This week in New York City, a giant Pikachu
and a life-size Ugly Doll
faced off against hordes of baby Vamplets
and scrumptious Pancake Puppies
. No, it's not the latest trend in WWF Championship Wrestling, it's Toy Fair 2010! With more than 100,000 products on display during this year's annual event, Toy Fair is a dream come true for any kid -- but, alas, no one under 18 is allowed at this trade show that treats toys like serious business.
A first at this year's Toy Fair was the Earth-Friendly Product Zone featuring eco-friendly playthings. And though the green toys were very much outnumbered by the other 1,100 or so exhibitors' products, there were some really fun and exciting new items that are sure to find their way into a toy store near you. Here are our Top 10 Green Toys of 2010:
1. makedo Kit for One (69 pieces):
One of the cutest things to come out of Australia since Baby Uggs, makedo's connector system takes the concept of reuse to a whole new level. Using nylon connectors, hinges and a safe construction tool, kids can turn found objects -- including cardboard, fabric and plastic -- into anything they want, from the most fantastical to the downright ordinary. Best of all, when that rocket ship or cardboard puppy has lost its appeal, it can be dismantled and the pieces used to create new toys again and again
. Available in free play kits or guided Find & Make kits that include instructions and photos to construct specific projects. Available at specialty toy stores in the U.S. starting May 2010, $20.
2. Sprig Toys Dolphin Explorer Boat:
Sprig's eco-friendly, kid-powered, battery-free toys are clearly some of the most thoughtfully designed items out there. The toys are molded from Sprigwood, a durable, child-safe material made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic, and are paint-free. Sprig's offerings range from Eco-Trucks and a Princess Playhouse to EcoBlocks and a safer stacking toy (with no center post) for toddlers. Try the Dolphin Explorer Boat, great for bath, beach and pool -- complete with two boats, a captain and mother and baby dolphins. It's been named 2010 Specialty Toy of the Year. Sprig was recently been acquired by toy giant WHAM-O, so expect prices on the Sprig line to drop about 40 percent, and look for a new line of Sprigwood Frisbees in the near future. Find it for $23.57 at Amazon.com
3. Clementine Art Natural Modeling Dough:
Clementine's simple, wholesome and clean art supplies were developed by a teacher working at an art studio in Colorado. Described as "naturally non-toxic," the company's products are produced in the United States to meet rigorous safety standards, with no chemical dyes or other additives. Though its full line -- including soy crayons and markers -- deserves to be in your kids' hands, the Natural Modeling Dough is a must-buy. With a soft, squishy texture that's crumble-free, the three varieties are naturally colored with turmeric, carmine and spinach, and are scented with yummy natural lemon, lime and strawberry scented extracts. It's $9, at Amazon.com
4. Eco-Kids eco-eggs easter egg coloring kit:
Add an extra serving of vegetables to your kid's day this Easter, with Eco-Kids' new vegetarian version of the classic egg coloring kit, which comes complete with dissolvable vegetable capsules in five vibrant hues. Colored with extracts from purple cabbage leaves, spinach, purple sweet potatoes, and more, it also includes a soy crayon for drawing designs on eggs. This is the newest addition to Eco-Kids' line of adorable, natural art supplies that are made with colorful fruit, plant and vegetable extracts, including an eco-paint that's also available gluten-free. Available at the Eco-Kids Web site
starting next week, and at select Whole Foods Market locations
beginning March 4, for $9.99.
5. Green Toys My First Green Toys Block Set:
This year, Green Toys debuts its My First Green Toys line, eco-friendly, safe products for the younger set, ages 6 months and up. The Block Set contains 18 stackable, boldly-colored blocks that are oversized and lightweight, making it easy for tiny hands to stack and unstack. Blocks contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings, and are made in the United States from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers, which saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Available in March at specialty toy stores, $24.99.
6. Gibbon Classic Slackline (15 meter):
Looking for a new way to sneak some exercise into your kid's day? Hook up a Gibbon Slackline in your back yard or local park, and turn boring into big fun. Slacklining uses a 2-inch-wide piece of webbing stretched tight between supports -- usually trees or fence posts-- at a height of 2-feet and up. Once it's set up, the "slacker" can stand on it, balance, walk around, even do some pretty fancy tricks
as skills develop, all the while getting some great outdoor exercise and building core strength. Slacklining has been around for years in Germany, but has only recently found a following in the U.S. It's $79.95 at Amazon.com
7. Plan Toys Green Dollhouse:
Plan Toys' Green Dollhouse proves you're never too young to learn how to live green. Complete with wind turbine, solar cell panel, rain barrel, sun shade and recycle bin, the dollhouse is made from non-toxic, natural materials, including organic rubberwood, non-toxic glue and water-based dyes. The house is divided into several rooms that can be customized with furniture and accessories -- there's even a vegetable garden you can buy to teach children about growing food, $182.56 at Amazon.com
8. Global Green Pals:
Global Green Pals
Global Green Pals are a new line of soft, 12-inch dolls made of Oeko-Tex 100 certified organic cotton, and stuffed with 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic PET bottles. With names such as Carbon Offset Chet, Clean Air Kate and Recycle Kyle, each doll comes with a detailed tag that tells the character's story and offers kid-friendly "green tips" on how to help the planet. A portion of every purchase helps support environment efforts globally, through One Percent for the Planet
, $25-$32.96 at Amazon.com
9. Thames & Kosmos Power House Green Essentials Edition:
Thames & Kosmos
This extensive hands-on kit will keep your budding Einstein busy for hours on end. The Green Essentials Edition is a trimmed-down version of Thames & Kosmos' original Power House, with 30 of the best experiments and 10 most important building projects, including a lemon battery, wind power generator, solar oven and a solar cell array. Projects are explained in the context of diary entries from a group of young explorers who are learning to live a sustainable existence on an island, and must implement real-world versions of the projects that kids are completing in the kit, $60.46 at Amazon.com
10. Dandelion Earth-Friendly Goods Bamboo Zoo Collection:
Re-Think It, Inc.
Lions, monkeys and bears, oh my! Dandelion introduces its new Bamboo Zoo line of plush animals, made from sustainable bamboo velour that has a natural luster and feels like silky soft fur. The material is produced from actual bamboo, which is a sustainable and renewable resource that requires no pesticides, and the toys are stuffed with natural corn fibers. Choose a lion, monkey, bear or giraffe to cuddle up with your little one, and rest easy knowing that Dandelion products are tested above current U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
standards. Available at specialty toy stores in May, $27.99.
Related: How to Be Self-Reliant, Eco-smart and Financially Savvy in 2010