Toymakers offer ‘green’ alternatives

Going green during the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean adding seasonal bling to a looming Fraser Fir. Several eco-friendly toy manufacturers offer playthings intended to steer both kids and parents away from plastic, potentially toxic materials and other less-than-green materials found in today’s toy box.


The goal of this Atlanta-based toy maker is to teach kids ages 3 and older the basics of environmental sustainability by taking “iddy biddy steps.” They do so through cuddly plush character dolls. Each 9-inch doll — Scout the cloud, Lola the flower or Waverly the blue water drop — is handmade from organic Egyptian cotton using natural organic dyes to create the characters’ colorful complexions. The dolls can be purchased individually ($14.99) or in an Eco-friendly Starter Kit.

The kits, each retailing for $29.99, include one doll, a storybook printed on recycled paper, a field guide with 10 ways for kids to be eco-friendly and an organic cotton backpack. An online reward program gives each kid props with a certificate of completion once he or she has worked through the field guide.

The products allow kids to enter an online code that will help protect animal habitats through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant A Billion Trees campaign, Adopt an Acre or Rescue the Reef programs. Each character is linked to a specific initiative, and Idbids gives 50 cents from the purchase of each doll to The Nature Conservancy.

Idbids are available locally at spots such as Bean Head Toys, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Center for Puppetry Arts and the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Idbids items recently became part of’s certified frustration-free package program. This means each product package is recyclable and comes without excess packing junk like hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings and twist-ties.

Sprig Toys

Preschoolers don’t have to give up unbridled playtime adventure when frolicking with socially responsible toys. That’s thanks to Sprig Toys, a company promoting lines of battery-free, earth-friendly fun stuff.

With its new Sprig Adventures Playsets, tots can pretend to be scuba diving, cavorting with dinosaurs or hang gliding. Each set is themed with a different adventure and packed with a vehicle and accessories. Among the four new sets is Rex Jungle’s Dino Adventure Rig ($29.99). An adventure guide figure helms a chunky all-terrain vehicle in order to save a mama dino and her baby. Willie Ocean’s Scuba Search ($9.99) includes a floating boat with a scuba diving adventure guide complete with a scuba mask, tank and flippers created from soft rubber. The toys are made from a composite of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. Parents looking for these and other Sprig toys can find them in national retailers such as Pottery Barn Kids, independent stores such as Bean Head Toys and Learning Express, and online at In fact, Sprig’s Eco-Trucks Recycling Truck is an exclusive.

Green Toys Inc.

Also part of the Eco-Toy Alliance, this toymaker’s mantra is reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycled milk containers are the basis for all of their toys, which cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions. According to the company, for every pound of recycled milk jugs it uses, it saves enough energy to keep a laptop computer running for a month. It also promotes the fact the toys are made in California; less transportation means less greenhouse gases. And the recyclable packaging skips plastics, cellophane and twist-ties.

Green Toys’ products run the gamut from boy-centric goodies like a Dump Truck ($24.99) and Tool Set ($24.99) to girlie activities like a jump rope with pink handles ($9.99) and a dish set ($24.99). The latter, made for ages 2 and older, comes with four place settings featuring yellow forks, knives and spoons. Rounding out the set are four blue cups, four green plates and four violet bowls. Kids can use them for imaginary meals and real ones, too. Get them dirty and toss in the dishwasher. Look for Green Toys online at sites such as, and