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).
Learning doesn't stop at the schoolhouse steps. While there are plenty of books about the importance of caring for our Earth, giving tots toys that incorporate that message into their usual play patterns may be the most effective way of conveying the message. Green toys aren't necessarily the unadorned wooden playthings you might imagine. Today, there are modern playhouses, recycling trucks, and fun board games to inspire more sustainable living. Check out these toys worthy of adding to your toy chest collection.
The 2011 Toy Fair was packed with new products for the coming year. The hardest part, after seeing them all, is waiting for them to be available for purchase. Though there were several hot trends in this year's offerings, a few goodies will be on my shopping list. Check out my 10 favorites.
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.
It's becoming easier than ever to turn your little drummer boy into an Eco-friendly musician with all of the wooden instruments currently on the market. Revving up to celebrate Earth Day, we noticed that there are several toy manufacturers taking the lead in creating products for a variety of skill levels. Plan Toys, the makers of this great percussion set that encourages lil ones to compare and differentiate sounds, specializes in brightly colored wooden toys for kids up through preschool age. Their sturdy products are made from rubber wood, non-formaldehyde glue and water-based dyes and inks. French company, Boikido, designs wooden toys featuring their own characters for kids up to four-years-old that meet the highest European safety standards. Check out other fun picks below!
When baby looks like he is ready to take his first steps, mama may turn to a walker to help steady her lil guy. While some of the push toys feature flashing lights and music to encourage tots, more traditional wooden versions are making a comeback. Unfortunately, the fewer the frills, the more expensive the items seem to be.
Simple: Melissa and Doug's Chomp and Clack Alligator Walker ($30) is made from hand-sanded, painted wood to create a colorful push toy with three clacking alligators.
Swank: Plan Toys' Woodpecker Baby Walker ($76) reflects the company's Eco-friendly mission. The natural wood colored toy is made from recycled rubberwood trees and has three nature-inspired animals that move as the walker is pushed.
Which one do you prefer?
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:
Does your dollhouse need a renovation? Plan Toys has the goods to revamp your lil one's home into a swanky modern living space for miniature people and their pets. I imagine if Elroy and Judy Jetson played with lil figurines, they would have pined after the Plan Toys Modern Furniture Set ($50) as it best suits their lifestyle.
Ditch the old three–cushion couch for the posh pink and white sofa complemented by the large flat screen television. In addition to being fashionable and chic, the sleek bathroom package and the funky kitchen gear keep the Eco-friendly wooden play set colorful. Next up, the Barbie Hybrid!