It’s a little scary out there in Toyland these days what with lead paint, those little gamma hydroxybutyrate-laced dots and a never ending parade of plastic licensed characters that seem to have proliferated in every possible variation.
We heard your pleas (and we read your emails), so we’ve got a savvy toy guide for you today. All available online, all battery-free and most environmentally-sensitive and minimalist (which promotes more open-ended, imaginative play), these classic and soon to be classic toys are sure to be a hit for both parents and tots.
For the Under 3 Set
The all-natural, fair-trade Wool Felt Vegetable Set ($34.95) makes a great addition to the play kitchen. Made by artisans in Nepal, you’ll get a carrot, tomato, cauliflower, green onions, corn and eggplant. Babies love to chew on the carrot.
For a better stuffed animal (kids really do like getting them as gifts), try the quirky French-designed (so stylish!) Deglingos. They’re machine-washable (major bonus) and their funky patchwork look makes them the hippest plush animals around.
Baby have a Haba? If not, get started with one of their rattles or clappers such as the Klapperwurm. Made from wood and painted with non-toxic, water-based paints, Haba Wooden Toys is committed to manufacturing on an ecologically beneficial basis and the toys are guaranteed for life.
For Ages 3-6
Encourage the joy of experimentation with the Starter Ball Track Set ($78), made from solid, natural, untreated beech wood, the perfect marble run for beginners. Little builders will enjoy setting up the various ramps and blocks to make a run for the marble, dropping down from one level to the next and setting off a domino reaction at the end.
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