Eco-Friendly Baby & Toddler Toys – Tot Gift Guide
Looking for eco-friendly and non-toxic baby & toddler gifts? In this guide, we share our tips for choosing sustainable toys as well as our favorite product picks!
Shopping for a newbie or little friend can be one of the most exciting parts about the holiday season!
With that being said, it’s wise to remember that whatever you give them is most likely going to end up in their mouth, which means it needs to be non-toxic. It’s also important to think about what impact that toy is having on the earth. With numerous mainstream toys often ending up in landfills, we like to focus on buying toys that can be played with for years, passed onto siblings and/or are made of an earth-friendly material.
To help you find safe and sustainable baby & toddler toys, our gift guide will cover:
- Materials & chemicals to avoid in baby & toddler toys
- Tips for choosing eco-friendly toys
- Our favorite eco-friendly toy picks for babies & toddlers
Scroll down to learn more!
Materials & chemicals to avoid in baby & toddler toys
Chemicals to avoid in toys
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it’s free of the chemicals we avoid.
When it comes to baby toys, we like to steer clear of the below chemicals because they are all known to cause both short and longterm health problems:
- Bisphenols BPA + BPS
- Lead & other heavy metals
Materials to avoid in toys
- Avoid plastic toys, especially single-use cheap plastic. An exception here would be toys made from recycled milk jugs or bioplastic.
- Be wary of products that are made of polyurethane foam. These almost always contain flame retardant chemicals.
- Avoid toys that smell. If it smells like plastic it probably is made of PVC/vinyl – a known human carcinogen. If it smells ‘fruity’ the toy probably contains phthalates – known endocrine disruptors.
- Remember, a ‘BPA free’ label can still contain chemicals very similar to BPA and be just as bad since they too mimic your hormones.
Tips for choosing eco-friendly toys
The great thing about choosing toys that are kinder to the environment is that they’re also kinder to our health.
Below is a list of my tips for what to look for when choosing an eco-friendly toy.
- Opt for natural wooden toys that have been sustainably sourced
- Opt for soft cloth and plush toys that are made without pesticides (ideally organic) and colored with non-toxic dyes
- Always choose items that have been finished with either water-based, non-toxic paints or non-toxic vegetable dyes
- If something has a paint or finish, ensure it is Low or No VOC
- If you’re unable to choose wood or a natural fiber, natural rubber or latex from Hevea trees are a safe alternative
Eco-friendly toys for babies & toddlers
All Tot Tested and approved, here are our favorite eco-friendly toy picks for babies & toddlers!
Activity gyms are one of the first places your baby will begin to strengthen their eyesight, learn to reach, try to grasp and eventually bat! While the frame is handmade from solid, non-treated, FSC-certified wood, the cute toys are hand knitted and crocheted from 100% cotton.
Made with organic cotton and non-toxic dyes, Wee Gallery’s soft toys feature their signature high contrast black and white illustrations, which are easy for little eyes to focus on.
Made from materials like 100% natural latex or rubber from Hevea Malaysian trees, Oli & Carol toys are biodegradable, non-toxic, and free of PVC, BPA, Nitrosamines and phthalates. Hand painted with natural food-grade dyes, babies will love exploring them with their mouths as well as using them for imaginative play.
Available in more colors
UL Greenguard Gold Certified, which means it’s been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and VOCs known to pollute indoor air, the Bobbin Play Center goes from baby activity center to toddler table making it a toy they’ll have for years, not months!
Ethically made of renewable non-chemically treated organic rubber wood and non-toxic vegetable dyes, PlanToys products are all designed with a baby’s development in mind. From honing hand-eye coordination to giving a tot a thrilling sensory experience, the below toys are must-haves when it comes to reaching important developmental milestones.
When it comes to learning about the concepts of object permeance and cause and effect, the bright and cheerful wooden options from Janod Toys do a fantastic job!
Bajo’s eco-friendly baby walker takes sustainability one step further (no pun intended) with it’s innovative adjustable design tat lets it go from walker to wagon!
Rockers are a wonderful way to encourage active and imagination while honing coordination. Made of sustainably sourced and renewable rattan and a water-based finished, the Poppie Rocking Horse will be a fan-favorite!
Available in Birch Wood or Bamboo, the Lily & River Climbing Triangle allows babies to use their natural instinct to climb, which helps them strengthen muscles, build confidence and learn to balance.
Ranging from $350 to $533.95
Available in more colors
Ranging from $449.95 to $633.95
Available in more colors
Made of FSC certified wood, the Petite Collage Wooden toys are designed to help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination as well as cognition.
Made of sustainably sourced solid lime wood and non-toxic water based paints, the glue free mountain stacker and earth stacker allow kids to hone their hand-eye coordination while experimenting with the endless structures and designs they can create!
Fun for both little and big kids, Lily & River’s Matchables can be used to play memory matching games, blocks and more! Made from premium, FSC-certified hardwood, this 18 piece set comes packaged in a handy canvas storage bag.
Designed to allow kids to balance, slide, step, stretch, rest and bridge, the Lily & River Little Surfer is a toy that goes from babyhood right through childhood!
The Green Tones Tone Drum is a must-have for musical play! From counting beats to making up songs, it’s a wonderful toy for both physical and cognitive development.
Made with renewable rubber wood and painted with non-toxic water based paints, these adorable gifts from Tender Leaf Toys will help your tot expand their vocabulary and engage in imaginative play!