Updated: Mar 24
5 Easy Eco-Swaps for Your Child’s Play Area
We all want to do our bit to be more eco-friendly, but in recent years, the children’s toys and gift market hasn’t made it easy for parents to shop sustainably.
Over the last couple of years, many companies have made promises to make their ranges more eco-friendly - and some have fulfilled these promises - but others, whether as a money-saving ploy, or in a struggle to move over to a more sustainable form of manufacturing, are yet to.
However, don’t despair, because I’ve dug around and found the best there is out there when it comes to making eco-swaps for your child’s play area. Ticking all those parent-pleasing boxes, the top 5 toys and gifts you’re about to see are all sustainably-made, fun and educational resources and they’re not going to cost you a small fortune.
First up, Viking Toys’ Ecoline Maxi Vehicles - £6.99
Okay, so – I'm a bit in love with Viking’s eco-friendly range “Ecoline” and I have to confess to my children owning a fair few trucks and boats between them! These gorgeously-made toys have the same tough and durable characteristics as previous Viking ranges, but are made in a completely toxin-free, oil-free and plant-based way because, would you believe it, they are made from sugar cane!
At £6.99 for the maxi vehicles, they’re a very similar price to their less eco-friendly cousins in the same market space, so I don’t see why you’d buy anything else!
Next on my list, Eco-Bricks Colour Plus (48 piece) £64.99
These toddler-suitable construction blocks are 100% biodegradable and made from FSC-certified wood; the colour pigment is also eco-friendly, as it’s made with a non-toxic, water-based tint.
The first of the two reasons I really love the concept of these building blocks is that they are completely compatible with the market-leading building block brand (wow, what a mouthful; you know the company I mean!!) - which means that you don’t have to start building a collection afresh, if you want to make an eco-swap, you can do so by continuing to use any plastic blocks you already have, but by opting for these wooden blocks when you need to buy more.
The second reason these blocks made my swap list is their capacity for creativity and customisation: because they’re wooden and because of the water-based tint used they are ripe for pimping up with felt-tip pens, paints and crayons: you and your small people could make actually brick-patterned bricks; you could write key phonics on the blocks and use them as a language-learning tool; you could cover the lot in painted-on snowflakes and build a certain Snow Queen’s moutain ice palace – it's totally up to you: and I love that.
Per brick, these do work out a wee bit pricier than the market leader’s option, but I think they’re worth every penny.
Next stop: the WonderWorld Fruit Basket £18.99
Not only is this sweet fruit basket set from WonderWorld beautifully painted and perfectly-sized for little hands, but it’s got some impressive eco-credentials to boast too.
WonderWorld toys are made from rubber-wood, an environmentally friendly, renewable resource, harvested from a plantation in Thailand.
Interestingly. once a rubber tree reaches 25 years of age, it no longer produces latex for commercial use (who knew, right?) and so is cut down in order for new trees to be planted. It’s at that point that WonderWorld harvests the felled tree and uses it to make beautiful toys. This means not only that there is no deforestation, but every part of the tree is used or recycled.
The WonderWorld fruit basket set works out cheaper than its plastic equivalent from a well-known early years toy shop, and will last longer too. Win-Win!
This next one is a total no-brainer. Ever since I watched Catkin Toys' IGTV video on residual mould in bath toys, I no longer buy water toys that have air holes in them and, as a result, I sleep soundly at night (well, at least until my 4 year comes running in at 5am...) knowing that my children aren’t playing with bath toys harbouring some sort of fungus. So, here’s why I love the Crocodile Bath Toy £10.99 from the My First Safari Collection by Tikiri.
Aside from looking incredibly cute, this 100% plastic-free crocodile baby rattle, teether and bath toy is made from natural rubber, is completely biodegradable and is handmade and hand painted in Sri Lanka. Best of all, it doesn’t have any little holes in it that water can get into, therefore it’s not going to be a breeding ground for mould. AND, even better than that, at 10.99, it’s also cheaper than the market-leading plastic bath toy brand! Hooray!
And last but by no means least, it’s the Tickit Percussion Musical Instrument Set £31.99
This gorgeous set includes ten traditional percussion instruments in a really lovely natural wood finish. The wood itself comes from ethically and sustainably-managed forests and plantations and each instrument is the perfect size for small hands, making this set the perfect addition to the play area and for all pint-sized people with rhythm!
When it comes to value for money, compared to its plastic counterpart available from the same early years toy store I mentioned when talking about the fruit basket, the Tickit set (containing maracas, castanets, a tambourine, a triangle, claves, a rhythm-clapper, a guiro, finger cymbals, a wooden shaker pot and a jingle-bell stick), gives you four more musical instruments than the plastic option, and works out at just under £5 cheaper too.
And there you have it – those are my 5 Eco-Swaps for Your Child’s Play Area! Why not leave us a comment and let us know your favourite eco-swap!
Shopping sustainably for your children doesn’t have to be hard and, hopefully, you’ll find some of the brands, companies and products I’ve showcased here a helpful insight in to the eco-friendly options that are out there. Don’t forget, you can grab 10% off everything in store using this link.
Until next week!