Natural, Wood and Organic Toy Companies
My husband and I really didn’t want a bunch of plastic toys littered all over our house. It was one thing that we both felt strongly about when I was pregnant. Then I started doing more research about toys and felt even stronger about our no plastic toys rule.
Plastic toys can have BPA, phthalates, and lead in them. There are studies showing that plastic, even if it is BPA free, still leaches harmful chemicals. After our son was born we made a second rule about toys – they can’t be from China. There have been too many toys that have been found to have high levels of lead that have come from China. Even my pediatrician, unprompted by me, told me not to buy toys from China because of the potential for lead.
My son, like I’m sure every other baby in the world, LOVES to put things in his mouth. Lead isn’t good in any amount (nor is BPA or phthalates). So no plastic and no toys from China for us. This does come with its challenges at times.
Sometimes manufacturers are really sneaky about saying the company is from Germany (for example) then in really small print somewhere else on the box it says made in China. As my son gets older I see that this is going to be more challenging but I love a challenge! I’m happy to say still to this day, he has no toys from China and no plastic.
Wood toys may be a bit more expensive than some plastic toys. We don’t buy a ton of toys. We have a good stash going but I feel we probably have less than other people. I would rather spend my money on quality toys. Quality over quantity! Also, don’t under-estimate the hours of entertainment a wood spoon and some measuring cups can provide.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Why Wood Toys?
The safest of all toys is unfinished wood. There are several toy companies that will finish toys in beeswax and an organic oil (like jojoba). This is a great option too. If you want to purchase some beeswax and organic jojoba oil for your toys (or other wood products like your furniture) this Three Beeauitful Bees All-Natural Beeswax Polish is great (note that this is the only one of their polishes that is made with organic oils – see below for more information).
Three Beeauitful Bees All-Natural Beeswax Polish
They have 3 different types of polish but only the All-Natural is made with organic oil! The others are made with mineral oil (which is petroleum-based). Just a note, if a toy is finished with food-grade mineral oil that means it is a petroleum-based oil. You can decide if you want petroleum rubbed on your kid’s toys. I personally don’t. I also find it disturbing that food-grade oil is made from petroleum.
For wood that is painted, I always look for non-toxic water-based paints or, preferably, vegetable-dyed wood. I also really like to support local companies so if there is a choice I will buy something made in the USA first before other countries.
Below is a list of companies that I like, companies I think are ok, and companies that look like they might be good but I don’t like. I just took some of the most popular wood/eco-friendly/organic toy brands out there otherwise this list could go on forever!
Wood Toy Companies I like:
I really like Plan Toys. They make all of their toys in a sustainable factory in Thailand. In my opinion, they are the best non-toxic commercially produced toy maker out there (hello, easy gifts for the person in your child’s life that doesn’t totally get the non-toxic toy thing!).
They are starting to make composite toys with their leftover sawdust. I don’t love this (they use a non-toxic, formaldehyde glue) because it definitely loses the wood feel. However, from an environmental standpoint, I totally understand it – they are aiming to be zero waste (which is great!).
You can easily tell which is composite and which is wood just by looking at the toy (you can even tell when looking online – it looks fake for lack of a better word). I don’t buy the composite toys often. I totally support the zero-waste concept that the company is going for, and it for sure is cheaper for them to make toys out of the leftover sawdust than buying wood, but I still prefer wood. We have quite a few toys from them.
Some of our favorite Plan Toys toys are:
Some of our favorites toys for a younger child are: the Happy Engine pull toy, the Dancing Alligator pull toy (my son still plays with this at almost 5 – a solid 4 years worth of playing time), the Punch and Drop, the Baby Car, the Oval Xylophone, the Roller, the Mini Recycling Truck, and the Drum. Also, their customer service is great. I needed a replacement drum mallet (because our dog ate ours) and they responded quickly and got one out to us for a small replacement fee.
For the older child, we love: the Plan Toys City Parking Garage, the Plan Toys trains and Roundhouse (we also have the tracks from when they were solid wood which they no longer make), and the Road Construction set.
For games, both my 18-month-old and my 4-year-old have a lot of fun with the Balancing Cactus!
Here is a statement from the Plan Toys website on where the toys are made and the quality: Q: Where are your toys made? A: Our toy factories are located in the city of Trang, which is located in the southern region of Thailand. The area is rich with rubberwood which we have successfully recycled for manufacturing toys. Our toys are produced entirely within our own facility, so we have complete control over every aspect of the manufacturing process. The wood we use is non-chemically treated; we use non-toxic, water-based dyes and non-toxic glue. Our facilities and our toys reflect our respect for the environment and our commitment to designing unique natural playthings for children. Q: How can I be sure that PlanToys® quality and safety is superior to other brands? A: You can always feel confident with PlanToys® because our wood is non-chemically treated and we use water-based colors that are safe for children of all ages. Our research teams have developed non-formaldehyde glue, which is non-toxic and totally free from unhealthy formaldehyde emissions.
Palumba / Camden Rose
I LOVE them! – I am pretty sure they are my favorite toy company. Everything they make is beautiful! They use high-quality wood like cherry, maple, and walnut. They are made in the US (wood toys) or in Peru (soft toys) where they support two fair trade, non-profit organizations. You can read more about their mission on the Camden Rose website. Really, their toys are beautifully made. Each toy I have from them always gets compliments. You do need to ask which finish they use on their toys (the organic oil or the mineral oil) if you are concerned. Sometimes they can leave something unfinished or finish it in the All-Natural oil I linked above.
We have this hardwood stacker (my son loves this toys), the zoom car, wood eggs, and wood milk and cups.
We splurged for my son’s first birthday and bought this wood toy kitchen. Yes, the kitchen is expensive and thankfully we had gift certificates to Amazon but even if we didn’t it’s worth it. It’s so nice to look at and made really well. We have it in our living room and I wanted something that I didn’t mind looking at every day. My son absolutely loves it and plays with it every single day. This wooden kitchen is one of our single highest played with toys for both of my chilren over the past 6 years. I looked at a lot of kitchens and this was the best option in my opinion. We also have these bookshelves, table and storage crates which is our craft table, and this amazing wood playstand.
Next up on my purchase list from Camden Rose is to get the matching fridge. We have slowly amassed quite a few things from Camden Rose. I can’t get enough of the quality and beauty.
Camden Rose uses a beeswax and food-grade mineral oil (petroleum) polish on all of their furniture and toys. They use their All-Natural beeswax and organic jojoba oil polish, listed above, on all of their spoons, forks, bowls, plates, etc. I called them about this and talked to the owner in length. She told me the amount of food-grade mineral oil in the polish is a small amount compared to the beeswax. She also told me that it is non-toxic. From the quick research I did, I found the same to be true. There was a study done on rats and after 2 years of exposure to food-grade mineral oil, there was no difference in the rats. Camden Rose will ship any toy or piece of furniture you would like unfinished if they are making some at that point. I have started ordering unfinished and finishing it myself. I can not stress enough about the quality of their toys and how beautiful they are. We get compliments on all of his Camden Rose toys. I have also talked in length with the owner about either finishing it with the organic oil or leaving more unfinished. She uses the mineral oil because it’s the one oil that people with allergies can use safely. If I can’t get an unfinished item I’ve come to terms with finishing it again with an organic oil on top of what they have used.
How amazing is this set up with the Playstand and Kitchen? It’s even more amazing in person and it is our most played with furniture. It’s great to play in and around plus it stores all the toys when we are done playing and clean up.
Maple Landmark Toys
They make wooden toys in the USA. They have a huge selection that can be found on their website. I first bought this wooden teether from them and since have bought a few more things. They have some great unfinished cars, buses, and trucks. I only buy unfinished toys from them as I don’t love what they use to finish their toys with. I have several things on my want list too!
They also make unfinished train tracks. Now that Plan Toys doesn’t have solid wood train tracks this is the place I would look to buy from.
Under the Nile (organic, soft toys)
Under the Nile has organic, GOTS certified, soft, plush toys. It’s very hard to find organic, GOTS certified plush toys and dolls and Under the Nile has a great selection.
We have so many of their toys now. Their dolls (Jack & Jill) are a great alternative to the toxic (PVC, vinyl) plastic dolls that are out there.
I really love the veggie toys they have. My son loves chewing on the carrot! We also have the dog, the giraffe, and the sleeping doll lovie.
I love that they are all non-toxic and GOTS certified to be free from harmful chemicals. GOTs is the highest certification you can get on orgnaic textiles. They make all their plush toys with leftover fabric from their clothes. Under the Nile is one of my favorite non-toxic clothing and toys stores. It’s hard to find GOTS certified (on the final product) plush toys! I don’t have to worry about any toxic chemicals when my kids are snuggling up with these toys. You really can’t go wrong with any of their toys of clothes!
Elves and Angels
They make beautiful wooden toys, playstands, kitchens, house plan, doll furniture, and more. All made in the USA.
They are finished with linseed oil. They use the brand ried and True. I talked to them a lot before buying from them. I also talked with Tried and True. Some linseed oil can contain heavy metals to speed up the drying process so you need to be aware of what a company is using. Tried and True does not (I also tested one of our toys for lead and there was no lead).
For linseed oil for toys, I would only trust this brand (or other companies that use Tried and True). However, I still prefer organic oils. If I am able to buy unfinished from Elves and Angels I will.
They use pine for their toys. Pine is a lighter, softer wood than cherry or walnut. It could dent up a bit more but I have never noticed on the items we have from them. They have some similar items to Camden Rose – the main difference is the wood and finish. You can check out their beautiful toys here.
Grimms Wooden Toys
Grimm is made in Germany. They use a water based vegetable dye on their wood. They have an unlimited amount of opened ended toys which I love. Their toys aren’t cheap but I am fixated with them. I really want this rainbow stacker but just haven’t wanted to pay the $40 for it yet. The bigger size has even more versatility with it. You can use these for stacking, bridges, car ramps, balancing, or anything you can think of!
We just were in a toy store and my son was obsessed with a bus that they make. For some reason I thought the price was around $20 so I asked my husband to buy it. When we got home I saw the price tag and it was more than I thought it was! Oh well, my son loves his buses and he carries this bus around with him everywhere now. I’m not sure if there isn’t anything that Grimm’s makes that I wouldn’t love to have. Their toys make my heart happy.
Figurines and animals made in Germany. These are beautifully made with safe, non-toxic wood coloring. We have some of the farm animals and we love them. These are a great alternative to the plastic animals and figurines that are sold today.
North Star Toys
I purchased North Star’s busy boat for my son’s bath time. He LOVES it. It is now just a regular toy around the house. He loves the little people in the boat too. I did choose to have them make it unfinished which means that it can’t stay sitting in water for hours on end. I just let it air dry on the side of the tub when we are done with bath time. They use a food grade mineral oil on all of their toys.
Maine Toys has a great selection of unfinished wooden toys. We have a few of their toys including the fire truck and the airplane (it’s a huge hit)! I like the simplicity and quality of these toys – they are made so well! We also have the ride on toy and it has been well loved and played with hard by two boys for several years and is still going strong!
Favorite Wood Toys on Etsy:
Little Sapling Toys
I really love Little Sapling Toys. Isn’t this wooden engraved camera the cutest!? It’s even cuter when your child holds up this camera to take your picture 🙂 They finish their toys with beeswax and an organic jojoba oil. Check out their shop to find a lot of great teethers, rattles, blocks and toys.
Little Wooden Wonders
My newest find! I was on a mission to find a wooden push lawnmower toy for my son that had a non-toxic finish (I found several wooden push lawnmowers from other companies which used a petroleum based finish). I found exactly what I was looking for at Little Wooden Wonders! They use beeswax and an organic jojoba oil to finish their toys. Check out their selection of wooden push toys, teethers, puzzles, and other toys on Etsy.. The push lawnmower is beautiful my son loves to play with it.
Smiling Tree Toys
I’ve ordered several things from Smiling Tree Toys and I am always happy. They use a homegrown organic camelina oil/beeswax finish on all of their toys. You can find all of their toys, teethers, step stools, and ornaments in their Etsy shop. . This old school truck is still a favorite around our house!
We love the puzzles from Manzanita kids. They use an organic jojoba oil/beeswax finish on all of their toys. They have a great selection of adorable rattles, blocks and ornaments.
I haven’t purchased from Bannor Toys but they use an organic finish and they have some cute stuff (I would buy the natural, polished toys not the painted ones personally but it sounds like they use a non-toxic paint).
Things to consider when buying wood toys on Etsy:
There are quite a few people making organic wooden toys on Easy. Here are some things you will want to find out or ask before buying (I have found out this information for you on the companies listed above!):
- What type of wood they use (baltic birch is plywood – make sure any plywood used is formaldehyde free).
- Find out if they use any glues. If they do you want to make sure it is formaldhye free. If they use Elmer’s or Titebond (which most woodworker do) then it is formaldhyde free!
- I don’t buy painted toys from Etsy but if you do you would want to find out what type of paints are being used and if they are child safe. I would also make sure they are no VOC paints.
- Finally, if you are buying toys that would be mouthed by babies or kids stick to safe woods! Maple is what I generally choose for teethers, cherry is also a safe wood. I avoid walnut for children who put toys in their mouths. Always avoid cedar for toys.
The Best Websites for Natural, Wooden and Organic Toys:
I buy a lot of toys from Amazon, Etsy, and a local toy shop but there are a few websites that have become my go-to sites.
- I really love Palumba (they own Camden Rose) which I rave about above!
- Bella Luna Toys has an amazing selection of natural and organic toys. If you are looking for Waldorf supplies this is also a great resource.
- Nest.ca is another one of my favorite online stores. They are based out of Canada but shipping is fast to the USA. I often find things at Nest.ca that I don’t see at other online natural, wood toys store companies.
- Nova Naturals has a great selection of natural, organic and wood toys. Read all descriptions carefully, pay attention to brands and where they are made.
- Little Spruce Organics is one of my favorite stores for natural toys and clothing. Make sure to read their return policy before ordering.
Even though these websites make my non-toxic toy list, I still always make sure I know information about the toys companies I’m ordering from. Just because they are on a non-toxic toys website doesn’t mean they are up to my standards!
Until I know and trust a toy brand, I always ask questions about the toys. I ask what type of wood is used and if any plywood (if so if it is formaldehyde free – I generally steer clear of plywood on most toys) and what type of glue is used and if it is formaldehyde free. If a toy is painted, I ask if it is lead free (it should be but lead is still used for boat paint and I’ve seen marine grade paint and varinsh being used on children’s products from natural toy companies!!) and if they use zero voc paint. I mostly stick to unfinished wood toys with the exception of Grimms & Plan Toys.
If there is a toy company you love that isn’t on this list please share it with me!
Wood Toy Companies that I think are ok:
Haba is a German company that has toys made in different parts of the world. A lot of the toys are made in China but they do have some that aren’t. So read the box if you are concerned about buying toys in China. Here is a statement from Haba on their quality and where their toys are made.
Some of their toys have not rank very well for toxicity on Healthy Stuff over the years. Recently, in the past few years, they have really cleaned up their toys and I now feel comfortable buying Haba made in Germany toys (in fact we own several of their toys!).
We really love our marble run from Haba! It’s also great to keep getting various add-on extensions for the marble run as gifts for them throughout the year. Easy gift ideas for the grandparents.
Holztiger is similar to Ostheimer above, animals and figurines made in Germany. I prefer Ostheimer. Holztiger uses more of a paint or thicker coloring where as Ostheimer looks more like a wood stain. Ostheimer is more expensive compared to Holztiger but they feel more solid and better made.
Wooden toys made in Thailand. I’ve done very little research on this company but seem to be made of similar materials as Plan Toys. Since I’m comfortable with Plan Toys and there isn’t any third part testing I’ve seen with Wonderwold I’m not purchasing them. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do more research on them. See below about toys made of Rubberwood.
Wood Toy Companies that I don’t love (and won’t buy):
Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug seems to be the most popular wooden toy company. They are made in China and for that reason, they are on my do-not-buy list. They had a lead paint scare multiple years ago. The results on Healthy Stuff are mixed as well.
I do buy some of their craft supplies on occasion when we are traveling. The ColorBlast and WaterWow (reusable color with water) are great for ease of use and keeping my kids occupied when we are on a long car trip or an airplane ride.
Wooden toys made in China. I’ve seen some of their reports with toxins that I’m not fully comfortable with.
Dandelion claims to be organic but aren’t all organic. They use corn as a filling and I am not a fan of supporting Genetically Modified corn. I am making an assumption that they aren’t using organic, non GMO corn here (based on the fact that 86% of our corn supply is GMO corn). According to their website they are also made in Asia (probably China) but they do state they have a new Florida warehouse. Just read your labels if you purchase from them. Made with organic cotton is not the same as 100% organic cotton.
MiYim used to be all organic and use organic cotton filling in their plush toys. They have started using a poly fill on some of their toys. I would just read the labels before purchasing. I prefer an organic fill in the plush toys especially with a baby that is going to suck on toys. Without doing a ton of research on this it looks to me like they were possibly bought out. I don’t buy their toys anymore so I’m not doing any research on this. Just read your labels on these toys before buying since they seem to be making some changes (not positive ones).
Wood Toys made of Rubberwood – Safety Concerns:
There are concerns around rubberwood and additives, Plan Toys specifcally tests for additives. I actually sent Plan Toys wood to a lab to test as well (it’s a VERY expensive test) and they are free of additives. I was able to confirm what they were telling me was true.
I trust Plan Toys and their rubberwood. I would trust other rubberwood companies only after I fully researched their quality control. I do know there are quality control issues with rubberwood in general. Plan Toys has enough of what I need so I have never explored other rubberwood companies but I have rubberwood on my “to be cautious about” list.
Concerns about Buying Toys Made in China:
Quality control in China can be concerning. When you are looking to buy toys you want to make sure the quality is top notch. There are many incidenses of toys, shoes, dress up clothes, and baby bottles(!!) that are made in China and contain LEAD. Lead is a neurotoxin and can permanetly brain damage your child. Besides lead, toxins are used in manufacturing often in China. Things that are no longer allowed to be used in the USA can still be used in China. I choose to avoid toys made in China for these reasons.
I hope in this list you find some quality toys for your children and loved ones that can be cherished for many years to come!
Pin it for later!
Cassidy Miller (@CassidyBMiller) says
Thank you so much for posting all this information and the research you’ve done!! I’ve just read all your entries and they’ve been so helpful! I’m going to be a first-time mom in September so I need all the help I can get, and avoiding toxins in my home is so important to me 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad it was helpful. Congrats on the baby on the way!
Jaala R says
Hi there 🙂
I have a 15 month old, and am currently 6 months pregnant with the next, and I am trying to slowly phase out every last plastic toy that my son owns. And I have a few questions about your list, if you don’t know the answers, that’s fine I can get ahold of them, I was just hoping for a quick answer because I contacted Melissa and Doug and it took them an entire week to get back with me, lol. Anyway, ;
1) What kind of “Water-based colors” does PlanToys use? Is it latex or arcrylic? Because I really only want milk paint, Anna Sova food paints, and food dyes. And I really don’t want any sealer other than food grade oil (Like olive oil, etc. not anything petroleum based) or beeswax.
2) What kind of sealer does Camden Rose use? I see that they have a beeswax polish available, but I see that it is blended with “Food grade oils” , is that petroleum? I also don’t want that for my children…
3) Do you know of any other companies that make organic plush toys? And, what is in regular plushie toys that makes them bad? (I don’t mean to come off rude saying that, I’m genuinely curious because my son is OBSESSED with his Pillow Pet, if it’s nothing horribly bad I might just let him keep that one….)
4) Is there a website for Grimm’s? And what kind of “water-based paint” do they use, and how do you know which use vegetable dyes and which are using the paints?
5) I see that you just listed big companies — do you know of any other makers? My son has an outrageous amount of toys and I don’t really want to just stick him with 10 or 12 toys and tell him he’s good, ya know. I want him to have a lot just like he did before, so he’s not really trading down 😉
6) Also ; do you know of any harm of board books? Or do you have any literature on the health dangers of things they put into board books? My son loves to chew on them..
Thankyou SOOO much in advance!!! <3
Hi! Our babies are almost exactly the same age – mine just turned 16 months a couple of days ago. That’s great you are phasing out plastic toys! I will say finding truly non-toxic toys is more of a challenge. Here is what I know, hope it is somewhat helpful 🙂
1) I don’t know what type of water-based colors it is. I do know that they make the colors themselves. They told me it was organic but I don’t really know if it is really organic or not – sometimes people interchange organic, natural, non-toxic, etc.. They do own their own forest of rubberwood trees so that they can have full control over the wood. They are big into using non toxic chemicals. These things show me that they really care about making sure their toys are non-toxic. When I was starting to research toys I looked up a lot of blogs and this is the 1 toy company that kept coming up. People that are into natural toys were buying them and that made me feel more comfortable. If you want more info from the company their customer service is really amazing. You call and someone answers the phone! If you find out anything additional or different from what I was told please let me know.
2) Ugh, boo hoo. I love Camden Rose (and still love them) but didn’t found out what mineral oil was after I initially wrote this post. My most recent purchase from them was a spoon, fork, and knife set and it used the All-Natural polish that is beeswax and organic jojoba oil. I also have some of this polish at home. After reading your comment I went back and looked and see the food grade oil. I called them and they use the All-Natural polish on all of their forks, spoons, plates, etc. They use the food grade polish on their furniture and toys. The girl who answered didn’t know if the food grade oil was petroleum based or not. I had her give me the name of the oil they used and she also gave me their phone number. I gave them a call. It is petroleum based. They said it is highly refined and the purest oil you can get (I’m assuming they mean the purest oil from petroleum). They said refining removes everything bad from it. They said it is odorless and tasteless and it’s the same oil you get if you buy baby oil (except a scent is added to baby oil). I called Camden Rose back and let her know it was petroleum based and asked if I wanted a toy done in the All-Natural polish if they would do that and she said yes. So, if you don’t want petroleum based oil then order directly from them and ask them to use the All-Natural polish. Their stuff is seriously so well made and beautiful I would still highly recommend them.
3) So about plush toys, I’ve read that some plush toys contain fire retardants and possibly things like lead. I would reach out to pillow pet and ask them if they use fire retardants. Not all are bad but it’s worth being cautious about. I found some organic plush toys on Etsy as well as another site. I’ll update my blog with a couple of places to look for plush toys.
4) Grimms website is http://www.grimms.eu/index.php/en/. They are based in Germany. Europe has way more stringent regulations that we do in the USA. I actually emailed them because I’ve been wondering the same thing about which are vegetable dyed and which are water based. Their website says they use water based but I’ve seen multiple other places, including the description on Amazon, that they are vegetable dyed. I also asked them what their natural oil is that they use. I’ll let you know what I hear!
5) So there is definitely a lot less options when you go to wood. Apparently, even less if you don’t want to use food grade mineral oil. Maybe I’ll do more research on this. Maybe it’s so refined that there is really nothing left. Etsy is a great resource and there are several toy shops making similar things on there. I have a couple of other sites that I have purchased a toy or two from – I’ll update too. We definitely have more than 10-15 toys but we don’t have a huge room full. When I was trying to find that push lawnmower for my son it took me HOURS to find what I was looking for. It’s crazy that it is so hard. I think that between Play Toys, the natural/unfinished toys at Maple Landmark, Camden Rose, and Etsy you will find that you have quite a few toys. All of those brands will be so much better for the health and your son. It’s funny when we have play dates at our house I’ve found that the other babies / toddlers all gravitate towards the simple toys, like unfinished blocks.
6) Board books, yes, I have a love / hate relationship with them. I’ve read that they aren’t ideal. Some may have formaldehyde since it’s pressed paper which is glued together essentially. My son loves his books and he loves to eat them too. He’s not eating them as much as he use to which makes me feel better. Whenever he eats them I just tell him that books are for reading, not eating and hand him something else to chew on. However, we have books where the entire spine is missing! I have a mix of regular books and board books too. We have a small children’s book store near my house and they are aware of toxic toys and books. Their thought is go with a smaller publisher who has more control over how things are made versus a big publisher. I don’t know how true this but I mostly have small publisher board books. I was able to find 1 wood book but when I went back to the site I found it on it was no longer available. Also, on Etsy this woman makes organic cloth books – http://www.etsy.com/shop/exlibrishandmade?section_id=5489584. We have the transportation one and my son really loves it.
Hope this helps. Also, not sure what you were emailing Melissa & Doug about, but I really, really don’t love them. If you look up their toys on healthystuff.org multiple toys have high levels of lead (which haven’t made the news) and they have at least 1 lead scare in the years past (that did make the news). A friend recently posted a picture an alphabet letter puzzle from Melissa & Doug on Facebook and alphabet was misspelled. That to me just shows their lack of quality control!
I’m working on a post about shoes that I think you’ll like. It’s one of the most toxic things we put on kids – who knew!
Jaala R says
Hey there again 😉
Oh wow, that’s crazy! 😀 Mine was born March 14, Albert einstein’s birthday, LOL
Actually, I was contacting Melissa & Doug because I wanted to know what kind of paint and sealants they used…And she didn’t come right out and TELL me that they used Acrylic, but she told me straight up “If you don’t want Acrylic, you’ll have to go with Vegetable Dyes, and that’s really, really hard to find unless you have somebody make it for you” So to me, that tells me they use acrylic..Which isn’t something that my son will have. Ever again. Lol.
1) If their number is in English, which I’m assuming it is if you talked to them, lol, I’ll probably give them a call and ask. I’ve never seen any mass producer use anything but Acrylic, Latex or Food Dyes, so I’ll let you know what I find…If anything different lol
2) Does Camden Rose charge more for a “Special Order” and about how much more? I’m not the richest gal on the block (I live in Rural Arkansas if that tells you anything, LOL) so I might venture to see if some of my in-laws will make him some toys and I’ll just finish them myself, lol. It should be cheaper, hopefully.
3) Oh god that’s horrible. I, just yesterday, found the Mindful Home blogspot, who has a list of everything without fire retardants (Yay!), oh my lord, I think you’d love her list if you haven’t seen it already (I came across it trying to find a baby swing after seeing your post on your baby registry wishlists, http://themindfulhome.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-complete-guide-to-non-toxic-eco.html#bedding <— that lol) . But, Yeah, I'll get ahold of them today when my kid finally goes down for a nap lol.
5) My son has…a lot of toys lol. Not an entire room, but..a lot lol. He doesn't play with them all, though, I only had one laundry basket full of toys when we were living at our other house and he was perfectly content with just that, lol. And he has a big toddler fourwheeler, and some ride on toys….I'd LOVE if I could find some alterntives to those, because he's obsessed with them.
6) That's horrific, almost as horrific as when I finally found out that Johnson & Johnson uses Formaldehyde in every last one of their products… I will definitely be trying to find some alternatives, I'll let you know what companies I find. I refuse to give Isiah (My son) any books that aren't board books though, he will eat them. He will just tear the pages out and stuff it in his mouth and chew it up and swallow it…which I know isn't good either LOL.
Also, I found healthystuff.org to research baby things,
but also ewg.org/skindeep , I looked up my baby wipes there and was APALLED, they have everything there as well 😉
Thankyou again so very very much!! <3
Hi! So I talked to the owner of Camden Rose today about the food grade mineral oil. She said that they can only send out unfinished toys (not use a different polish because of where and how things are packaged). There is no extra cost but it might take a few weeks longer to get. She did tell me that she uses very little food grade mineral oil in that particilar polish and that it is mostly beeswax. She is dedicated to making quality, non-toxic toys. I can not say enough how beautiful their toys are and how high of quality it is. I did some quick searches on toxicity of food grade mineral oil and came across several studies that were done on rats and after 2 years there were no side affects. It’s still a petroleum product, which is a natural product when you think about it. With that all being said I’ll probably start ordering unfinished toys from them and then finishing it myself with the All-Natural oil. She said it was too cost prohibitive to finish all the toys (especially big items) with the organic polish.
I’ll check out that blog you linked – thanks! Yes, healthystuff is great! I believe I linked them already in this post on toys. I love Skin Deep too. I have so much info that I want to blog about but I also want to spend time with my toddler so I do what I can when I have a few moments.
For bath products, I highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby or Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild soap. Honestly, I don’t use soap each time I give my son a bath. He doesn’t get that dirty and soap is really drying. When I do use soap those are the only two I will ever use.
For baby wipes, I use cloth. I use to make a solution and now I just use water. It works just as good, if not better, than baby wipes. I have enough wipes and just throw them in the wash with the diapers every few days. It’s super easy. When we are out and about I do the same thing. Then you don’t have to worry about all the junk that is in baby wipes!
I haven’t been able to find any ride on toys that I love. That is one thing I really need to figure out. Plan toys does make a trike for older toddlers. If you are getting him new wooden toys he will probably be excited by the new toys and won’t remember that he doesn’t have as many. Especially if you are phasing them out slowly. Having family make toys is a GREAT idea! My dad has made us several things. That is also why I really, really love Etsy. They use organic oils and it’s homemade. Another great option is looking on craigslist or Etsy for wooden toys by brand you like.
Books is a hard one. I still have the board books, mostly from small publishers, and other non-board books. My son loves books and I really love that. I want him to grow up loving to read so I keep what we have. Luckily, he loves the organic cloth one and we have that one in the living room so he plays with that a lot.
Oh, Play Toys is based in the US. They just have their manufacturing plant in Thailand because they use rubberwood and that is where is grows. They really do have great customer service so hopefully they can answer that question for you.
I was thinking about you and the books, and just your toys in general, and wanted to share a couple of things that helped me when I was at your point. I also wanted only the best for my son. When I was researching toys and trying to figure out what toys to buy I came across a comment on a blog post that basically said “I was sitting on my couch with my baby in my arms research non-toxic toys only to later realize that my couch was very toxic”. So the reason I say this is that I think changing out the toys is a great idea especially since everything goes into their mouths. You will have to make a decision about what you think is best as far as board books goes. There is formaldehyde in so many things! Like children’s clothing (which is horrible), picture frames that aren’t 100% wood (pretty much everything that isn’t 100% wood), glue, etc.. I made our couch non-toxic by having it re-done because I felt the amount of flame retardants in my couch was more scary to me than a lot of other baby items we had. Next up for me was our bedroom. Babies spend so much time sleeping and mattresses are loaded with flame retardants. Also, PJs is another big one. PJs that are age 9 months to 14 years old are treated with flame retardants UNLESS there is a yellow tag hanging off the PJs when you buy them that say that they must be worn snug fitting as they are not flame resistant. Some will also say this on the inside of the PJs if you are buying second hand. I now know which brands treat with flame retardants and which don’t and will only buy from those that don’t. I just wanted to share those things with you because I think PJs and where babies sleep is so important since they spend so much of their time in their bed. Once I realized these things for whatever reason it was easier for me to prioritize what I wanted to change in my house and in what order. Once I made those decisions I was then was able to clarify what was important to me in toys. Ideally, as I mentioned in my blog post, unfinished wood toys are the safest. I also wanted a little bit of color so I have a couple of companies that I buy painted or dyed wood from (Plan Toys and Grimm). Anyways, I hope this helps. I was just thinking about you and your situation and realizing how overwhelmed I was when I was at your point. The positive is that once you decide where you buy your toys it will become much easier – that is until that company doesn’t make something you want 🙂
Jaala R says
Thankyou so much for all your help <3
And yes, I'm superbly overwhelmed right now lol. I just found out what my baby is (It's a girl! 🙂 ) and my son had a seizure a few days ago… So everything is really making me health conscious as of lately. I'm just trying to take things one step at a time, things would be a LOT easier if we were in our own house, it's scary to think of what is in the 30 year old couches that my mom has, the off brand cheetos that Pawpaw feeds my son…everything like that. I really hope we can get into our own house soon so I can start ridding ourselves of our household toxic things.
Now, I have some questions as to what you would do if you were in my situation;
I can't afford to get two non-toxic mattresses for my babies, it's just not anywhere in our budget (My husband's job is expected to last a month longer, at best) , so I saw this ; http://www.etsy.com/listing/104505198/pure-wool-filled-organic-crib-toppernap?utm_source=google&utm_medium=product_listing_promoted&utm_campaign=children_mid&itemrowid=14892859¶m=2 and was thinking about that on top of the bed instead? What do you think?
Also, on the subject of car seats. I have 3 Graco Snugride for the new baby, which I can't give up, they fit in my strollers and I use a stroller ALL the time (Also graco…we'll get to that in a minute lol) ; I can't afford the covers that you listed, what else can I do? Just get a few organic blankets and cut them to fit in the car seat? Better than nothing?
Strollers ; same thing, double strollers are outrageously expensive and hard to find (I got mine secondhand for $20/ea lol) what can I do to cover the insides/everything pretty much?
Bouncer ; I can't afford a Baby Bjorn, and I can't find any reasonably priced used, either. I have a Fisher Price Rocker and…one that I can't remember the brand of. Do they make replacement bouncer covers? I can't find them, if they do (They both come off easily to wash…) , otherwise I'll just cover them with organic blankets…
Thankyou again for all your help <3
That’s exciting you are having a girl! That mattress cover on Etsy is cool! I am going to save that shop as a favorite. They say it is a nap mat, I would maybe email them and see if they think it is cushy enough to use at night. If you don’t want to do that, then I think it would be definitely better to have your son sleep on top of that. Flame retardants can still get into the air and dust so I would just damp mop the room or vacuum regularly. Also, Holy Lamb Organics has a seconds list. I would maybe call them and see if anything is reasonably priced that is a second. I’m not sure how much cheaper that list is.
For the car seat, just limit her time in it. Don’t let her take 4 hour naps in it. If you just use it for car use you will be fine. I personally wouldn’t cut up a blanket because it could potentially fall on her face while you are driving. Also, I don’t think it would add that much protection. If you are concerned about her skin coming into contact with it just try and make sure she is wearing long pants and shirts when the weather isn’t super hot.
For the stroller, I don’t think Graco uses flame retardants. I would give them a call and ask if they use flame retardants and if their strollers are PVC and lead free. You may be fine. I also think buying second hand is great because things have off gassed already. If you still want a cover, there is this place to buy stroller covers (but it may be too much) http://www.etsy.com/listing/102554193/b-agile-city-mini-and-b-ready-custom?ref=shop_home_active. She will do organic fabrics and organic cotton filling. It sounds like your mom is crafty, maybe she could sew something up?
For the bouncer, you definitely could place a blanket down on those. Keep looking for the Baby Bjorn (even if it isn’t organic). They are a good company and even the non-organic one would be better than most from other brands. It took me awhile to find mine. I just bought a used running stroller too and I literally looked on Craigslist for months before finding the one I wanted. You still have some time so keep looking 🙂 I don’t think they make replacement covers. I would call both of the bouncer companies and see if they use flame retardants. If they do maybe you could go without a bouncer? You can get slings pretty inexpensive and could carry her… or there is always the floor. My son preferred me putting down blankets and him laying on the floor over being in the bouncer 🙂 Once I bought the Baby Bjorn I was finally able to take a shower while he was in the bouncer. It was a big day in our house 🙂
Also, I think you are doing your best and you can only do what you can do. Not everything has to be perfect even if you want to it be. Do what you can with your resources and keep looking for used items. Doing what you are doing will be so much better for your kids than doing nothing at all!
Thank you so much for this post. My child is 18 months. What are your thoughts on ipad apps for little ones. Obviously not to play all the time but more for animal and letter recognition? I’m not sure how I feel about it especially since electronics cn give off radiation etc. thank you!
I don’t love phones, ipads, computers, tv, etc for little ones. My son is 17 months and I don’t let him touch my iphone. I also try not to use it very much around him (which is hard). We actually got rid of our TV about a year ago as a little experiment and we love not having it. Screen time is not recommended for kids under 2. Your phone, ipad, etc all count as screen time. I’ve read that it effects brain development if used before 2. Even after 2 it is very limited.
A second reason, and the biggest for me, is that all electronics (phones, tv, ipads, computers) have flame retardants on them. So if your little one is touching your ipad s/he is touching flame retardants. I’ve also read that some, or all have, contain lead and PVC. So this is all in addition to the radiation. Anyways, bottom line is that they have toxic chemicals on them so I avoid. The best thing to do after touching electronics is to wash your hands. I realize that isn’t always possible but I do that when I’m at home.
My son loves books and we read multiple times throughout the day. I point out different animals and things in the books even if we aren’t actually reading the words in the books. I also point out a lot of things when we are out and about. I feel like they are going to get everything they need without using electronics. That’s just my thoughts though 🙂
That makes total sense! We love books too!
Carrie McCarthy says
Thank you so much for this blog! I’ve also messaged you on FB and would love to further discuss the obstacles of raising a healthy, toxin free child.
Tiila Abbitt says
What about Organic Farm Buddies? Thanks for the info on MiYim. Thought I was actually buying a good brand :(. So misleading!
Organic Farm Buddies from Apple Creek use 100% organic fabric with a sustainable corn filler which is GMO corn. I do not support GMOs in any fashion which is my personal preference but I also wouldn’t want my son sucking on GMO corn filling – just my two cents. With MiYim some of their things might be ok but the company has gone downhill as far as quality. They use to be all organic and a great company and have changed the way they do things – which is sad. The organic industry is definitely misleading which is why I started blogging!
What do you do for bath toys, other than the wooden boat?
We bring in a couple of other wooden toys, some blocks and some of the eggs from Camden Rose. That’s it. It’s pretty simple but he is totally happy with that. I’m thinking of getting the paddle boat from this site and possibly the tug boat too. http://www.mainetoys.com/Catalog/Bathtub_Boats/bathtub_boats.html
We don’t have any plastic toys in our house but I especially wouldn’t in the tub.
What about JANOD toys?
Are they made in China? If they are, I don’t buy any toys made in China. If you aren’t sure I can try finding out next week but I had thought that they were.
They’re made in France I think?
I’m pretty sure they state that they are designed in France (which is good marketing) but really they are designed in France and made in China. I actually emailed them today so I’ll let you know what I hear back. However, if they aren’t 100% made in China I do know for sure that they do make some (if not all) of their toys in China.
I never heard back from them (which generally always tells me what I need to know). I finally see their toys in a store and looked on the back. Designed in France, Made in China.
They’re made in France.
Do you know whether Camden Rose uses edible dyes?
They don’t dye or color any of their toys. All the toys are wood with a natural finish. Some are the organic jojoba with beeswax (it’s their natural finish) and others are beeswax and mineral oil.
They do sell dyed items. I wrote to ask and they said they are not edible dyes, which means we will not be buying them.
Actually they don’t sell dyed items. Have you been to their website? They put a beeswax / oil finish on their toys but definitely don’t dye them. Like I said in my post, you can have any of their toys made unfinished and unfinished is the absolute safest.
Even if you find toys that have edible dyes – which there are a few that are vegetable based – you don’t know much about the vegetables they use. I know a few that use soy as a base and since a majority of soy is GMO I would want to know if it was GMO free before purchasing. So just because a company says it’s edible it doesn’t mean that it is 100% safe for little mouths in my opinion.
Regardless if you personally want to buy Camden Rose toys or not, they are one of the safest, cleanest toy companies out there…. not to mention that they make great quality, beautiful toys.
Why not especially in the tub? Is the tub worse than otherwise?
I just feel like plastic in bath water is more likely to leach out stuff because of the temperature of the water. I don’t have any scientific backing on that 🙂 but if you shouldn’t heat food in plastic I would think that they same goes for a bath. Your skin is your largest organ so a lot get absorbed though it.
Thank you so much for all your info and research. I’m wondering about the healthy stuff database and how up to date it is. I’m noticing a lot of ratings are back to 2008. If a toy is rated as safe, a
it can happen in a few years since the rating.
That is very true! HealthyStuff is great but it’s just a small company with only so many people that can go around and test toys. More and more I buy from local people that are making natural wood items (unpainted). I still occasionally buy from Plan Toys but most of my purchases have been from the Etsy shops listed or Camden Rose. I personally just don’t want to have to worry about if toys are safe or not. I know that plain wood toys are. If I buy plush toys I buy organic, GOTS certified ones.
Thanks again for your info. I have a great-niece that I’m buying for and it’s so important to be safe. I’ve always been concerned about organic and local food but never gave much thought to things like toys and clothes. Thank you again!
I think a lot of people don’t realize the importance of organic / non-toxic toys and clothes until you do… then it changes your thoughts on products forever. I’m glad your great-niece has you to buy her non-toxic items! 🙂
These are dyed, and Camden Rose: http://www.camdenrose.com/product/vegetable_salad/430/?catID=101
Oh, I see, those are dyed wool. You weren’t talking about their wood toys. None of their wood toys are dyed which was what I was talking about. Yes, they do have hand dyed wool vegetables. You won’t find edible fiber dye since wool, cotton, etc isn’t edible. I like these GOTS certified organic cotton vegetables from Under the Nile. http://www.underthenile.com/underthenile/itemDetailBR107.htm
I’ve been lucky enough to fine edible fiber dye. You have to search for it, but if definitely exists.
Can you send me the links of what you have found? I would be interested in reading more. I’ve heard of plant based dye but not necessarily edible fiber dye.
Thanks so much for sharing all this amazing information. I have 8 month old girls and before I found your website and a few others like it I was just going on individual manufacturer’s websites looking for the best non-toxic products. You have saved me so much time.
As far as Beco, I was so disappointed to learn of their fire retardants and wrote them an email as well–I got the same we’re safer than your toothpaste response. My question for you: I already have the Made in USA organic Beco (which has flame retardants). What do you think is safer: That, or the now Made in China organic Beco that doesn’t have flame retardants? They’ve offered to replace my older model, but each has its downside! Thank you and happy holidays!
Ugh, that’s hard! I didn’t know they switched manufacturing to China. Can you buy a used Ergo? They are GOTS certified which is why I like it (but made in India). I don’t know what I would choose. I think flame retardants are horrible so I would maybe go with the new one but I hate buying things from China because you never really know what you are getting. That’s a hard one. If it were me I would looked for a used organic ring sling or organic Ergo. If the only option is the two you give above then I would probably go with the new, no flame retardants, made in China one. Are they GOTS certified now since they moved manufacturing? With this news I’ve decided I officially don’t like Beco. Good luck with that hard decision!
Thank you again SO MUCH for this post!! I was reading through the “Things I wish I registered for…” post the other day and found it incredibly helpful. This is amazing too. You’re amazing! I’m so happy I found your blog since I’m expecting my first child soon 🙂
Hello! I have been sorting through my child’s toys for the past two days and I’m about to throw in the towel. My son LOVES plastic animal toys and almost every single one is made in China. He also loves action figures. Do you have any ideas or resources for where to find similar items? Thanks so much.
It’s so hard, especially as they get older. Ostheimer makes beautiful wooden animals, you can find them in a lot of natural toy stores and a lot of shops on line carry them. They can be pricing though. http://www.ostheimertoys.com/shop/index.html
Plan Toys also has a wooden barn and animals. Action figures is hard, I imagine there aren’t any options other than plastic 🙁
You could get your own peg dolls or maybe make an etsy request for superheros/action heroes with vegetable dyes or wood burning? I have seen really cute wooden peg dolls of Iron-man and starwars characters but it looks like they used acrylic paints. There is also the option of (very ridiculously expensive and not always organic-check with supplier) Waldorf style teddie-dolls – there is a peter pan that is very realistic on etsy at the moment: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/235479230/peter-pan-waldorf-doll-boy-gift-for-boy?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=waldorf%20peter%20pan&ref=sr_gallery_2
This makes me sad. I was planning to buy some HaPe wooden toys. 🙁 Thanks for the post.
Have you read much on Hape?
Here is there activity gym http://www.amazon.com/Hape-HAP-E0032-My-First-Gym/dp/B0070ZZ0HG/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1402961830&sr=1-1&keywords=heimess+gym
Here is a link to there website
I have, they look like nice toys but I have a zero toys from China policy for our house 🙂 Since they are made in China I haven’t looked at them any further. For me, it’s too hard to trust things that come from China. Especially toys that go into little mouths.
Thx a million for your helpful article. You should be proud of yourself for doing this service to other parents and children out there! I am very grateful to you.
I have a 13 month old baby girl and have been trying to find her toys that are not made in China. Locally this seems next to impossible and items are few and far between! Recently I was very disappointed to find a famous Vancouver Toy store of 30 yrs advertised on their website how they do their best to source enviro conscious toys. I feel that their website was deceptive as they list the toy manufacturers on the description, which leads the reader to believe that is where they are made in other countries, but after visiting the store in person, I was unable to find one product for her age group that wasn’t made in China. After that I tried some searches online to find products made in Canada & US but like you mentioned it takes time and research to find out all of the details & I was getting so discouraged until I read your wonderful article. You have saved me a great deal of time and worry by listing the companies that I can feel safe buying toys from. You also made me feel good knowing that even though the toys may be pricey, that I don’t have to buy tons of them in order to keep her happy.
Thank you! Yes, it’s amazing sometimes how hard it is to find toys not made in China. I have a few more companies that I have come across. I will update my post soon 🙂
Thank you for sharing all this information and the research you’ve done. I have been purchasing all wood toys for my toddler and she loves them. I agree with you that Camden Rose are wonderful and beautiful toys. Their play kitchen is wonderful.
Recently I have been looking for a doll stroller for my 15 month old and haven’t really found one. Haba has a few, but I’m not really fond of them. Do you have any recommendations? Also any suggestions for ride on toys?
Thanks so much.
Yes! I don’t love the Haba doll strollers either. We have this one and I love it. I, of course, wanted an organic cotton seat so I sewed a new one on but that is just me being crazy 🙂 http://www.novanatural.com/doll-stroller-blue.html
For ride on toys, Plan Toys has some (a bigger selection now than they did when my son was younger). I also have a used, older wooden Radio Flyer ride on that I got on craigslist for $15. It’s pretty old so I think it was when Radio Flyer was still making things in the US. Mine is like this one but in better shape and without the streamers http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Radio-Flyer-Maple-Wood-4-Wheel-Scooter-Trike/231288509460?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D24143%26meid%3D8580131373144840874%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D10240%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D261271557022.
Another option is this ride on – all wood, made in the USA http://www.mainetoys.com/Catalog/Riding_Steam_Roller/riding_steam_roller.html
How did you have your couch redone? Any companies that you suggest for getting a couch with out flame retardants and other toxic ingredients?
I hired a local company to basically pull apart our couch and re-do it. However, it was basically a re-build, not much was saved. There was literally cardboard holding the back of the couch together – not even wood!
It’s expensive for sure but I don’t regret it at all! Some cheaper option would be to buy an organic futon (I love Soaring Heart). I purchased through EcoBalanza http://www.greenerlifestyles.com/. Another company to check out, who I haven’t purchased from but look like they are doing everything on the up and up is Ekla Home http://www.eklahome.com/.
Hi! So, I have another question – I’ve been going through each of your recommended companies and looking through some of their items. How do you feel about linseed oil as the finish? And as for paint, I know you prefer unfinished, but is your reluctance to buy toys with water-based paints because you’re skeptical of what else they are made with? (I understand this, just curious if there is anything else, too….)
Also, you have me hooked on Camden Rose and Plan Toys! I’m exploring Grimm now. And I contacted the woman on Etsy with the cotton books — the fabric is all 100% GOTS certified, and the batting is 100% USDA certified organic. Just FYI!
Thank you again!
So there is good linseed oil and bad. Some linseed oil has heavy metals added to it to make it dry quicker since it is a slow drying product. As long as you find a product that is clean and doesn’t have heavy metals then it’s fine. It’s highly combustible so make sure to dispose of rags properly!
I love Camden Rose and Plan Toys too. I also really love Grimm. Also check out Elves & Angles which I just added to the blog last week. I like that everything is unfinished. If you are trying to get unfinished Camden Rose toys just know that it can take a month or two depending on their production schedule.
Greta to know about the cotton book. I wish I had found those books before I had!
Is there a way to know if a company that’s using linseed oil is using a “clean” version? I’m sure everyone who’s using linseed oil *thinks* what they’re using is safe.
Some people just don’t know. I know the brand that Elves & Angles uses is clean. Other than that I just try and avoid it if possible or get it unfinished.
Thanks a ton – I was writing because E&A finishes their products with linseed oil, and I couldn’t find much good info on this. They do say it’s nontoxic linseed oil. I’m glad that you love Grimm — I like them, too. I also like that they have colors- and I’m hoping that their colors are good enough. I love all the natural woods, especially the different tones of cherry, maple, etc, but I also like the idea of having some toys with color. It seems really hard to find companies that do that — Plan Toys, I know, and now Grimm. (Though I emailed Grimm a few follow-up questions.)
How do you find these companies, btw?! I always go to you first, then do some follow-up research, but I have the hardest time finding any on my own!
Did you get a response from Grimm? I emailed them several times and only got pretty generic responses. However, I do think they are one of the least toxic in terms of using colors. Germany has much tighter regulations than pretty much anywhere else in the world with regards to toys.
I personally wouldn’t let a teething baby or someone who is going to suck on the toys a lot with the Grimm. From what I understand they are vegetable based but the colors do wash off a bit.
I just find these companies searching around online. Sometimes I come across a company in a store then come home and do more research 🙂
I didn’t get the kind of response I was hoping for. I got the “we comply with EN71” line. I guess I have to look into EN71. I did ask them more about it – what EN71 means, but no response.
I have found a ton of clothing companies from Zulily sales where they advertise organic. I then email the company (or look on the website) to see if the clothes are GOTS certified. When I first started googling, I found almost none, but once you have something to go on, I realized there are many of them out there!
You don’t by any chance have any rec for a type of wooden activity table or something for babies to climb on? I’m looking all over and can’t find anything. The little one loves to pull herself up and chew on the surface – I’d love to have something safe for her to do this with.
Yeah, they were pretty vague with me; however, I didn’t get that response. I’ve heard from various shop owners that they vegetable dye their wood. I feel like sometimes that the best you can do. It’s definitely not paint and like I said I feel totally fine with my son playing with the few toys we have from Grimm but I wouldn’t want him sucking on them all day. I have a colored stacking set from them and a non-colored / natural bus.
Did you find any clothing companies that you really like with cute clothes?
Are you looking for a climbing structure or a wooden table (that could later be used as a train table or something?). I have a little table and chair for my son. The table is from Camden Rose and I bought the chair off of Etsy (both unfinished).
This is really delayed (I was on vacation) and you might have found something by now but I really wanted this for my son buy never bought it. Other companies make them for cheaper on Amazon but I’m not sure where they are made. I haven’t found one unfinished but Community Playthings uses a water based finish. One side is a rocking boat for older kids and the other side is a small stair climber for younger kids. You obviously would want to spot your daughter on this but from what I have heard kids use this for years. http://www.communityplaythings.com/products/toys/v43-rocking-boat
Thanks a ton! I wish I knew how to craft with wood. I’ll look into less expensive items- if I had the money, this would be worth it!
I’m not sure I can continue this thread below your most recent response, so I’ll continue it here. I was thinking of something she could use to pull herself up on, since she loves to do this. I just looked into tables and chairs on Etsy, and I think that might be a great idea — for now, she could pull herself up, see some fun toys on the table, try to get them in her mouth, and later, she can use it like it’s intended. She does love to climb up things (always trying to, anyway – sometimes I stack a big book under her foot, and she makes the climbing motion…), but I don’t think I’m going to have any luck finding a staircase for children to play on. Ha ha ha.
Here is the link to the wood activity gym http://www.littlepartners.com/the-learning-tower/
Unfortunately, they aren’t able to make them unfinished. I was considering putting an add on craigslist for a woodworker to see if they would be able to make for us an finish ourselves.
I just sent you one to a earlier thread 🙂
One more comment – I really like E&A, as I mentioned above, but their website is really difficult to navigate. I can’t really tell what they make v. what they are selling for other companies. (The Toddler toys, for example, have toys from Plan Toys and others…; I’m not sure what else.) I emailed about this, and I was told things with names “Julianna’s kitchen” are made by them, anything with “Downeast” is made by them, and then the Maine Dollhouse and Fairytale Castle are made by them. To me, it looks like they might also make some of the Waldorf things — (but maybe Waldorf is considered a name?) Anyway, I’m hoping they make the website easier in the future.
I can see how it can be confusing. I could tell just by looking at it and knowing different companies what they made. Waldorf is a type of schooling that focuses on natural wooden toys and lots of outdoor time. If something is Waldorf then it means that it follows the theme of that teaching. I love Waldorf, I think the simplicity of it is really great!
Thought I would add that if you want to order any Camden Rose toys unfinished it’s best to contact them sooner rather than later. I sent them an email yesterday to order a few of their toys unfinished and the sales associate let me know that they had already made all of the toys I selected for the year and would not be able to sell me them unfinished 🙁
I had that happen this late last year too. I do love their toys but I wish they would offer some unfinished. Did they tell you when they were going to make their next batch of what you wanted? There were a few things I did want so I had to go find them elsewhere. What were you thinking of buying?
They will be making the stackers (what I was ordering) next Spring/Summer. I asked her if they had anything else available unfinished she said yes, but she didn’t tell me what 🙂 I am still emailing back and forth to figure out what exactly is available unfinished
Did you find a stacker? Smiling Tree Toys on Etsy sells ones too https://www.etsy.com/listing/70832703/wooden-stacking-toy-all-natural-heirloom?ref=shop_home_active_9
mynaturebaby- I found this wood activity gym which I would love to get our daughter when she is of the age. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to make them unfinished. I was considering putting an add on craigslist for a woodworker to see if they would be able to make for us. We have some time- our daughter isn’t even crawling yet 😉
I am also struggling to find things for her such as the above. Even looking at sensory games people suggest, the things that they recommend babies to play with and put in their mouth are toxic. If anyone knows of a good pinterest board or such that has non-toxic sensory games for baby please post 🙂
Here is the link to the wood activity gym http://www.littlepartners.com/the-learning-tower/
Yeah, a lot of the sensory games on pinterest are toxic…. like shaving cream in a bathtub! No thanks. I just found that the world is a sensory experience for kids. Rocks, pinecones, etc. You could also fill up a tub with dry organic rice, beans or pasta and let them play. Bowls of water are always fun too.
First, I want to say how grateful I feel to have come across your blog. I’ve been reading, re-reading, and referencing your posts for over a year now. You have provided a priceless gift to so many of us. Not only is the information great, but having a place where I can read about other mothers caring about toxicity in a world where many think I’m overprotective for even acknowledging the rampant toxicity even exists. Thank you!
I know this is over a year old – Alison’s comment about sensory games – but if someone else might find it helpful, I thought I’d leave it. We put my son in his wooden high chair and then pump out castile soap through our foaming soap pump. We scatter dried beet, carrot, cinnamon or turmeric (etc.) powders for color sometimes, too. It functions just the same as shaving cream would, but is totally safe!
For natural wood teethers with only beeswax and organic jojoba oil (and not mineral oil), I found these: http://www.pureplaykids.com/wooden-rattle-apple-made-in-usa/ and http://www.pureplaykids.com/wooden-rattle-baby-rattle-cherry/. They are made of sustainable cherry AND made in America. (Pure Play Kids doesn’t sell anything made in China; it is only US and bit of Europe.) My baby puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, so I talked to the owners. They make a lot of the wooden toys themselves in Tennessee, and all of their products are independently lab tested (finishes, use and abuse testing for breakage, small parts); none of the Etsy sellers I contacted do this. (Most of the Etsy stuff seems good, but after a few worrisome situations, I feel better knowing a product has actually been tested.)
Thanks for doing what you do, naturalbabymama! You’re a great resource!
Thanks Jess for sharing! I will add them to my list.
Hope Wabuke says
Thank you so much! You are amazing. I have a question: my son is now interested in art and music. Any thoughts on nontoxic painting supplies-easel, paints, brushes and paint? And nontoxic pianos? All i have found are Schoenhut and Schuylling. Thank you!
Honestly, I haven’t done much research past crayons. I am interested in all this though! I have looked at Beka’s wooden easles. Palumba sells wooden paint jar holders (with glass jars) that I really like. They also sell Camden rose paint brushes but I don’t know anything about them. Take a look at their site. With that being said I’m not a fan of Stockmar crayons and don’t know anything about their paint. I don’t like the crayons because they say they are beeswax but they are mostly petroleum based. If you find anything else or any other pianos please keep me posted!
Hope Wabuke says
Thank you! I will keep you posted if I find anything. Do you have any crayons you prefer to Stockmar? I had wanted paint with brush paint, but now I am contemplating making my own fingerpaint. It seems safest. Baby boy loves tunnels now. I have been trying to find a nontoxic tunnel. No luck. Please help!
I have quite a selection of crayons 🙂 We have the Eco Kids crayons, Honey Sticks and Filana beeswax crayons. The Filana are the nicest. The Honey Sticks are thicker and don’t break as easy. The Eco Kids is good for littler kids.
Has anyone looked into WeeCanToo’s Veggie Crayons? It says they are made of Organic fruit and vegetable powders and Organic food grade plant waxes, organic mineral pigments. VEGAN, no wheat, no sugar, no preservatives!
I just checked on their website and it says they are made in the usa
Crayons made from veggie-based ingredients, including food grade soy wax, so as always, hand to mouth safe! Don’t worry about petroleum or other toxic additives in our crayons…made with organic ingredients: organic fruit and vegetable powders and practically good for you! VEGAN, no wheat, no sugar, no preservatives!
Yes, we have the Wee Can Too sidewalk chalk and crayons and really like them. I will say that the crayons aren’t as vibrant as some other crayons like Filana http://www.filana.us/filana-crayons/beeswax-crayon-set-12-block-crayons.
Also Eco Kids has finger paints but I am assuming you were wanting something for painting vs finger painting?
Hi – I have been looking for a non-toxic toy storage option to put all of these great toys in that is also non-toxic. I am trying to avoid a wood storage chest/bin since my daughter is not very steady on her feet and would easily hurt herself on a wood chest. I am also looking for a bin that would keep open and upright when empty. This way my daughter would be able to take her toys in and out of it without it collapsing on her when she removes toys. The most common option is the 3 sprouts organic, but it is made in china and has a plastic lining. I tried an organic bin from ladybugorganics.com, but that one collapses when not full. Do you have any suggestions for a non-toxic non-wood storage bin? Thanks!
Admittedly, I haven’t done research on any of these yet but just came across this website. Maybe some of the toy boxes would work? http://www.sproutsanfrancisco.com/shop/room-decor/rugs
Oh woops, I just saw you wrote non wooden! Sorry!
The only truly organic, not made in China, that I could find was Lady Bug Organics. Maybe a smaller one wouldn’t collapse? Did you email her to see if she could add anything to try and reinforce it?
I did email her several times about modifying a bin that could sit upright and the solutions became very expensive with no guarantee that they would work. After several emails her conclusion was to buy a 3 Sprouts bin, which is not only made in China, but isn’t really organic since it contains plastic to have it stand upright. It was very disappointing to have a toxic item recommended from someone that touts the importance of safe natural products. My search continues and if I find something I will post it.
That is frustrating but sadly is the reality. There aren’t very many options. Have you found anything else?
Love this post! Great idea to use rocks, pinecones, pasta, rice, beans, etc. Any other creative ideas for sensory toys and softer things? Purchasing unfinished wood toys, but looking for other options, as well. I’m also getting some of the plush toys from Under the Nile.
I love the plush toys from Under the Nile. I also use organic wool for softer sensory things. Sometimes my son just plays with the wool or I’ve made felted wool balls (which is really easy). I bought a huge box of organic wool scrap filling from Holy Lamb organics for like $8. It’s so big that I don’t know if I’ll ever use all the wool in my life 🙂
Water is a big hit in our house too (in a bowl with a cup to move from bowl to bowl, in our sink, or sometimes I bring the bowl to our back porch). I just try and keep things simple. If we are out on a walk and he picks up a leaf (or flower or whatever) I’ll bring it in and set it next to some pinecones (or little pumpkins we have right now because of the time of year) then he’ll play with those for awhile.
If you are crafty kitting or crocheting little animals or stuffed toys are always fun. I stuff them with my organic wool 🙂
I also found these: http://www.littlealouette.com/teething-toys and http://www.woodenstory.pl/index.php/en/. Wooden story ships to US and you can even find their toys at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx at an affordable price. What do you think about these?
DaNae Rakstad says
Thanks so much for this article! In your research have you found any abc blocks that are non toxic? I am looking into Uncle Goose blocks on amazon. Also bigger wooden blocks I was looking into Melissa and Doug big wooden blocks? Any alternative?
Uncle Goose is great and you can also find blocks on Little Sapling Toys on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/littlesaplingtoys?section_id=6399691&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2.
I personally don’t buy Melissa & Doug since they are made in China. My Uncle Goose blocks are bigger than the Little Sapling Toys blocks.
I’ve been looking for toys for our daughter and thought I would share.. Grimms makes an x large stacker that’s 14″ wide.I found it cheapest on the website below, check amazon if you are interested in pictures which AToyGarden lacks.
I also found a few affordable bathtub toys when searching for additional items to my cart over $100 for the free shipping 🙂
Bathtub boat made of solid pine (I believe its unfinished)
Unfinished Floating Barge made of recycled/found Spanish Cedar, a reddish hardwood
For those who have the camden rose play kitchen… do you have it in the light wood (maple) or dark wood (cherry)? AND if you have it in the lighter wood do you think that the darker wood would be easier to keep clean? I like the lighter wood but my husband seems to think that the darker wood will be easier to keep clean (won’t show as much).
Going to order this for my daughter and looking for suggestions. Thanks!
I have the cherry but I don’t think keeping it clean with the lighter wood would make that much of a difference. With crayons yes but just general use I think either would be fine.
Hanna Lee says
Loved your website, thank you. I still need help though on deciding what play gym to buy for my 7 week old baby. Need something to entertain her while lying down . I only see all those polyester types in the market .
Hope to hear from you. Thank you
Any suggestions on play equipment? I want to get some type of structure for her to climb on.. I found this teepee on ebay, the maker said that it is made from GOTS certified organic cotton and center cut untreated sustainable forest products, and it’s under $100 !
I don’t personaly own this but saw it on a blog recently and thought it could be good for my own little climber. Expensive though!!
If you flip it over, it becomes little stairs for kids to climb up and down.
Have you found any truly non-toxic sports balls for older kids (rubber or otherwise)? Closest I’ve found are the rubber balls from Crocodile Creek but they sent me their toxicity test results and the different colored balls either have a small amount of lead or a small amount of phthalates, depending on the color. Tough to decide between those two not so great choices. None of the colors have zero lead AND zero phthalates…
I really appreciate this information! Thank you!
Hannah Pearce says
Hi thank you so much for your post it’s so helpful ???? I was just wondering if you have come across I’m Toy much and what you thoughts are as they say they are from old rubber wood trees and water based non toxic paint but I can find to much on then when ditching the internet. Just wondering your thoughts ? Thanks
Hello! I’m currently looking for a playmat to set up a little play area in my finished basement (I wanted to put something over the carpet that I could clean and that I trust to be healthier for her than whatever might be in that carpet!). I’ve found soft tiles, panda mat, corkimat, etc. recommended on other sites, but I’m a little lost as to what would be the best! Have you done any research into this?
I don’t love playmats because I really feel like there isn’t a truly non toxic one. I bought panda mat and returned it once I opened it, not natural. I love my big rug from Under the Nile. I usually throw that down and use that as my play mat.
Janos Toys Safe??
Sorry Janod Toys
They are made in China
Allison Dey says
Be aware also that polyester fiberfill is listed in the US Toxic Substance Control Act. When fibers reach stomach and lung tissue, they are no longer considered inert and can cause cancer.
Also, I have a friend who is looking for a non-GMO corn fiberfill source in the US if anyone knows of one.
Yes poly fill is not great. That’s why I love under the nile – organic cotton fill.
I’m thinking about purchasing some cardboard blocks (that look like bricks) for my son and am wondering if anyone has information about their potential toxicity. I came across some already that have a “stain resistant” coating, which is an obvious red flag, but I’m not even sure what else to be on the look out for. Anyone have ideas?
Cardboard is glued together so I would make sure it’s a safe glue that doesn’t use formaldehyde. The stain resisting coating doesn’t sound good to me.
Thanks! As seems to happen more and more, I think I’m going to just make them so I know exactly what it’s (or on) them. I’m going to wrap various sizes of boxes with brown kraft paper and non-toxic tape, then let my son color them with homemade crayons. Problem solved!
Hi, just found your website. Sorry if I missed any posts earlier, but what do you think about natural rubber toys, like CaaOcho and Vulli. I so far haven’t found anything bad, but my research hasn’t been extensive. CaaOcho is designed in Canada, and Vulli in France. Thanks! for your research!!
Have you checked out these Etsy Shops? https://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaMayI & https://www.etsy.com/shop/CakeInTheMorn Thanks for all the info!
Hello! We make children’s wooden learning toys using a non-toxic soy-based paint made in the USA and use beeswax to finish our products. Please check out our Mama, Papa, and Grandmama run shop at http://www.MamaMayiShop.com
Thank you so much for this beautifully curated list of safe toys for little ones! ❤️
I’ve just created a closed Facebook group as a way the Natural Baby Mama community can discuss non-toxic items. Whether you are wanting to know what car seat to buy, questioning non-toxic baby items or items for you or your home, this is will be a great resource and open line of communication. Please like the Natural Baby Mama Facebook page and join the closed group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223493848003000/?hc_location=ufi.
I’m looking forward to interacting with you more in the closed group!
Kathryn Bragdon says
I really like Bella Luna toy website; Waldorf oriented and non-toxic focus
Yes I love them too!
Great find for me a first time grandma. Looking to purchase a kitchen set that for my grandson who will be 14 months. Would like one he can use for a while and not grow out of quickly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Do you by chance know of a nontoxic, wood, USA made activity center/play cube? I liked a couple from
hape that have a bead maze on top and tons of activities on the sides but also trying to avoid Hape due to country of origin. I’m having a hard time finding an alternative.
Hi there! Stumbled across your website today and I am so grateful.
We have a one year old son and though we have mostly bought him only wood toys, between the grandparents and other relatives giving toys we have acquired quite a bit of plastic, which I am not happy about. One grandma finally got the message, but she started buying him Melissa and Doug. I appreciate the thought of course, but we avoid Melissa and Doug as well and have returned those toys. All in all, makes me look and sometimes feel ungrateful for the well intentioned gifts my son has received 🙁
Anyway, I wanted to ask you about your opinion on IKEA’s wood toys (we don’t buy their plastic toys). The wood ones are all made in Europe, mostly Bulgaria.
For example, we purchased the Mula stacking rings. They are painted, but the paint is very thin. You can actually see the wood grain through it. It also has not chipped, even with the throwing of the pieces my son does. IKEA has said the paint is non-toxic.
Materials listed: Wooden part(s): Solid beech, Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer and Rubber part: Synthetic rubber. Not happy about the synthetic rubber part, but the wood part seems good and IKEA only uses sustainably harvested wood. Seems like a safer option than plastic without the high cost of some other brands.
We are looking forward to trying some of the brands you listed! We are working towards getting rid of his plastic toys and all toys made in China, as well as cookware but that is a whole other beast!
Camden Rose is one of my favorites! Though I find it strange, you don’t mention diotoys here, I buy cars only from them.
What’s a good alternative to the plastic large bouncing balls? My son loves those!
My kids love wooden train set. 🙂
How do you feel about Cuddle and Kind and Blabla kids handknit dolls?
This is great! Thanks for all the research. Do you have any recommendations for Clutching Toys? I see some made in Germany from Haba on Amazon. I couldn’t get any data on Healthy Stuff. Thanks! This blog is really helpful!
[email protected] says
Yes, Haba is good now. I actually just started an online store that re-directs to amazon with my picks for the home & toys. You can access it from my main page but I tested a Haba clutching toy that I linked and it was free from heavy metals 🙂
Hello! Wow is your site/ blogs amazing! So incredibly informative, I can’t thank you enough! With that being said, I am beyond overwhelmed lol.
I want to order my daughter new toys on Etsy. Other then the shops you listed, when searching for great shops what should I be looking/searching for / staying away from? Look up organic? Non toxic?
I’m looking for new pacifiers and tethers specificially. Maybe new plush toys as well.
Thank you so much!
[email protected] says
Hi, I just started a new shop section on my website that will re-direct to amazon to purchase. There are some good options on there. For plush we have a lot of Under the Nile.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this site! I love it and reference it regularly 🙂
What are your thoughts on Mad Mattr and Kinetic Sand?
Also what do you do about books? They seem to all be printed in China and since my kiddo tries to eat the board books sometimes, I’m not sure I want to give them to her.
Natural Baby Mama says
Hi, thank you and sorry for the delay in responding! Books are the one thing I let go because like you said most are printed in China. I had a few organic cotton books I let my little ones chew on.
Kinetic sand, I’ve been meaning to DIY it. There are some safe DIY options if you are up for that.
Have you, by any chance, tested toys from Palumba/Camden Rose, Maple Landmark Toys, Maine Toys with XRF for heavy metals? I think I saw somewhere that Haba unfinished blocks had some arsenic. If you did test any of them, were they free of lead and other heavy metals?
Thank you so much for all the great information on your site!
Natural Baby Mama says
I have tested a few solid wood toys years ago. I’m pretty sure Palumba was in there and yes they were heavy metal free. That being said I have zero concerns over unpainted solid wood. It’s the most non-toxic type of toy you can buy. I hope this helps!
Franklin White says
I like the idea of buying quality toys over a bunch of them. I think this will help your kids better appreciate the toys they have. They won’t just break them and expect more but rather play with them and take good care of them as well.
Thank you very much for your reply to my earlier question.
I assume that glue used by Palumba, Maple Landmark Toys, Maine Toys for their toys is free from formaldehyde, since they are on your list:). Is this correct?
Have you looked at Lovevery Block Set? They said they are a non toxic company and the blocks are made from wood with non toxic paint and finishes.
Natural Baby Mama says
I haven’t, do you know where they are made?
Hi thank you for the list. It’s really helpful. I would like to ask if a quality-made wood toys would have wood splinters? I have purchased some Grimms toys but don’t see that problem.i have asked people and they tell me it is normal to have wood splinters on wood toy. So I just want to hear your opinion. Thank you.
No, this shouldn’t be an issue for high quality, well-made toys.
Have you researched Small Foot wooden toys?
I haven’t researched them
I have two Haba toys made in Thailand, not Germany. Is that ok?
I would verify those are real, maybe they started making in Thailand recently but as far as I know they make toys in Germany and China only. I would reach out directly to Haba on that.
very wonderful blog thanks for posting.