Do you want to feel good that you’re doing your bit for the environment whilst watching your child have fun with some new eco friendly toys? This little guide to green toys for boys will save you the time of trawling the internet and give you a run down of both the eco toys and organic toys that are out there that may be of interest.

 

Why Green Toys?

I have to admit this is all new to me. Recycling my tins, bottles and paper has been the extent of my ‘eco friendly’ ways until now. I then stumbled across a Recycling Week Blog Carnival and was inspired by the exploits of a number of mummy bloggers who, amongst other things, were trying to reuse carrier bags, reduce food waste and recycle more clothes and packaging. I have written previously on ‘Unwanted Toys’ and what to do with them but decided to investigate what the market had to offer when buying green toys.

Cynically I figured they wouldn’t be up to much and that I’d never be able to find something suitable for my 8 year old son who laps up toy adverts as if his life depended on it. He wants all the latest TV or movie toys and I was never going to be able to find him a suitable non-bestselling recycled toy.

Photo by Doug88888.

What Are Green Toys?

I searched about and found that you can buy toys offering any of the following green traits – alternative energy, wind up, eco-friendly, fair trade, biodegradable, recycled, organic and my favourite word ‘ecotronic’ (which I think just means battery free where you would normally expect to be fitting batteries). What an amazing variety of descriptions that can be applied to toys. I’m more used to action figures, vehicles and the like.

What Eco Toys Would Be Of Interest To Boys?

I came across Ethical Superstore which has a selection of just over 50 eco toys. Narrowing their list down to something for my 8 year old son was tough. He does still like soft toy animals but they looked a bit like the home made stuff you might find at a jumble sale so I moved onto some of the ecotronic (there’s that word again) items.

My First Eco Radio, with a wind up mechanism, looked like a good starting place which, for £14.99, offered lots of ‘fun features including entertaining sounds’ but on closer inspection seemed more suited to a younger audience of 1 year plus.

Mr Robot Head is another no battery masterpiece modelled on the arcade style game of not touching the metal while moving the wand along the antenna. If you bother him he buzzes and flashes his eyes. While great for hand eye co-ordination I thought for £14.99 it would be an expensive five minute wonder for my 8 year old’s more imaginative mind.

Moving on to an Eco Mic. Now this was more promising. What boy doesn’t like to make a noise and, as long as there is no audience, sing and dance about. Its eco feature was once again the battery saving by being powered by winding it up. A possibility at £9.99.

Next up a Paper Making Kit. Coming in a bit more pricey at £18.95 it does come with a fair few bits and bobs – a frame, deckle and press, a booklet about the history of paper making (this probably wouldn’t get read by the boy) and full instructions. I find that boys are just as much into arts and crafts as girls so this could be another winner to keep them busy with a quiet activity over the holidays. It could also be used over and over again. The description promises it is easy to make your own paper from scrap paper, old letters, envelopes or newspapers. You just need to add petals, grass, onion skins (very odd!) or tea leaves. Being not suitable for children under 8 gave me confidence that I was in the right age group.

Getting to more outdoor activities the colourful Acrobatics Airglider seemed just up a little boys street. Again batteries could be banished as it just needs a rubber band to get it started. How well it flies after being pinged from a rubber band I would have to see. It does feature wings made of extra strong rip-stop fabric so should be strong enough to stand up to little boy bashing. It did seem a bit expensive at £19.95 but promises acrobatic manoeuvres and experiments to try to teach about practical aerodynamics. I guess education comes at a price!

What really caught my eye though was the selection of recycled toys made from cardboard by Paperpod. The range includes a recycled fort, teepee, plane and rocket. Given that every child enjoys playing with or hiding inside a cardboard box at some time or other, the realistic forms given to these sturdy cardboard boxes makes them so ingenious. They would be great props for many role play games and could be decorated with paints or pens during a quieter play time. They come flat packed so the first fun activity comes with building the toy but it can also be dismantled for easy storage. This will no doubt come in handy as the rocket measures in at over 5 feet tall. Although somewhat pricey starting at £16.95 the variety of activities that they offer has swung it for me and I’m off to order one.  Good job the little tike got a good school report. (Also available at Amazon.)

So I hope this gave you some ideas for how to give your children the toys that they desire without adding to the environmental problems. If you know of any other green toys for boys please leave me a comment.

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