Finding fun, educational toys that are good for Mother Earth isn't always easy. Here are 14 green toys we recommend for Earth Day ... or any day you'd like play the eco-friendly way. They're fun, they're safe, and they teach kids a little something, too.

Toys for Toddlers

Stacking Tree Who says stacking toys need to have colored rings? This little guy is all about green--with eight pieces of wood vibrantly colored with different shades of water-based green dye. Thread them on the trunk as you talk about colors, or sort them by size. Any way you stack it, your toddler will get a chance to pair and pattern, as she builds different versions of her own little tree. Simple fun, this toy can also tout itself as one of the greenest on the market--made from rubberwood trees that can no longer produce latex, with a manufacturing process designed to reduce waste and save energy. A classic, quality-made toy with a green twist. (Plan Toys, $23.99)

Mini Garbage Truck If you're going to buy your child a toy truck, why not make it a recycling truck! This bright green one, with the universal recycling symbol on the side, practices what it preaches. Made from super green rubberwood trees and colored with a water-based dye, this is one of the most eco-friendly and toxin-proof toys around, clean and pure right down to the formaldehyde-free glue used to put it together. When it comes to repeat play value, this one has a ton, with a chunky design that stands up to heavy-duty play and a bin that can be filled and dumped--just like the real thing! (Plan Toys, $16.88)


Joobles Knit Animal If you're looking for a cuddly product that nails the trifecta for being safe, responsible, and lovable, look no further than this line of stuffed animals. Made in Peru by a family-operated company, Joobles are created using organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes, and are handknit in small worker collectives that provide valuable jobs and training. Best of all, they're irresistibly soft and squishy! Good luck choosing just one from the dozen animals, which can be paired with matching cute-as-can-be cardigans and blankies! (Fair Indigo, $25.00)

Toys for Preschoolers

A Day on the Farm Green may be big these days, but Imagiplay was looking out for Mother Earth long before it became a toy industry trend. Made from sustainable hardwoods and hand painted with non-toxic, child-safe paints, these toys are built to last. If you've got a preschooler who gravitates towards plastic play sets, consider this handmade wooden alternative, complete with 11 wooden animal figures and an easy-to-assemble barn, pig-pen, and chicken coop. Our only gripe? No directions! Still, kids can easily build this farm with a peak at the box and a little help from mom and dad. One of the cutest and greenest toys we've seen in a long time, with all the bright colors and kid-appeal of its plastic cousins, but none of the safety concerns. Ringing in at less than $30, we think it's farm-tastic! (Imagiplay, $26.99)

Natural Art Supplies Scribbling and sculpting are favorite kid activities. But for parents, markers and glue that reek of chemicals can be a major turnoff, especially if your child's art supplies spend as much time in her mouth as on her paper. This brand takes non-toxic to a whole new level, from crayons made of kosher soy wax and Mayan mineral pigments to glue created out of water and natural non-animal adhesives. Even the modeling dough is made primarily from wheat flour, salt, water, and soybean oil (and is naturally colored with spinach, turmeric, and carmine). And the best part? They produce even better results than their chemical-based counterparts! Get the art table set, and get ready to be inspired. (Clementine, Modeling Dough: $8.99, Soy Crayon Rocks: $5.49, Soy Crayons: $5.49, Natural Glue: $5.49)

Dino Rig Go on an indoor-outdoor adventure--no batteries required! This Jurassic Park-inspired playset is great for kids just getting their feet wet with dinosaurs--in the house or in the sand box. The mother and baby dinosaurs, adventure guide figure (a.k.a. Rex Jungle), and adventure truck are all made of an eco-friendly, thoroughly-tested material called sprigwood--a mix of recycled plastic and reclaimed sawdust. Designed in Colorado and made in Canada, this product is good for the planet all the way around. (Sprig, $24.99)

Twig Blocks Blocks are the ultimate open-ended toy. These blocks bring something new to an old favorite: not only can they be stacked like regular blocks, they can nest inside each other, thread together, and intertwine. The 72 candy colored pieces are precision cut to fit in and around each other. Slide a rectangular log into a square's perfectly sized hole, or nest several shapes together to create elevators, skyscrapers, or robots. In addition to fueling imagination and spatial awareness, these addictive puzzle blocks are also good for the planet, created with non-toxic dyes and renewable wood materials, and packed in a sturdy but simple cardboard box. (Fat Brain Toys, $50)

Tea Set Break out the goodies, this tea set is ready for action! Lead-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and FDA approved for eating and drinking, this Made-in-the-USA number has safety in spades. It's made entirely from recycled plastic, and that's good for the Earth, but beyond that, this set is sturdy, pretty, and affordable. So whip up some cucumber sandwiches and grab a picnic blanket. We see hours of pretend play in your future! (Green Toys, $18.25) 


Believe Polar Bear Every child needs a stuffed animal to snuggle up to, but so many out there are made of gross synthetic materials and dyes. This polar bear is au natural; made of organic cotton, colored with plant-based dyes, and stuffed with corn fiber. The "organic" is important here, because cotton grown traditionally is one of the most pesticide-laden crops in the world. Chemical-free cotton means it's safer for your child, and better for the planet. This polar bear's texture is reminiscent of terry cloth, in a good, familiar way. And, much like a towel, it can be washed and dried multiple times without loosing its shape. Polar bears are an important symbol of the green movement, reminding us of our duty as stewards of the planet. We like the big one for its huggable quality, but if it's not in your price range, the smaller one is a cutie, too. (Dandelion, $39.99 for the big one, $19.99 for the small one.) 

Toys for Elementary-Age Kids

Sweater Puppets When it comes to feeding a child's imagination, nothing beats simple, open-ended toys. These hand-crafted puppets are just the ticket. Owner and designer Josh Title constructs each puppet from washed secondhand sweaters, which means that each puppet is as uniquely adorable as the child who brings it to life. Using recycled materials instead of new ones also means that this company and its customers leave a much smaller footprint on the planet. Plus, ten percent of the profits go towards a nonprofit helping children in need. Though these puppets run a bit steep at $35 a pop, this product's artisan quality and play value far exceed the price tag. (Cate&Levi, $35)

Butterfly Garden Kit Ready to sow the seeds of environmental awareness? Start with this ready-to-post package containing everything your child needs to make a beautiful butterfly garden! Zinnia, Sweet William, Aster, Candy tuft, and Marigold seeds germinate right in the bag, and can be replanted outside when the time is right. Gardening is a lesson in the wonders of science, and gives kids a greater appreciation of nature and their responsibility to protect it. An additional bonus? A portion of the proceeds go to organizations that fund breast cancer research. (Blooms for a Cause: $7.99) 

Canvas Storybook Got an amateur author or artist on your hands? Give him a blank canvas...literally. This eco-friendly cloth book inspires kids to come up with unique stories and create innovative illustrations that go beyond basic pencil sketches. High-quality tools like bright acrylic paints, hand-dyed patterned fabrics, delicate ribbons, and glass and wood beads put creativity at your child's fingertips. As story building works the imagination, cutting, painting and beading strengthens hands for writing. Minimal packaging and 100% post-consumer waste materials make this fun project easy on Mother Earth. Going green never looked so good! (Artterro, $22.99)

Panda's Pick Mancala Mancala, the ancient counting game where each player tries to collect pieces in their cups, is a great logic builder. This version is eco-tastic because it's made out of bamboo: one of the most sustainable materials in the world. It's organic, biodegradable, and regenerates quickly--growing as much as 75 feet in 45 days! The game's playing pieces are simple stones of different shapes and colors. Minimal packaging is another eco-bonus, and while it doesn't include instructions for the game of mancala, finding directions online is a snap. (Schylling, $8.99)  

Snap Circuits Green Alternative Energy Kit Calling all future engineers and the parents who love them! Do you have a kid who takes apart your gadgets, just to get a peek at what's inside? This kit lets her get elbow-deep in electronics, safely, while leaving your gear intact! Packed with real circuits and components that snap together like LEGO onto a plastic grid, this green version of the popular toy inspires kids to explore alternative ways to generate electricity. Kids can charge a battery using solar energy, juice a digital clock with a can of soda, work a hand crank, make a radio powered by the wind...and over 100 other cool eco experiments. A snappy way to explore green science! (Elenco, $69.95) 

For more ideas on eco-friendly parenting, check out our Earth Day page.