How environmentally friendly is your toy box?
When it comes to toys, the three R's of sustainable living ring very true:
Most children have more toys than they have time to play with so resist the urge to overstock the toy box. Buy quality items that won't need replacing so readily and can be passed on after one child has outgrown them. Avoid fads and opt for classic toys that have stood the test of time. Choose toys with minimal packaging, and look for toys that can be played with in more than one way.
Pass pre-loved toys on to new homes, fix broken toys instead of throwing them away, and use toys for other purposes such as Christmas decorations, baby mobiles or art and craft. Give the kids some glue and let them make sculptures with all those little plastic bits and pieces, or try spray painting small toys in a colour theme and gluing them inside a picture frame.
Make toys out of household items - formula tins make great drums, plastic bottles can be skittles, old blankets, sheets, even clothing can be reinvented as cute soft toys... the possibilities are endless! There are even companies manufacturing new toys out of recycled materials, see examples below.
These clever toys have maximum impact at playtime but minimal impact on the environment.
Green Toys Recycling Truck, made from recycled milk bottles. $49.95 AUD, from ittybittygreenie.com.au
Eco Stars Crayons, made from 100% recycled crayons. $19.95 AUD, from ittybittygreenie.com.au
Stack and Nest Cups, BPA, PVC and phthalate free, $29.95 from www.naturebaby.co.nz
Willow Rattle, non toxic and light for little hands, $24.95 from www.naturebaby.co.nz
Licorice Ludo, made with felt, $39 from www.organicbaby.co.nz
Kobba Mini BOPS Board, multi-functional and made in New Zealand, $19 from www.organicbaby.co.nz
Encourage little green thumbs with an Eco Greenhouse, $90 from www.nakedbaby.co.nz
African doll with clothes, jewellery and no plastic in sight! $34.99 from www.tradeaid.org.nz
Learn To Tie Shoelaces, handmade and educational to boot. $9.99 from www.tradeaid.org.nz
Hug A Planet, the ultimate in earth friendliness, $28.95 from www.nakedbaby.co.nz
Recycled newspaper collouring pencils, $9.95 for a 10 pack from www.mymojo.co.nz
Prices accurate at time of publication, 14 September, 2012