Last Updated on November 30, 2021 by Sarah
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Looking for the best non-toxic toys and eco friendly toy brands?
Whether you’re looking for non-toxic toys for babies, eco friendly play mats or natural bath toys for toddlers and beyond, here’s all you need to know in order to make safer & more ethical choices for your little one.
Why Choose Non-Toxic Toys?
Whilst today’s toy safety legislation is much stricter than it once was, many of today’s toys still contain chemicals of concern. These include:
Plastic toys containing BPA or PVC often include phthalates, a suspected endocrine disruptor. Soft plastic toys such as bath rubber ducks, plastic dolls & inflatable toys are often made from PVC. Be wary of products labelled solely as ‘BPA free’, as recent research suggests BPA alternatives may not be any safer.
Toxic dyes, finishes and glues
Many toys are finished with paints, dyes, varnishes or glues that contain harsh chemicals. Some paint still contains lead and glues may contain formaldehyde, a common VOC. Toys made from manufactured wood, such as MDF and Ply-wood, are commonly bonded using toxic glues and other adhesive materials.
Keep in mind as well, ‘toys’ such as metal jewellery and play make-up are often not subject to the same safety regulations as regular toys & may contain chemical heavy fragrances, lead or other heavy metals.
Some toys and baby products may contain flame retardants, some formulations of which have been linked with serious health concerns. It’s not always easy to tell when chemicals in flame retardants are present, but soft toys and toys containing foam often contain them. If unsure, check the product details or contact the manufacturer.
Second hand toys
Recent research has also found that older toys (especially pre-90s ones) may contain higher levels of hazardous elements, such as lead. Toys from this era are also less likely to conform to current safety standards, so may be best avoided.
Non Toxic Toys For Babies
A few well chosen toys are a great tool to help babies learn about their surrounding world. From providing sensory stimulation to developing fine motor skills, baby toys & activities help nurture early learning & development.
Babies also have sensitive, porous skin & developing immune systems, so where you can, it’s pays to invest in eco friendly, non toxic toys to help limit exposure of unwanted chemicals on your babies skin. Below you’ll find some suggestions for non toxic baby toy brands, as well as toys as non toxic toys for toddlers and older children.
Non-Toxic Plastic Toy Brands
Plastic is well known for being environmentally unfriendly, so natural wood is often a better choice. Wooden toys can prove more costly though, so if you do consider plastic, look for toys labelled ‘BPA, Phthalates and PVC’ free. If the product details lists it, toys made from plastics #2, 4, and 5 are also generally considered safer choices.
One of the best choices for non toxic plastic toys is the eco friendly Green Toys. From tea sets to ferry boats, toys are made from recycled plastic, (primarily #2 plastic milk jugs) & mineral based color dyes.
There’s loads of choice, toys are award winning & packaging uses 100% recyclable cardboard.
Non-Toxic Wooden Toy Brands:
Wood is both natural and tactile, making it great for little exploring hands.
Not all wooden toys are made the same. So look for toys made in unfinished natural wood (i.e not manufactured wood such as MDF or plywood), or with non-toxic clear finishes, such as beeswax or food-grade oil, like linseed. Also look for wooden toys that use solvent-free, water or plant based paints & non toxic glues.
Here are some of the best toys brands that produce non-toxic wooden blocks and toys.
Toys are made from natural rubber wood or a trademarked PlanWood. Both are high quality & safe. Glues are non formaldehyde & dyes water based. Packaging uses recycled paper & soy ink.
From baby toys to tea sets & doll’s houses, there’s loads of choice.
German based Haba have been making natural wooden toys for over 80 years. With a child’s development firmly at their heart, Haba have won a number of awards.
Choose from the popular animal stacking game, classic wooden blocks, puzzles, shape sorters & lots more.
With a strong sustainable ethos, Hape produce wooden & eco friendly toys based on the concept of ‘Love, Play Learn’. Toys are made in China, but wood is sourced sustainably & toys made with ‘minimum ecological cost’. If you want 100% natural wood, check individual toy details, as plywood & MDF is sometimes used.
There’s a huge choice for a wide range of ages – from eco friendly bamboo toys to the Hape Penguin Musical Wobbler & popular wooden play kitchens. Paints are non-toxic & water based.
Maple Landmark have been making eco-friendly, non-toxic wooden toys & games, since 1979.
With sustainability at their core, Maple Landmark craft toys in Vermont, from rock maple, pine, cherry & oak.
From natural wood toddler toys to wooden board games, products have a hand crafted, natural feel. A number of products are available with no finishes or choose one of their coatings.
Featuring hand printed letters, numbers & pictures, the blocks help children to spell, sequence, stack, sort, build & match.
Beautifully designed & made to last, blocks are made from sustainable Michagan basswood. Inks are non-toxic.
Non Toxic Toys For Babies – Organic Brands
Whilst many of the toys brands above produce non toxic toys suitable for babies, if you’re specifically looking for baby toy ideas, the following organic, wooden & natural rubber options should be suitable for most babies between birth & 6 months.
Under The Nile
From a friendly octopus to cute stuffed animals, toys are made in Egypt using GOTS certified organic cotton. Dyes are low impact & non toxic.
Toys are also Fair Trade.
Founded by Mum, Angie Ting, Apple Park create eco friendly soft toys for babies & small children.
The adorable organic Farm Buddies range is a popular seller, with soft toys, teething rattles & baby blankets all available.
Organic Farm Buddies are made using GOTS organic cotton, corn fiber filling & natural dyes. Packaging is printed on recycled paper with soy ink.
Get ready for tummy time with the eco friendly Wee Gallery woodland & safari themed play mats & snuggle blankets. Both are made with GOTS organic cotton & the non toxic play mats also feature an Oeko-Tex polyester fill & a sustainably sourced wooden teething ring.
There’s also an FSC certified nesting block set on offer, as well as eco friendly bamboo numbers.
From soft organic cotton bunny baby blankets to baby rattles & soft chime baby balls, Petit Collage soft cotton toys are made using GOTS certified organic cotton (stuffing is recycled polyester).
They also print with vegetable based inks and water based paint. Packaging is minimised & priority is made to responsibly sourced materials.
If it’s a gift you’re after, check out their cute baby gift sets.
See our natural & organic baby toys guide for more eco friendly baby toys.
Natural Wood Baby Toys
This sensory tumbling set from eco friendly Plan Toys includes 3 different sensory tumbler toys.
A red tumbler with a fluffy texture stimulate’s baby’s sense of touch, a blue tumbler with rattling balls inside stimulates hearing and a yellow tumbler with a mirror stimulates vision.
Made in Thailnad from sustainably sourced rubberwood trees, formaldehyde-free glues, organic pigments & water based dyes.
Natural Rubber Baby Toys
Still the teether of choice for many babies, after 60 years, Vulli’s Sophie The Giraffe is made from 100% natural rubber. Sustainably sourced from the Hevea tree, it makes a great first baby toy or eco friendly baby gift.
A much more sustainable choice than plastic, natural rubber is also biodegradable, as well as BPA phthalate & lead free.
Dyes in Sophie are all natural.
Tikiri’s My First Safari Rattle collecton are all made from 100% natural rubber. Tactile & squeezable, these cute creatures also make a gentle sensory sound when shaken.
Whether you choose the elephant, hippo or lovable lion, these non toxic baby toys are designed to be gripped by little hands & are BPA, phthalate & PVC free.
If it’s water fun you’re after, Danish based Hevea Planet produce a fun range of natural rubber baby bath toys, as well as non toxic pacifiers & teethers.
From classic ducks to eco friendly whales, toys are made in Malaysia from sustainable Hevea tree rubber.
Colours are plant based & toys phthalates, PVC & BPA free.
Montessori Toys For Babies
Maria Montessori is famed for her child centred approach to learning through natural play. Promoting independence & growth at a child’s own pace, the Montessori method encourages a few age appropriate toys that a child can readily (& independently) choose from over an abundance of over stimulating toys that may lead to overwhelm or boredom.
Whilst technically there’s no such thing as a ‘Montessori toy’, it generally means a toy that stimulates the senses & encourages learning through holding, touching & manipulating objects in a free, open ended & independent way. The parents role is to observe & guide rather than direct this play.
Generally made from natural materials, such as wood, which feature a wider variety of textures & tones, common examples of Montessori toys are wooden puzzles, wooden stacking rings, baby gyms or any toy that embraces the senses & helps promote independence, critical thinking & fine motor development. Montessori toys also tend to be based in reality with a real purpose.
Montessori toys often go hand in hand with non toxic based toys, as both tend to favour tactile wooden or natural materials which inspire natural, sensory play.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions on non toxic toys & toy safety? Here’s some further information you might find useful.
Non-toxic Toys – Conclusion
One of the best gifts we can give our child is an environment where they’re free to explore their surroundings. It’s how children make sense of the world and it’s how they learn. And, of course, playing in dirt and exploring the world from a, slightly less than pristine, floor will always be a natural part of this.
However, if you want to reduce the amount of man made chemicals and toxins your child is exposed to via their toys, there’s now a much wider choice of non-toxic & eco friendly toys to choose from.
From natural wooden toys to rubber toys made from the sustainably sourced Hevea tree, soft toys made from organic cotton & plant based paints & finishes, choosing toys that have been made without the use of harsh chemicals helps ensure a healthier start for your little one.
You’ll also, of course, be helping the planet.