Eco-friendly doesn’t have to be expensive this holiday season! While parents recognize that “green” toys are great for the environment and a positive experience for children, cost has sometimes been an issue. Goddard Systems, Inc., named the number one child care franchise company for the eighth year in a row by Entrepreneur magazine, has announced 2009’s Hottest Eco-Friendly Toys under $30.
The foundation of the Goddard Schools curriculum is learning through play. It is with this focus that the Goddard Schools partnered with Eco Child’s Play, a leading “green” blog, for the schools’ second annual Top Toys Test.
After a national call for submissions, the Toy Test Committee, consisting of Eco Child’s Play representatives and Goddard educators, evaluated entrants based on a number of criteria, including:
- Affordable price range ($30 and under)
- Appropriate for preschoolers and early elementary school-age children
- Creative, social or engaging
- Interactive, child-initiated play focus
“As leaders in early childhood development, we recognize that families want to know which toys are both safe and engaging for children,” said Joseph Schumacher, Chief Operating Officer at Goddard Systems, Inc. “We feel that our Top 10 Toys list will serve as a great resource for parents, grandparents and other family members as they venture into the gift-giving season.” This eco-friendly connection is a natural one for Goddard, which encourages pro-environment programs within its schools.
“In these budget-conscious times, it was important for us to select eco-friendly toys that not only encouraged play and creativity, but were also affordable,” said Maryanne Conlin, mom, toy expert and Eco Child’s Play Contributor. “With help from our readers and toy testers, we are thrilled to have found 10 playthings that we feel will help families live a more healthy, eco-friendly life.”
The Top 10 Eco-Friendly Toys are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Aromatic Play Clay (Mama K, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $20 – $22.00)
Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay is 100 % natural, bio-degradable, gluten free play clay. It combines aromatherapy with activity and fun. With seven scents to choose from including soothing lavender, relaxing chamomile and tension-easing bergamot, fun never smelled so good! Mama K’s Play Clay is also suitable for kids with Celiac and Autism Spectrum disorders.
Count Octopus (ImagiPLAY, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $17.99)
Learning to count is fun with this Octopus Number puzzle. Hand-crafted & hand painted with child-safe paints. Count Octopus is made from plantation-grown rubberwood, an environmentally-friendly hardwood.
Desert Hothouse (DuneCraft, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $14.99)
Create your own sandy, dusty desert scene with the DuneCraft Desert Hothouse. This kit comes complete with a variety of cacti and succulents including the Giant Saguaro, Joshua Tree and many more. Little ones will have a blast designing a desert landscape with included gravel, sand, boulders and desert friends. These easy-to-grow plants will start sprouting in a week and will last for years.
Green Toys Recycling Truck (Green Toys Inc., Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
Now little ones can learn all about the basics of recycling. Made in the USA from 100% recycled milk containers, the Green Toys Recycling Truck sorts bottles, cans and paper. It also has a movable recycling bed and open/shut rear door. It is safe, non-toxic, BPA-Free and packaged in recycled and recyclable materials.
Green Toys Tea Set (Green Toys, Inc., Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
Pull up a chair; it’s time to serve up some eco-friendly imagination! The 17-piece Green Toys Tea Set includes a tea pot with lid, a sugar bowl with lid, a creamer, four cups, four saucers and four teaspoons. It is made from curbside collected milk containers and also meets FDA specs for food contact.
Hugg-A-Planet (Hugg-A-Planet, All Ages, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
A soft, educational toy, Hugg-A-Planet helps children learn about caring for planet Earth. It features over 600 places labeled, showing oceans, continents, islands and more.
Joobles Collection (Fair Indigo, Ages 0 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $25)
Organically adorable, the Joobles Collection features a variety of eco-friendly, fair trade characters. Made out of 100% organic cotton, these soft and squishy characters are hand knit! Children of cooperative workers are helped by the Fair Indigo Foundation, which provides educational programs and supplies.
Ring a Thing (HABA, Ages 1-3, Approximate Retail Price: $24.00)
Ring a Thing transitions children from free play to first games with rules. It’s also a fun way for children to recognize colors and sizes. For 1-3 players, Ring a Thing is made of beech wood. HABA products have passed certification that guarantees a high quality environmental management system.
Veggie Cutting Set (ImagiPLAY, Ages 2 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.99)
Help kids learn about healthy eating with the Veggie Cutting Set from ImagiPLAY. This vegetable set helps children develop motor skills and coordination while encouraging them to learn about healthy food in a fun role play environment. Segmented and secured with Velcro, for cutting over and over again, segments can be combined to create entirely new vegetables! This 16-piece activity toy is made from all-natural, earth friendly rubberwood.
Tree Branch Blocks (Natural Pod, Ages 2-8, Approximate Retail Price: $29.00)
Bring the outdoors in with this beautiful set of rustic tree branch blocks. Perfect for stacking and building, each set comes with many unique pieces, various diameters and lengths for the ultimate in creative building. Tree Branch Blocks are made with kiln dried, locally (Vancouver Island) sourced Alder with Harmonic unbleached beeswax finish.
In addition to Goddard’s national list of Top 10 Eco-Friendly Toys, preschoolers at participating Goddard Schools across the country will have the opportunity to play with the top ten toys and pick their favorites. Schools will then announce their “Local Preschoolers Picks” for the Eco-Friendly Toys of 2009. Participating Goddard Schools will also hold community toy drives with Toys for Tots, or a local charity of the school’s choice.