dinosaurs to unicorns, Clockwork Soldier has loads of DIY activity kits that are wonderful for both kids’ imaginations and the planet. Kits like the build a Mega-Bot are made from recycled cardboard and the Grow Your Own Mini Magical Garden comes with seeds to plant.They also have a range of dress ups and design-your-own superhero costume kits that are super cute.
It’s known for their gorgeous Luggy baskets, but Olli Ella also has a great range of sustainable and ethically produced kids toys and accessories. Budding artists – including our own – love Playpa colouring and sticker paper, while the gorgeous dolls pram are a decorator piece in their own right. The stools, furniture and baskets are also both practical and adorable.
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