Top GREEN Toys for 2009

Green toys used to mean a recycling truck here or there…or a paper maker, but now there are many toys that are either manufactured with a green mandate or promote a positive green message to kids.  The biggest trend are dolls made from organic materials–not all created equal in our book.  Green shouldn’t have to mean scratchy or boring in design or color.  Happily we received many that found the right blend of green and whimsy!  The other big category — trucks…many made of recycled materials – were a real draw to our testers.  Then there are the throw back toys–my personal favorite, the wind-up FM Radio.

Here’s the list of our Top Green Toys for 2009. Complete reviews on our our site, Click on the toy name to read our rating/review.


Eco Trucks (Sprig Toys)

Dump Truck (Green Toys)

Playmobil Recycling Truck (Playmobil)

PushAlong Hybrid Car (ImagiPLAY)

Building Toys

Plan Toys Build ‘n Spin (Plan Toys)

Citiblocs (Citiblocs)

Dolls and Dollhouse

blabla Dolls (blablakids)

Organic Joobles (Fair Indigo)

Earth Mates (Mary Meyer)

Plan Toys Green Dollhouse (Plan Toys)

Other Green Toys of Interest

Crayola Crayon  Maker (Crayola)

Elia Mini Chair (

Ecotronics Radio (International Playthings)

Ecotronics Mr. Robot Head (International Playthings)

Best Outdoor Toys

I really love that we’re heading into summer with longer days – which means more time to be outside with our kids. Here are some of our new favorites for the season…we’ll be continuing to update this list in the coming weeks.


Nature Station Playhouse (Step 2)  I love this little playhouse that is designed for older toddlers and preschoolers – maybe because it looks like Pooh, Tigger and Piglet should be there too. Kids enjoy having small spaces that are designed just for them. This playhouse has a working periscope (really fun), a sink, a working shutter,  and a fenced in area so if you’re invited in- there’s a bigger space for adults. This product is pricey at $249.99 but will be used for a long stretch. (This playhouse  is marked 3 & up  due to all the extra things that come with it–but the structure itself will be enjoyed by younger children. There are larger play sets from Step 2 that have more height–our recommendation is take your kids along when you’re shopping for this type of equipment. If you decide to bring this product  home to older toddlers, put the goodies away until they’re older.)

Sandbox Vehicles Eco Trucks from Sprig Toys were a hit with our testers.  These are very lightweight – making them easy for kids to use and to take along to the park or backyard sand box. Made from recycled materials. Our favorite is the Dump Truck.

Dump Truck (Green Toys)  The new line of green trucks from Green Toys are heavier than the Sprig trucks. They feel more like a traditional plastic toy truck- with the upside here being that they are also made from recycled materials.   Handsomely designed – they got high marks from our testers.

Hot Wheels Color Shifters Blaster (Mattel) I’ve already blogged about this toy and I think I’m a little sad that I gave our sample away!  My mother doesn’t agree with my over the top enthusiasm for this play set–but I really think this is one of the best toys going.  I’m suggesting that it’s even better if you play with it outside–because truth be told-it does get alittle wet if you’re really playing with it full tilt.  The cars react to cold and hot water–and will turn a different color when put into either temperature (I KNOW!)  Best yet, it comes with a squirt bottle so you can change the cars by squirting them.  If you don’t want to buy the whole set–I’d suggest buying one of the cars–you can use any squirt bottle to have the same experience.  If you want to be the super cool grown up, bring this toy home to any three year old you know. I do think the car that turns from blue to yellow is much more dramatic than some of the other color changes (yellow/orange).


Drive, Chip and Putt Golf Trainer (Little Tikes) There are two different”ts’ to hit the golf ball from…making this a little different from your average plastic golf set.  Our testers really enjoyed the sport of this game and the sturdy design made it a solid choice for the 2-4 crowd.

d431ae4ea2e0258e5b58795242af18f9 Monster Badminton Set (International Playthings)  This set will be ready next month but I had to show it to you now.  These over-sized rackets and birdies are just what our family needed. They are fun for little kids–but truth be told, if you’re not the most athletic person–this is a set for you!  You’d be hard pressed to miss this birdie!  It does not come with a net–our toy testers just liked playing with it alone.


Maxi Scooter (Kickboard USA) Maybe because I’m not the most coordinated person, I loved the idea of this scooter.  It comes with three wheels and a wider platform for added stability but still  looks cool.  As I hoped, our new scooter testers had no trouble with this scooter and really enjoyed it. It comes with two handles–a traditional T-handle and a joystick.  We recommend the traditional handle as a starting point. It’s designed for kids 6-10.  The company now also makes a Mini Kick Scooter (smaller in scale for younger kids 2-5)…also with three wheels.  Helmets are a must!

Razor Spark Scooter (Razor) The granddaddy of scooters just got a very neat feature. When you break, it sparks out the back. Our testers thought this was pretty cool–although if you’re the one doing the braking, it is hard to see the spark–but your friends will!

Outdoor Treats

Freeze Pop Factory (Little Kids)  According to the company, more than 7 billion freeze pops are sold each year (makes you think we should all go into the freeze pop business!) ….in any case, this do-it-yourself kit is really fun. Comes with those pop sleeves (which magically close up and don’t leak) and plastic molds for making bigger pops.  You can experiment with making your own family recipes and limit the amount of sugar your kids use. Every grown-up I’ve mentioned this kit  to has asked the same question, “Could you make grown up freeze pop for a party?” and then they say…don’t say that out loud….but it’s true. Just don’t get them mixed up. It comes with 36 sleeves for making the pops…and the good news is that you can also order more ($4.95 for 50 including shipping) from the company’s site or by calling (800) 545-5437.

Top Ten Green Toys

With Green Day hours away, we are certainly pleased with the trend in the toy industry to go green.  It seems like every week there are new organic doll collections, toys made of recycled materials, and toys/games that have an empowering (but not obnoxiously heavy-handed) green agenda.  More good news-the packaging also seems to be more friendly to the environment-with fewer toys trapped in a sea of plastic.

Here is our current list of top ten green favorites–happily the list keeps growing!

blabla dolls (blabla)

Earth Mates (Mary Meyer)

My Natural Collection (Hosung NY)

Organic Joobles (Fair Indigo)
Recycling Truck (Green Toys

Recycling Truck (Playmobil) ptru1-4866605reg1

Eco-Trucks (Sprig Toys)
Busy Bugs (Mudpuppy) fp_busy_bugs1
Green Dollhouse (Plan Toysimages-1
Elia Mini Chair ( eliaminichair11

Pick of the Day: Sprig Toys Eco-Trucks

51ildpwlsfl_sl500_aa280_Looking for a great lightweight truck to take to the sandbox–or just enjoy in your house?  Take a look at Sprig Toys new Eco-Trucks ($14.95).  We’ve been big fans of this truly green company that makes it toys from repurposed milk jugs and saw dust!  There are three trucks in the new in line:  a loader, a dump truck and an exacavator.  While we were concerned that some folks may find them too lightweight, our testers across the board thought the weight was a plus–making the toys easier for their kids to tote about.

Pre-Toy Fair Buzz: Sprig Toys New Eco-Trucks

eco-trucksexcavatorlrI’m often asked for good truck recommendations–so I’m eager to see this new line of  trucks from Sprig Toys.  Their products are made from repurposed plastic milk cartons and saw dust–so there is a very nice green component to this line.  We should have samples soon.   Each of the three trucks (Dump Truck, Excavator and Loader) retail for $14.99 – making them competitive with the big guys in this category.

Sprig Vehicles Deliver

One of the bright spots at toy fair this year was a new company called Sprig- started by a group of innovative toy industry veterans with a commitment to a green line.  The first rollout so to speak is a line of vehicles designed for the preschool crowd.  The smaller vehicles were a huge hit with our testers–they are chunky and easy to handle.  The vehicles are made of a composite of recycled milk jugs, bottles and reclaimed pine sawdust.  The faceless action figures have a very contemporary look to them. The coloration (they don’t add paint) is muted and looks related to the color palette of the Ugly Dolls collection. For more info visit and

Trends from Toyland: Sprig Toys

sprig_group-lores.jpgWe got to meet with the folks from Sprig Toys, a new company that is scheduled to launch a line of action vehicles for the 4 & up crowd.  The vehicles will be chunky and rugged–nothing ground breaking in that department–but what is a huge departure is the method and technology that they will use.  The trucks will be made from re-purposed plastic and wood.  Literally made of saw dust–the vehicles have a strong green component, but not one the company feels is the key to their company–just their way of doing business.  Cool.

The action figures will plug into the vehicles via a USB port built into the vehicles and from there the vehicles can suggest “adventures” for the child to participate in.  From our point of view the directed play mode is not that important since we strongly believe that kids can generate their own adventures. It was clear that the folks from Sprig think so too–and therefore you can turn off the directed play mode.
The lights and sounds are generated by the motion of the vehicle (not batteries).  Also clever. The “electronic base” in each vehicle can also be removed for repair and perhaps, most importantly for smart recycling.  Much like a toner cartridge, you can take this component out of the vehicle and not just send it to the landfill.  All good.

We look forward to testing the vehicles out with kids.  The company is producing the products in Canada–no paint, no phthalates, no lead….They’re off to a very good start.