Let's hear it for the dads! The days of dear old dad staying out of the nursery are a thing of the past — today's pops are redesigning the baby's room, bottle, and more. With more fathers taking on child-rearing responsibilities, they're upgrading lil one's gear with some touches that both moms and dads can appreciate. Just in time for Father's Day, meet the men who are making baby-raising healthier, easier, and more stylish than ever.
Clockwise from top left: Smiling Tree Toys' Organic Playground Set ($95), Green Toys Tug Boat ($13), EverEarth 53 Piece Organic Farm Play Set ($60), Sprig Dino Adventure ($20), Kid O Memory Match ($30), Wonderworld Little Green World ($25), Plan Toys Musical Band ($46), Haba Click Clack Ball Track ($126), B.Toys Alphaberry ($13).
Scrub, a dub, dub, get phthalates and BPA out of the tub! Many bath toys are made with plastics and rubber containing hormone disruptors that are ingested once lil ones get their hands (and mouths) on them. We've rounded up some goods that are safe for splashing around.To protect the goods from mold, clean the toys with an eco-friendly cleanser or homemade solution.
Clockwise from top left: Kido O's Floating Ducks ($12), Sassy Sassy Bathtime Pals Set of 5 ($6), Sprig Toys Adventure Scuba Search Playset ($7), Rich Frog Natural Latex Original Rubber Duck ($7), Boon Splat Floating Ring Toss ($9), Sassy Count 'N Spell Bath Appliques ($7), Spielstabil Water Fun Set ($20), Sassy Pour & Explore Bath Cups ($8), Green Toys Tug Boat ($13).
Is a company still green, even if it's owned by a mainstream manufacturer? The popularity of eco-friendly toys has given rise to a number of small companies that specialize in natural and recycled goods. Unfortunately, to create such products, some green makers turn to smaller plants to produce their toys, frequently leading to higher prices on the store shelves.
Just this week, Sprig Toys, the company that uses a bio-composite of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic to create their line of battery-free vehicles, announced a merger with WHAM-O, the 60-year-old company behind the Original Frisbee. According to the company, the new partnership will provide Sprig Toys with better access to manufacturing plants, ultimately reducing the price of their environmentally-friendly goods and introducing a line of WHAM-O Jr. products made from Sprig's Sprigwood material.
Such strategic partnerships are nothing new, but they do pose an important question: would you still buy eco-friendly products when they are manufactured by companies that aren't green?
It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Over the past three days, the nation's leading toy manufacturers, as well as several newcomers, introduced their latest and greatest creations in hopes of becoming the Zhu Zhu Pets of 2010. Through wandering through the 345,000 square feet of exhibit space and eyeing the 7,000 products that were on display for the first time, we identified several trends that you can expect to see on store shelves later this year. Here are the top five toy trends to keep an eye out for as these products hit your local retailer.
More than 100,000 new toys were on display at the annual Toy Fair in NYC this week, some of which are destined to become the it toys of the holiday season, and some of which may never make it to store shelves. After roaming the convention center's massive halls, we were able to spot a few trends for the coming year. Take a look at our slideshow to see the top 5 toy trends for 2009.
Three-year-olds tend to be a bit fickle as they express their independence. One moment they are telling you they can do it all by themselves, then the next they insist on holding your hand. When shopping for a gift for a preschooler, look for items that showcase their new found abilities.
Among our favorite selections for this age group:
- The ballerina in your life will be begging to put on a recital with the Acting Out Dress Up Musical Skirts that either play music from the Nutcracker or Swan Lake with the flip of a switch.
- The little John Bonham or Tommy Lee in your family will love the Plan Toy Musical Band drum set. Featuring drums and cymbals, this environmentally-friendly set, is not too loud and is made from replenishable wood.
- One of the coolest new toys on the market, Automoblox, are more than just wooden vehicles. Each car can be taken apart and reassembled, and, once additional cars are purchased, the interchangeable parts can be used to create new, unique, creations.
- Sprig Toys use kid-power, rather than batteries, to move their environmentally-friendly, paint-free vehicles. Unlike other vehicles on the market, the trucks and all terrain vehicles in the line use kinetic energy to move, make sounds and light up.
- Get your tot up and moving with Animal Scramble a new game of hide and seek that encourages listening and following instructions.
- What preschooler doesn't like ice cream? With the Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Set your lil one can dream up the quadruple scoop cones while practicing her colors and numbers.