A recent test of more than 1,200 American toys found that 35 percent contained lead. But there are plenty of super fun, healthy and eco-friendly gifts out there for all the tots on your list. Check out some of our favorites and get earth-friendly tips from The Center for a New American Dream, which educates about responsible consumerism.
•Tailor gifts to the child. Toys kids don’t need or want create clutter in the playroom and the landfill.
•Consider shelf life. Look for toys with lasting appeal and sturdy parts. Lincoln Logs or a chess set can last for decades.
•Buy secondhand. Used toys save money and can be as much fun as new ones, especially for children too young to know the difference.
•Shop for the planet. Wood toys with natural finishes are better than plastic. Poppywood Toys and Natural Play sell reclaimed-wood and naturally finished toys.
•Benefit others. Some companies support international artisans. Others donate a percentage of profits to charities. Check Global Exchange, SERRV International and Ten Thousand Villages.
Excerpted from Buying Green: The Joy of Green Toys, Enough! (Winter 2002/2003). For information about the Center for a New American Dream call (877) 683-7326.
More about eco-friendly toys:
to find a good listing of toxin-free toys on the market.
•These lead-free train sets are handmade in American out of reforested birch.
•Imagiplay Toys offers puzzles, playsets and more made of environmentally friendly, nontoxic and formaldehyde-free materials.
•Uncle Skunkle Toys has unique and fun family games made of sustainable wood.