We have decided that 7 is the lucky number for 2011. Last week we wrote about the Top 7 New Shooting Toys from Toy Fair 2011, and today we show our incredible versatility by picking the Top 7 Green Toys from Toy Fair 2011. Versatile on the type of toys we like, but never on the number of toys… it is always seven – certain things are just written in stone.
What Exactly is a “Green Toy”?
Everyone has a slightly different definition, but at Dad Does we believe that a “Green Toy” is one that does not harm the planet, hopefully improves the environment and teaches our children about the importance of preserving our natural resources.
The “Green Movement” has touched many areas – Fair Trade and Organic Food and Drinks have become much more mainstream. The Toy Industry on the other hand has been slow to adapt to consumer’s desires to have more “green friendly” toys. The good news is that it finally looks like the Toy Industry is starting to move in the right direction and we feel it is important to highlight and reward the companies that are leading the Green Movement!
#1. The Green Game by TDC Games
I am pretty sure if we did a top green toys lists and did not include a game called “The Green Game”, we would be arrested by Al Gore. Seriously, The Green Game is a must have board game that “contains almost everything you’ve ever wanted to know about saving the Earth, but didn’t have years to find out.”
The Green Game has question cards which test your knowledge about green issues and even challenge conventional wisdom. Did you know that creating a website about how to save the planet, using a white background and green text is not green? Yep, using a white background requires your readers to use 75% more energy to display the site on their monitors.
Don’t order yet – it gets even more green! The game is 99.8% bio-degradable, made from 100% recycled material and uses soy inks. Not impressed yet? How about if we tell you the game comes with 6 drink coasters that you can plant and will actually sprout and grow wildflowers – making the whole game carbon neutral!
The Green Game from TDC Games sells for about $20.
#2. Tegu Wooden Blocks
Tegu wooden blocks may look like normal wooden blocks, but they hold a number of secrets. First, they have magnets inside the wood, so the blocks snap together and you can make some very cool gravity defying structures.
While magnetic blocks are cool, the secret that makes Tegu so green is how they are made. The founders of Tegu, Will and Chris Haughey, wanted to find a way to help the people of Honduras make a living wage. Since Honduras is rich in trees, the Haughey brothers decided to make Tegu completely in Honduras, using only mature hardwords from Honduras. Tegu has created a fully independent toy factory in Honduras and pays all its workers a living wage to make the Tegu blocks.
The Tegu Blocks come in a number of different configurations and price ranges. Tegu does cost more than standard wooden blocks, but paying a premium for fun magnetic blocks that help the people of Honduras live a better life is well worth it in our book.
#3. Treefies by Marai Toys
Treefies by Marai Toys at first glance seem like any other cute little plush toy. Yes, Treefies are cute plush toys, but everytime you buy a Treefie a real tree is planted as part of the effort of Marai Toys to be a Carbon Positive Company. In addition, every doll has a unique code that you can enter in an online website to unlock some games and activities.
What makes the Treefies online component refreshing is that it teaches kids the importance of protecting the environment and animal species. Factor in the fact that Treefies sell for only $6 each and you have a winning green toy in our book!
#4. BoomBoom! Cards – The Uprising of Guerilla Goodness™
We did an entire article on the Boom Boom! Cards, so our love for this card game is well known. In our article we focused on the family edition, but they also make a Green edition. The Green Deck gives you cards with “Revolutionary acts of greenness for a healthy and happy planet” for you to perform and then pass on to another person.
Boom Boom! Cards Green Edition is a great way to make the planet a better place, one act at a time. In addition, at only $9.99 this is one green game that will not cost you a lot of green!
#5. Artterro Eco Art Kits
Artterro Eco Art Kits are just that – Eco Art Kits. Eco because they use natural materials; minimal, reusable packaging and green printing. In addition they are assembled at the non-profit Goodwill Industries, by people with special needs. Art because they provide great open ended projects that allow kids to be artist and not force them to follow mindless and frustrating instructions! Kits because they provide some cool natural material for your kids to make beautiful things. By the way, when the kit says it has wool and felt… it has real wool and felt! You would be surprised how many other art kits just have synthetics that are supposed to “feel like” wool and felt.
We will be doing a full review of the Artterro Art Kits in the coming weeks, but so far we really like what we see. Artterro does a great job of making “green” an element of every aspect of their business – and that is a great lesson to teach our kids.
Artterro Eco Art Kits sell for about $20.
#6. Green Toys
I know what your cynical mind is thinking… we just included this company because their name is Green Toys, Inc. The truth is, the Green in this company goes well beyond just their name! Green Toys makes all of their toys out of 100% recycled plastic milk jugs! Don’t worry, they don’t look like plastic milk jugs once Green Toys is done with them, they look like this…
You see what is going on there? You have a toy recycling truck made completely out of recycled milk jugs – that will just blow your mind with green! Want even more green? How about all manufacturing and processing takes place within a 30 mile radius, so no crazy gas emissions as you truck parts of your green toy thousands of miles.
Don’t think saving a few milk jugs from the landfill is a big deal? Every pound of plastic used to make Green Toys saves energy equal to 3,000 AAA batteries. For the average Mom or Dad, that is about the amount of batteries we go through on Christmas morning.
Prices on Green Toys vary and we hope to do a full review on Green Toys in the coming weeks.
#7. Audubon Birds Plush Toys by Wild Republic
Finally, we end with the Audubon Baby Birds by Wild Republic, because sometimes going green can be as simple as teaching kids to appreciate the beautiful sounds of nature, like birds singing. In 2011 Wild Republic continues its line of popular plush birds that make real bird calls when you squeeze them, with a line of baby birds.
Here is a very quick video of one of the birds from Toy Fair 2011 -
Wild Republic teamed up with the Audubon and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to create plush birds that have 100% authentic bird calls. Every bird is soft and cuddly and when you squeeze it it makes the exact bird call of the real bird. Some will say – so what and why is that Green?
We do believe taking the time and money to create birds with the real bird calls is significant. First, Wild Republic is partnering with two bird organizations and helping to educate about nature conservation. Second, we applaud that they are not talking down to our kids. Sure, they could have just thrown some computer generated bird calls in each bird, but we believe if we want our children to know and appreciate the beauty of our planet, having toys that authentically recreate the sounds of our planet is a good, green start.
Wild Republic Audubon Birds Plush Toys are about $15 each
These Are Previews… Not Reviews!
There you have it, 7 Great Green Toys from Toy Fair 2011. As our regular readers know, we never offer a full review and a rating until we have had a chance to test a product in a real world setting. You can read our post on Reviews and Previews to learn how Dad Does handles product reviews. We do hope to do full real world reviews on the products mentioned in this post in the coming weeks.
Got A Great Green Toy We Missed? Let Us Know!
Perhaps we missed something at Toy Fair – there were over 100,000 products. If you know of a great green toy, let us know and we will add it to this list. I am a Dad who loves finding great toys for my kids, but I also love the idea of our planet still being around when my kids grow up – so green toys are a win-win for me.