As a former educator, I constantly thought about toys and materials for young children. I picked materials that were age appropriate and that also helped to develop important skill sets. If I saw a need for children to work on classification skills I would carefully select materials that would engage these senses. I selected them carefully. One thing I never thought about was the toy companies behind these toys. I knew some of them by name and liked them for their durability and aesthetic nature, but I never learned about the companies missions and what they stood for. Not until recently.
Now, working with the Minneapolis Toy Library, I have learned more about these toy companies. I have a desire to know more about them so I can make an educated decision about the toys that stock our shelves. Sure we don’t have the budget to JUST buy these toys, but when we do have the financial means to purchase toys, we buy from companies we care about.
The following is my list of the top 5 toy companies worth spending a bit of extra money on. I explain my reasoning for each choice below.
We LOVE Green Toys! All of their toys are made from 100% recycled milk jugs. How great is that? There are no glues or nuts and bolts that keep the toys together. It’s completely safe for children. Their line of toys includes vehicles, pretend food play sets, and even books. We have so many of their materials in our inventory and are happy to promote their products. Check out this video to learn more about their recycling process, Recycling video.
HABA makes high quality materials for young children. Not only wood toys, but high quality plush toys and even games. I love that their product line is so extensive without having to sacrifice quality and safety. Their wooden toys have PEFC label (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, PEFC.org), which means that their wooden toys are created utilizing wood from sustainable forests. They are committed to being environmentally friendly toy manufacturers. Thank you HABA!
Hape has a passion for developing toys that invite children to play and learn important skills along the way. Their wooden toys are made from bamboo. This material is anti-bacterial in nature, water resistant, and is grown in abundance around the world. It is very durable, so the toys will last for a long time! I love their passion for creating appropriate, inviting, and educational toys for young children.
Tegu builds those beautiful wooden blocks that have the hidden magnet inside. They are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and feel great in the palm of your hand. OH, and they are so much fun to create and build with. This company is based out of Honduras and was founded by two brothers. They believe in creating a positive social impact on the people who work for the company and the neighborhood where they create their toys. The wood they use is forested responsibly and if for some strange reason the blocks become unusable (maybe a dog got ahold of some?) they will pay for the shipping of the pieces and will recycle them for you! Neat!
I’m not sure how I found out about this toy maker, but I’m glad I did! This environmentally friendly toy company creates plant based materials – vs plastic based. They create a wide variety of toys that are made using non toxic paints, wood from rubber trees, and recycled plastics. They want children to create and have fun while also playing with toys that are durable, safe, and beautiful.
I hope this list helped you learn about toy companies that are building a product line for children that is safe, beautiful, and has less of an impact on the environment. These toys will last – they’re worth the money you pay for them!
Former preschool teacher