Vroom, Woosh, Dig, Sizzle: 15 Best Affordable, Eco-Friendly Toys for the Holidays

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Earthy friendly toys are hot, which is no surprise considering they’re better for the environment, teach a life lesson, and are often sturdier than the chemical contender. We chatted with manufacturers and parents, scoured the Internet and searched through catalogs to bring you a few of our favorites for the holiday season and beyond.

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The Bug Balance Game

Ages 3+
$17.95

Roll the dice to see which colored spot your bug belongs in, then place it in the tree. Three different size wooden bugs teach kids about weight and space. The Bug Balance Game is made from recycled rubberwood and painted with eco-friendly vegetable based paint. And of course packaging is produced from recycled paper.

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Renewable Energy Science Kit

Ages 8+
$49.95

Let kids learn why wind is one of the most promising sources of clean renewable energy available today by building a working wind turbine and learning the physics behind it.Power harnessed will create energy for 20 experiments such as generating electricity to light an LED and charge a battery.Ӭ Renewable Energy Science Kit comes with 32-page experiment manual.

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Arctic Playset

Ages 3-6
$26.49

Even preschoolers are sure to have heard a whole lotta talk about the Arctic region during this year’s presidential election. Learn about what is native to Alaska with the wooden arctic exploration playset
which includes an 8″x5″ portable Velcro-closure igloo and 12 chunky wooden figures that average 3″-4″ in size. Handcrafted in Sri Lanka out of environmentally-friendly rubberwood.

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Modeling Beeswax Sheets

$24.90

A clean way to play and be creative, Stockmar Modeling Beeswax Sheets become pliable when warmed by hand or placed in warm water. It doesn’t smear or crumble, and colors won’t bleed. Set includes 15 slices of modeling beeswax in assorted colors. Can be used over and over again.

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Assorted Fruits & Vegetables

By Plan Toys
Ages 3+
$18.99

Whether your little one is part of the raw movement or prefers his food cooked, he can practice cutting apart the Velcro fruit and vegetables with the smooth wooden knife, then put them back together again. Eight pieces include an apple, pear, lemon, orange, banana, cucumber, mushroom and carrot. Made of chemical-free recycled rubberwood and finished with non-toxic water paint.

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Make your own eco-friendly toys!

Prices vary on Amazon from $1.24. to $30.

Get creative, recycle, and save some cash by making your own eco-friendly toys with George Pfiffner’s book Earth Friendly Toys – How to Make Fabulous Toys and Games from Reusable Objects. Use items such as toilet-paper tubes, egg cartons, magazine pages, and brown paper bags, to make 30 crafts, toys, and games like pinwheels, kaleidoscopes, masks and roller coasters. Each project is ranked by difficulty.

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Sprig Rigs

Ages 3+
Prices range from $21-$65 Sprig Toys, Inc. launched its first environmentally conscious line in fall 2008 and was quickly swooped up by vendors from the mammoth FAO Schwarz to small web shops like OH-Toy. The new Eco-Trucks are made with earth-friendly Sprigwood┞¢, a child-safe bio-composite of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic that has visible wood “flecks” and a pine scent. They run on hand-power to generate lights and sounds – all are battery-free.

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Keep the beat

Ages 3+
Dimensions: 13.8″x10.2″x13.3″
$49.75

This drum set, made primarily of rubberwood, has a large drum, a small drum, a cymbal, and a guiro – a traditional percussion instrument from Puerto Rico. While it comes with a set of drumsticks, kids can learn to use their hands for a softer sound. 

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Make your own natural candy kits

Gum, chocolate, gummies: $9.95, $10.95, $9.95

Make your own chewing gum with chicle, sap of the Sapodilla tree that grows in the rainforests of Central America. Everything you need is included in this kit. Make your own chocolate from cacao beans which were once found only in Central and South America. (Today cacao is an important part of agriculture in the tropics all around the world.) Make your own gummies out of seaweed.
Kids can learn how cultures such as Japanese and Chinese have always relied on sea vegetables.

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Wooden Pulley

$66.00
Ages 5+

This wooden pulley can attach to the ceiling, a tree, or a staircase rail for hours of imaginative play: a pirate pulling up her treasures; a mountain climber rescuing his pet; a contractor bringing up supplies to the top of a building…

Made of beech and maple wood, ecological adhesives and water-based lacquers.

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Earth-friendly tea set
$24.95

Reduce fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions with this tea set made from recycled milk jugs. The 17-piece set is free of BPA’s, Phthalates, and PVC.

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Paintable Puzzles

$13.95
Ages 6+ Color Me Up Wooden Puzzles are crafted of managed forest basswood and come with a water-based paint kit.

Indoor gardening kit
$29.95
Ages 5 and up

Kids can learn about reducing fossil fuel and Co2 emissions by growing their own plants. Kit includes 3 planting pots, soil, trowel and organic basil, sunflower and zinnia seeds.

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EarthOpoly

$24.98
Ages 8+

Monopoly will always be a classic. But let’s face it: it’s so 20th century. With talk of carbon credits and renewable energy, EathOpoly is a great way to teach kids about the environment and pickup some tips for yourself. Players buy properties, collect carbon credits and trade them for clean air. As they travel the board visiting each impressive land form, they will learn about the planet and pick up Go Green tips from each deed card. All the paper products in the game are recyclable, ink is vegetable oil-based, and game pieces are either made by nature or are completely recyclable. Green Power was purchased for the electricity used to manufacture the paper for the box (renewable energy in the form of wind, hydro, and biogas).

Forget paying the electric company – maybe by the end of the game everyone will be off the grid!

Main image: tillwe