Safe Alternatives to Plastic Toys for Kids

Parents everywhere are starting to worry about the damage plastic toys might be doing to their children and the planet.

Those brightly colored gadgets are not only cluttering up our living rooms but also causing a bit of a mess for the environment and, let’s face it, our peace of mind.

The thing is, plastic toys can harbor chemicals that aren’t exactly welcome in your child’s mouth or your recycling bin.

Plus, there’s the whole “plastic-is-clogging-the-oceans” scenario you’ve probably seen a million times on social media.

But don’t panic as much as you might want to toss every plastic toy out the window (not recommended), there are safer, eco-friendly alternatives that won’t make you feel like a terrible parent.

Stick around, and we’ll break down some fantastic, guilt-free options for your little ones.

Why Plastic Toys Are a Problem

Plastic toys might seem like a fun and easy choice, but they’re actually full of hidden problems. From health risks to environmental issues, these toys can cause more trouble than they’re worth.

Let’s break down why plastic toys might not be the best option for your kids.

Health Risks

Plastic toys often contain harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates. You’ve probably heard these terms thrown around, but what do they really mean?

  • BPA (Bisphenol A): This chemical is used to make plastic hard and clear. It’s been linked to hormone disruption, causing potential problems with growth, behavior, and brain development in young children.
  • Phthalates: These are used to make plastic flexible. They can lead to serious health issues, including developmental delays and even reproductive problems down the line.

If kids put plastic toys in their mouths (which they do, like, all the time), they’re at risk of absorbing these chemicals.

It’s kind of like letting them chew on a tiny, toxic time bomb.

Environmental Impact

Plastic toys are not just a headache for your home; they’re a nightmare for the planet too.

Three Green and One Red House Toys

  • Non-biodegradable: Plastic toys don’t just disappear. They can take hundreds of years to break down, if they ever do. This means every plastic toy ever made still exists somewhere.
  • Pollution: When plastic toys are thrown away, they often end up in landfills or the ocean. You’ve seen those sad pictures of sea turtles choking on plastic. Do we really want to add to that?

Durability and Safety

You might think plastic toys are durable, but they can actually be pretty fragile.

  • Breakage: Plastic toys can break easily, and those small, jagged pieces can become dangerous. Nobody wants a trip to the ER because of a toy.
  • Choking Hazards: When plastic toys break, they create small parts that little kids might swallow. Choking hazards are a serious risk, and broken plastic pieces are common culprits.

So, while plastic toys might look harmless, they’re packed with problems.

You might want to think twice before adding more to the toy box from chemicals to environmental nightmares and safety hazards.

Safe Toy Materials to Consider

So, you’re ready to toss those plastic toys out the window, right?

Before you do, let’s talk about the safer, more sustainable materials you can choose instead.

Here’s a rundown of the best options for eco-friendly, non-toxic toys that you and your kids will love.

Wooden Toys

Wooden toys are like the granddaddy of eco-friendly playthings.

They’re natural, durable, and biodegradable. I mean, who doesn’t love a classic wooden train set or a stackable block tower?

  • Natural: Wood is a natural material, making it a perfect fit for toys. It doesn’t have any of those scary chemicals.
  • Durable: Wooden toys can last for generations. Seriously, these things can take a licking and keep on ticking.
  • Biodegradable: When wooden toys do eventually break down, they won’t be sitting in a landfill for the next thousand years.

Look for toys with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification to ensure the wood comes from sustainable sources.

Silicone Toys

Silicone toys may be newer on the scene, but they’re winning hearts (and minds) for being an awesome alternative to plastic.

They’re non-toxic, durable, and a breeze to clean. Think about those squishy teething rings or those funky-shaped bath toys.

  • Non-toxic: FDA-approved silicone is free from harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PVC.
  • Durable: Silicone toys can withstand a lot of wear and tear. They’re like the superhero of toy materials.
  • Easy to clean: These toys can be tossed in the dishwasher—win-win for busy parents.

Popular silicone toys include brands like CaaOcho and Oli & Carol. Seriously, once you go silicone, you might never go back.

Fabric and Plush Toys

Who doesn’t love snuggling up with a soft, plush toy?

Fabric and plush toys are perfect for little ones. They’re soft, washable, and free from harmful chemicals, especially when you go for organic options.

  • Soft: Perfect for cuddling, especially at bedtime.
  • Washable: Many fabric toys can be tossed in the washing machine. Just imagine getting rid of all those germs!
  • Chemical-free: Stick to natural fibers like organic cotton to avoid any nasty chemicals.

Organic cotton, hemp, and wool are great choices. Brands like Under the Nile offer adorable plush toys that are as safe as they are cute.

Metal Toys

For older kids who might be a bit rougher on their toys, metal is a solid choice.

Think of those classic cars and trucks or even intricate puzzles.

  • Durable: Metal toys are tough. They can handle a lot of roughhousing.
  • Safe materials: Look for toys made from safe, non-toxic metals like stainless steel and aluminum.

Brands such as Green Toys and Green Tones make awesome metal toys that are safe and durable. Seriously, these toys could take a beating and still look good as new.

As you can see, there are plenty of safe, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic toys. From wooden wonders to squishy silicone and plush pals, the options are endless.

Your kids can still have a blast while you enjoy peace of mind.

Brands Offering Safe Alternatives

Let’s talk about some standout brands that are stepping up the game when it comes to eco-friendly, safe toys for kids.

Not only are these brands making sure your little ones are entertained, but they’re also ensuring our planet stays happy and healthy.

Green Toys

Green Toys is one of those companies that make you feel good about what you’re buying.

They make their toys from 100% recycled plastic, mainly from milk jugs. Yeah, you read that right old milk jugs get a new life as adorable and durable toys.

Plus, these toys are free from harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PVC.

  • Eco-friendly materials: All toys are made from recycled plastic.
  • Non-toxic: Free from harmful chemicals.
  • Durable: These toys are built to last, no matter how rough the play gets.

So go ahead, let your kids play with that recycled milk jug dump truck without any guilt.


When it comes to sustainable wooden toys, PlanToys is a name you can trust.

They use rubberwood from rubber trees that no longer produce latex, ensuring that no trees are cut down just for toy production.

Plus, they use non-toxic dyes and sustainable manufacturing processes, making PlanToys a perfect choice for eco-conscious parents.

  • Sustainable wood: Made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex.
  • Eco-friendly processes: Uses solar energy and biomass for production.
  • Non-toxic: Uses water-based dyes that are safe for kids.

When you buy a PlanToy, you’re not just treating your kid; you’re making a responsible choice that’s good for the environment.


Hape is another great brand that focuses on using sustainable materials for their toys.

Made primarily from bamboo and wood, Hape toys are durable and safe. They use water-based paints, ensuring that the toys are free from harmful chemicals.

Plus, Hape’s designs are super cute and creative, making them a hit with kids and parents alike.

  • Sustainable materials: Uses bamboo and wood.
  • Water-based paints: Ensures toys are chemical-free.
  • Innovative designs: Creative and engaging toys that kids love.

When you choose Hape, you’re going for toys that are as safe as they are fun, giving you another reason to smile as your kids play.

Brands like Green Toys, PlanToys, and Hape are leading the way in providing safe, eco-friendly toy options.

These companies prove that you don’t have to sacrifice quality or fun to make environmentally responsible choices for your family.

Tips for Choosing Safe Toys

Choosing safe toys for your children isn’t just about grabbing the cutest or coolest-looking item off the shelf.

There’s a lot more to consider, like safety standards, materials, and age appropriateness.

Here are some top tips for choosing toys that are not only fun but also safe for your little ones.

Check for Certifications

First things first: look out for those all-important certifications. They are your assurance that the toys meet safety standards.

Certifications to look for include:

  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials): Ensures toys meet rigorous safety requirements.
  • CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act): Mandates strict safety standards for children’s products.
  • EN71: This European standard covers mechanical, physical, flammability, and chemical safety for toys.

If you see these labels, you can be more confident that the toy is safe for your kids.

Read Labels Carefully

Never underestimate the power of reading labels. They provide crucial information about what the toy is made of and any safety warnings.

Before buying, check:

  • Materials used: Look for non-toxic, natural materials like wood, silicone, or organic cotton.
  • Safety warnings: Pay attention to age recommendations and warnings about small parts.
  • Manufacturer information: Knowing where and how a toy is made can give you extra peace of mind.

Reading labels might feel like it takes forever, but trust me, it’s worth the effort.

Avoid Toys with Small Parts

For younger children, especially those under three, small parts can be a big hazard.

  • Choking risks: Toys with small, detachable pieces are dangerous. Kids love to put things in their mouths, so avoid anything that could become a choking hazard.
  • Testing: Use the toilet paper roll test. If a toy or any part of it can fit inside an empty roll, it’s too small for young kids.

Keeping small parts away from little hands and mouths is crucial for preventing accidents.

Consider Age Appropriateness

Choosing age-appropriate toys is about more than just avoiding choking hazards. It’s also about matching toys to your child’s developmental stage.

  • Age labels: Always check the age recommendations on the packaging.
  • Developmental stage: Think about what skills your child is developing. For instance, puzzle toys might be great for toddlers learning problem-solving, but they might frustrate a younger baby.

Age-appropriate toys ensure that playtime is both safe and beneficial for your child’s growth.

With these simple yet effective tips for choosing safe toys. Your kids can have fun, and you can have peace of mind.


The good news is despite the harmful plastic toys about there, you’ve got plenty of safer, greener options.

Wooden toys are timeless and tough, silicone toys are super durable, and plush toys are your child’s soft, snuggly companions.

You even have metal toys that can withstand the most enthusiastic play.

Making the switch isn’t just about reducing the clutter of plastic in your home; it’s about giving your kids safe, sustainable playthings.

So go ahead, start swapping out those plastic toys for ones you can feel good about. Your kids will be just as happy and, you’ll finally be able to sleep without worrying about what’s hiding in that toy box.

And if you ever need a reminder that you’re doing great, just think about those wide, happy kid smiles, you know, the ones that make all the effort totally worth it.

Cheers to being a thoughtful (and eco-conscious) parent!

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