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  • Babies & Kids, Healthy Home

    The Ultimate Non-Toxic Toy Guide

    From quality wooden toys to the best eco-friendly plastic toys on the market, What Mommy Knows has compiled a list of the safest toys for your little ones!

    Continue reading to learn more about the manufacturing of toys as well as safety concerns in modern toys or continue scrolling to check out the safest (and best) toys on the market today!

    TOYS | Then VS. Now

    The manufacturing process of toys has changed quite a bit since our grandparents were children. In earlier years, toys were made using natural materials like solid wood, while today most toys are made from plastic, foam, particle board, and MDF. Although vintage toys may have been made from more natural materials, they often contained high amounts of heavy metals like lead, cadmium or arsenic in the paint and other components which have been now been deemed unsafe for children.

    Harmful Chemicals Still Found in Toys Today

    • FLAME RETARDANTS | Although flame retardants are found in so many of our household products (and children’s products too), they are actually quite harmful to our health. Chemical flame retardants are known to cause reproductive harm, endocrine problems, thyroid issues, cancer and are particularly harmful to fetal and child development. Often flame retardants are found in plastic toys, tents, tunnels, foam, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and so much more.
    • LEAD & HEAVY METALS | Lead is a neurotoxin that has been banned in house paint in the USA since 1978, but unfortunately it is still used in household items and even toys made abroad. It can cause irreversible brain damage leading to behavioral issues, learning problems, dementia, and other health issues. Lead also has not been banned for use in toys, believe it or not. In addition to lead, other heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and arsenic have been found in toys as well.
    • PVC / VINYL | PVC is the most toxic plastic for our bodies and the environment. Phthalates, organotins and other heavy metals are often added to PVC to make it flexible or rigid. PVC can cause respiratory problems, reproductive issues, weaken your immune system and contribute to cancer among other things.
    • PHTHALATES | Phthalates are found in soft plastic toys and scented toys. Phthalates disrupt your body’s endocrine system, cause reproductive and hormonal issues, increase your risk of cancer, and may be responsible for contributing to allergies and asthma.  Artificial scents contain phthalates so it is best to avoid anything with fragrance – in any and all products.
    • BPA & BPS | BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen and is often added to plastic. Even in small amounts, BPA has been linked to reproductive issues including infertility, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and obesity. While BPA is now banned in some baby goods, and many manufacturers have replaced it with BPS or other chemicals – which some scientist believe are just as toxic.
    • FORMALDEHYDE | Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can be found in some plastic toys, some paint, and in the glue used for wooden toys, especially ‘wooden’ toys made from plywood or composite wood.

    Learn more about chemicals in toys and other household products here.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) | Doesn’t the CPSC regulate the safety of toys?

    Over the years, the government realized something must be done to protect our children so in 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created to limit the amount of chemicals our children are exposed to. The job of the CPSC is to regulate the safety of toys, but they only do this to an extent in terms of chemical exposure, electrical and mechanical safety.

    Here’s why we can’t fully rely on the CPSC for toy safety:

    • Often times toys are recalled after complaints are filed. Then, by the time a recall is issued, the damage is already done. Popular recalls for unsafe amounts of lead include products from Melissa and Doug, Thomas the Train, & Fidget Spinners.
    • The CPSC is not able to check every specific batch of toys for hazards and contamination – such as lead paint. Unfortunately, this means toys containing unsafe amounts of chemicals or unsafe toy parts, may be sold.
    • Allowable amounts of chemicals have a history of changing as time progresses. For example, BPA, lead, phthalates and other harmful chemicals were allowed in children’s toys for decades (and still are to an extent – see below).
    • Lead is still legally allowed to be present in toys. The legal allowable amount of lead, a neurotoxin, in children’s toys is 90 ppm (parts per million) in the coating or paint, and 100 ppm in the substrate.
    • BPA is often replaced with other chemicals like BPS to which the safety has been debated.
    • Not all flame retardants are banned in children’s toys although studies show there is no need for them in our products, including children’s toys.

    And maybe MOST importantly…

    • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toys intended for children over 12 years old do not require any third-party testing in the USA.
    • Additionally, if a toy is intended for children age 6 and not intended for mouthing, the CPSC does not test toys for heavy metals – which I believe is a total disservice.

    This means if 2 year old Tommy is playing with a toy from 6 year old Susie’s toy box, he could potentially be playing roulette with toxins. Personally, I don’t care how old my kiddo is, I want to limit chemical exposure as much as possible.

    Why Avoid Toys (And Products) Made in China

    While avoiding toys made in China can be challenging considering 80% or more of toys are made there, it is important to note that Chinese factories are often poorly regulated with little oversight and not held to the highest standards. Workers are often treated unethically, inhumanely and subjected to poor, unsafe working conditions. Additionally, it is very possible that due to the lack of quality control and lax regulations in China, chemicals and toxins that are ban in the USA may very well make it into products that we import.


    The following list contains toy brands that I personally own and have thoroughly researched. From quality wooden toys to the safest, eco-friendly plastic toys on the market, you’re sure to find brands your little will love! Questions? Feel free to comment below or contact me!

    Plan Toys

    One of my favorite toy brands, Plan Toys, creates their collection from natural rubberwood (free of additives) using formaldehyde-free glue and non-toxic, heavy metal free dyes. The Plan Toys collection is extremely durable too – I credit that to the chemical-free kiln-drying process! Plan Toys crafts clutching toys, doll houses, play food, vehicles, games, blocks, educational and imaginary play toys like doctor kits and so much more! We have numerous favorites, but this fruit and veggie set is used daily. Made in Thailand.


    Made from solid wood and non-toxic, water-based stains, Grimms stacking toys are open-ended and perfect for any age! Since this brand is a bit on the pricier side, I did a ton of research prior to purchasing our first Grimms toy to really ensure they lived up to the hype. My thoughts? Grimms is a trust-worthy, transparent company that makes true heirloom toys. If you’re going to splurge on one toy from this collection, I’d suggest the XL rainbow – the uses are endless and quality is superior to other brands! Made in Germany.


    Haba uses sustainable wood to manufacture a vast range of toys including clutching toys, blocks, prams, games and much more. Non-toxic water-based dyes are used on all of their wooden toys. Haba’s plastic toys are made from ABS plastic or polypropylene, for the most part. Haba does, unfortunately, make their “Little Friends” collection from PVC – I was super disappointed to learn this. Most of their wooden toys are made in Germany, although some toys are manufactured in China. Note: I really, really am a big fan of this company. They are very transparent and specifically their wooden toys made in Germany are excellent, but the PVC plastic really irks me!

    Petit Collage

    Petit Collage makes non-toxic toys using recycled paper, vegetable ink and absolutely zero PVC! Traditional paper dolls, magnet sets, wooden pull toys, stickers, coloring books, and even this ferris wheel are just some of our favorites from Petite Collage! Made in China.


    Tegu solid wood magnetic blocks are made from sustainably sourced, FSC-certified Honduran hardwood and come in an assortment of colors and sizes! Tegu uses water-based pigments and paints that hold up exceptionally well. We’ve added several sets to our collection over the years! Made in Honduras.

    Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose creates a wide variety of solid wood blocks using non-toxic dyes. Made in the USA.

    Tender Leaf Toys

    Made from rubberwood, Tender Leaf Toys are similar Plan Toys, but it seems the quality of Plan Toys is better overall, making it my first pick. For example, the paint on Tender Leaf Toys sometimes chips unlike Plan Toys. But, at this time, Tender Leaf Toys offers a bit more variety when it comes to certain toys – which is why we have quite the collection from both brands! Here’s one of our favorites from Tender Leaf. Made in Indonesia.


    Holztiger makes cute wooden animals, like this cow, from solid beechwood and non-toxic, water-based paints and sealers. Made in Germany.


    Made from solid wood, Ostheimer animals are beautifully handcrafted using thin, almost stain-like non-toxic coloring. Made in Germany.


    Hevea makes natural rubber bath toys, bath mats, baby gear, and even stuff for your pup! Hevea bath toys don’t have holes, making them a mold-free zone – which I love. Hevea also uses vegetable and plant-based paints on all of their products. Made in Malaysia.

    Begin Again

    Begin Again creates cute natural rubber bath toys that my daughter adores – and I love that the holes are large enough to allow water to escape, therefore, inhibiting mold growth! Begin Again rubber toys do smell a bit like natural rubber when they first arrive, but the smell dissipates quickly. You can also soak them in vinegar to speed up the process.

    Begin Again also makes wooden toys using water-based dyes as well, but we do not own any so I cannot comment on the quality. Mostly made in China with select toys manufactured in the USA.

    Camden Rose

    Camden Rose carefully crafts beautiful wooden play kitchens and heirloom-quality toys made from solid hardwood and coated with food-grade finishes. Solid wood kitchen sets, kitchen accessories, dollhouses, Montessori toys, and so much more make up the Camden Rose collection. Ethically made in the USA.

    Elves and Angels

    Made from solid hardwood and pine, Elves and Angels offers a lifetime guarantee on their products including play kitchens, furniture, puzzles, and even dolls. Elves and Angels manufacturers their products without the use of particle board, MDF, or other cheaply made products and uses “Tried & True” linseed oil (the only linseed oil to my knowledge that is free of heavy metals) as a sealer. Made in the USA.

    Bannor Toys

    Solid wood toys made with non-toxic paints and stains make up the Bannor Toys collection. They even sell cute teethers made from silicone and wood like this one! Made in the USA.

    Maple Landmark

    Maple Landmark, a historically reputable company, creates solid wood toys. The Schoolhouse Naturals line from Maple Landmark does not contain any type of finish while other lines by Maple Landmark use a petroleum-based lacquer or urethane finish which you really wouldn’t want your little one mouthing. Made in the USA.


    lovevery play kit

    Lovevery uses solid wood, water-based paints, and organic cotton. Given this is a newer brand, and my daughter has pretty much outgrown it, I have yet to try their products. However, I have looked into them and definitely am excited to purchase from Lovevery when I have my next little one! Check them out for yourself here.

    Little Colorado

    Little Colorado products are mostly made from solid wood, although some products use plywood (specifically some of the painted products). Little Colorado toys can be purchased unfinished or finished using a non-toxic sealant. This cradle, our step stool, and my daughter’s table and chair set are some of our favorites from Little Colorado – they also make cute book shelves and toy boxes too! Made in the USA.


    We absolutely love our pickler triangle (with rock climbing board) and XL rocking boat from Wiwurka! This brand makes open-ended, aesthetically pleasing, heavy-duty, quality toys made from wood using non-toxic water-based dyes. You can order their products finished or unfinished from their website or Etsy. Made in Mexico.

    Open-Ended Creations
    Balance Board

    Open-Ended Creations makes one of the best curvy boards / balance boards on the market! Available in 6 different non-toxic finishes, these curvy boards are handmade from nine layers of Canadian Maple plywood using truly non-toxic glues. We purchased ours from Etsy! Made in the USA.

    Lifetime Climbing Dome

    This sturdy climbing dome is made from metal, free of heavy metals like lead and built to last! The brand offers a variety of colors and sizes too! This is a great alternative to the plastic versions made from PVC.

    North Star Toys

    North Star crafts affordable, non-toxic wooden trains, cars, boats, animals and other toys that are perfect for your baby or little one! All toys are made from a variety of woods including walnut, oak, and alder, then, finished with a food-grade mineral oil. Made in the USA.


    Made from 100% stainless steel, Kleyanimals keys and key rings are a safe option and close alternative to real keys. Kleyanimals keys are BPA, lead, cadmium, and toxin-free! Did you know almost all household keys contain unsafe amounts of lead and are not safe for babies to play with? In fact, there is often a Proposition 65 Warning that can be found on new keys. Made in the USA.


    Squigz, a Fat Brain Toy, are made from 100% food-grade silicone that is free of BPA and latex. Squigz are a great alternative to PVC suction toys and best of all can be used in the bath, on windows, floors, and so much more!

    Organic Stuffed Animals
    Elly Lu | Apple Park | Under the Nile
    Emma + Finn | Bears For Humanity

    Traditional stuffed animals often use synthetic chemicals in the manufacturing process which can be harmful to our bodies and our earth. These chemicals can be inhaled or absorbed through out skin. The following brands are ones I know, own, and trust!

    • Apple Park | Organic cotton, corn fibers, and natural silk are used to make this cute collection of stuffed animal favorites!
    • Elly Lu | OCS organic certified cotton, nontoxic dyes and organic buckwheat hulls make up the majority of their products with a small percentage of products containing hypoallergenic recycled polyfill and corn fiber fill. Check the fill ingredients for details.
    • Finn + Emma | Handmade using GOTS certified organic cotton and low impact dyes, Finn + Emma, ensures the highest standards for environmental, quality and labor protections at their fair trade facility.
    • Under the Nile | Manufactured using GOTS-certified organic Egyptian cotton, at a fair trade facility in Egypt, Under the Nile ensures all products are 100% free of BPA, PVC, formaldehyde, flame retardants, and heavy metals.
    • ‘Bears for Humanity’ | Made from 100% GOTS Certified organic cotton and filled with recycled polyester, this option is filled with recycled polyester, but still a better option than most conventional stuffies!


    Not all plastic toys are created the equal! BPA, BPS, phthalates, chlorine, and other chemicals can all leach out of plastic with each use. While we don’t have very many plastic toys, we do have a few from some of the safest brands on the market today. Continue reading to learn why these plastic toys made the cut!

    Green Toys

    My top pick for plastic toys is Green Toys. Made from 100% recycled milk jugs (non-leaching polyethene plastic), these toys hold up way better than other plastic toys and are more environmentally friendly too.

    Green Toys manufacturers cute watering cans, sand toys, doll houses, vehicles, kitchen accessories like tea pots, plates and utensils and of course, this cupcake set (a favorite in our home)! Made in the USA.


    Spielstabil toys are made of ABS plastic and do not contain BPA, PVC or phthalates, making them a safer plastic choice. Additionally, Spielstabil offers a 10 year warranty. Our favorites include these cool ice cream cones and this shovel! Made in Germany.


    Legos are made from ABS plastic – one of the safest plastics. Something to be aware of… while NEW legos are made safely, older vintage legos have tested positive for lead, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals just as many other vintage toys have. Made in Denmark, Hungary, Monterrey, Mexico and most recently China.

    American Plastic Toys*

    While American Plastic Toys, would not be my number one pick for plastic, it is still a better option than other popular brands. Personally, when choosing plastic toys, I’d always choose Green Toys over American Plastic Toys for several reasons: Green Toys is a ‘cleaner’ brand, more eco-friendly brand, and the quality is superior. Since Green Toys has a smaller selection, they don’t always have what I am looking for. For example, this small water moat was the perfect gift to keep my daughter occupied all winter long, but at this time, Green Toys doesn’t manufacture it yet! Disclosure: This is the only toy we own from American Plastic Toys so I cannot yet speak on the quality of their other items.

    American Plastic Toys uses safer materials and plastics such as polypropylene (~80%), polyethylene (~20%), and FDA approved colorants on most of their toys. None of their products contain phthalates or BPA. While a majority of their materials are sourced domestically, the company does import some small components, such as a fastener or sound part, on about 24% of their toys. Made in the USA.

    *I was hesitant to put American Plastic Toys on this list, but I know many people are looking for additional safe plastic options when it comes to certain toys so I added American Plastic Toys to the list. I still encourage you to shop the other more eco-conscious brands first or better yet, buy wooden toys!

    But, wait, what about these brands? Are they safe?

    Although the brands below are not ideal, as a rule of thumb, I would always choose one of the brands listed below rather than a ‘no-name’ brand or dollar store toy due to the fact that so often many of the generic, ‘no-name’ brands are manufactured as cheaply as possible at factories in China with little oversight. The chemical make-up of no-name products very well may (and often do) contain toxins. Continue reading to learn more.

    Melissa and Doug

    Everyone’s heard of Melissa and Doug! When you think about wooden toys, this is the brand that often comes to mind… except… most of their toys are not wood or at least not solid wood, instead they are made are plywood or plastic. Additionally, Melissa and Doug has had several recalls over the years regarding toxic heavy metals like lead found in their toys.

    While we generally avoid this brand, I would be OK with dress up costumes from Melissa and Doug (although they are polyester and often come with plastic toys that are iff-y). And to be completely transparent, my daughter does have the Melissa and Doug Disney Princess Magnetic Doll set – which she loves as well as some activity pads which are perfect for when we are on-the-go!


    One reason I like Ikea is because all materials used are listed on all products (ie: particle board, solid pine, polyester, and so on). Ikea also does not use PVC in the manufacturing of any of their toys – another plus! But, some toys do contain particle board and while they lack some transparency as far as the paint, glues, and finishes go, Ikea has claimed to use non-toxic, formaldehyde-free glues and finishes. In general, the brand tests pretty clean in terms of toxins and they are a conscious company, so I do purchase Ikea products from to time to time! Mostly made in China and Sweden. Side note: I also love Ikea’s live plant selection!


    Hape is not an ideal brand in my opinion, but the company is very responsive which I admire. Hape claims to have great oversight of their factory. We own this puzzle from Hape and so far so good! Made in China.

    Little Tikes

    Besides being plastic (not environmentally-friendly and contains questionable chemicals), the company also said, ‘yes, they use flame retardants’ and cadmium in their toys. Due to these concerns, I prefer to keep this brand outside. If we do purchase outdoor toys from Little Tikes, like this cute little car, we make sure to only purchase hard plastic toys which have less of a chance of leaching toxins. Made in the USA.


    Step2 doesn’t add flame retardants to their plastic, but in the past have said it is possible their products contain flame retardants in the plastic provided by the manufacturer. For this reason, I would choose Step2 over Little Tikes. With that being said, when choosing plastic toys for outdoor play, I always choose Step2 over Little Tikes for larger items. This water table is one of our favorites. We also scored the discontinued Step 2 hard plastic pool from a “Buy/Sell” group which we love – I highly recommend purchasing it, if you come across one! Made in the USA.

    Looking for other safe options?

    For more safe toy ideas, check out my Amazon Storefront! As always, thank you for your support and thank you for reading!

    Additional Reading:

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched; and products that we use personally, have used and would use in the future. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids, Clean Living, Healthy Home

    Non-Toxic Bath Time Essentials + Toys!

    bath nontoxic

    Cozy up with a bath time bedtime routine and these safe, non-toxic favorites for your little one! From organic towels to the top toys for the tub, you’ll surely find something to love!

    Organic cotton is best. We love GOTS certified Burt’s Bees towels as they are affordable, soft, and come in so many cute patterns like rosy flowers and little ducks! Another good option, includes these soft, ultra absorbent GOTS certified towels made in Turkey!

    Again, organic cotton is your best bet when it comes to anything going on or around your baby’s sensitive skin. Burt’s Bees wash cloths are what we use most in our home and I actually just ordered another set. Durable, soft and made from breathable 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

    Shampoo & Body Wash
    This is my absolute favorite shampoo and body wash for baby (and myself). It smells AMAZING and is both gentle and effective without harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances. The hypoallergenic formula uses certified organic plant, vegetable, flower and tree extracts and scented with organic sweet pea essence – yum! It also rinses easily and lathers less (so don’t expect a ton of suds). This has been our go-to for quite some time and I highly recommend it. Other shampoos/washes that we like are Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap, Earth Mama Lavender Foaming Soap or un-scented, and Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Wash. You’ll want to avoid these common ingredients that are known to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, neurotoxicity and/or skin irritation: parabens, synthetic fragrances, 1,2 dioxane, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium laureate, ceteareth, PEG chemicals, formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin. Stay tuned for a post on this!

    Experts say babies really don’t need lotion, but if your little one’s skin needs a little hydration, this is the best pick! Earth Mama is one of our ‘go-to’ brands that I really love and trust. This organic lotion comes unscented or scented (calming lavender and sweet orange). It’s great at moisturizing baby’s delicate skin and best of all contains no petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, or artificial fragrance. Hands down the best!

    You’ll want a non-toxic tub for your newborn that is BPA-, PVC- , and Pthalate-free at a minimum! The Stokee Collapsible Tub is a great option made of Polypropylene (PP) and Thermoplastic Elastomeric (TPE). The Boon Bath Tub is another great non-toxic choice that is also collapsible and simple to hang!

    Be sure to choose AVOID flame retardants that are found children’s pajamas! Look for the words “tight-fitting” and “NOT flame resistant” on the tag. Avoid polyester although is it usually inherently flame resistant, it still is essential made of the same components as plastic and contains chemicals you don’t want on your baby’s skin. When purchasing pajamas, organic is best, if possible. Your little one is in pajamas for the longest amount of time throughout the day, so by choosing organic, you are ensuring no pesticides or harsh chemicals snuggle up against their skin. My favorite organic PJ’s for babies and kiddos are: L’oved Baby (super soft), Hanna Andersson (durable quality), and Burt’s Bees (most affordable). I am also a big fan of these brands because they have matching jammies for me! Each of these brands also makes two piece sets as well. Check out my guide to organic clothing for your little one here!

    While I don’t think a bath robe is a necessity, especially for your little one, some kiddos LOVE them! This one comes in several colors and is made from thick, cozy, GOTS certified organic cotton. Burt’s Bees also makes this cute option for your baby!

    We LOVE this easy-to-clean and store potty! It comes in multiple colors and styles so you can choose what is best for your babe. It is completely free of BPA, phthalates, cadmium, chlorine, lead, and bromine making it one of the safest pottys on the market. Baby Bjorn also makes this compact version for smaller spaces and this toliet trainer if you’re looking for something to attach to your ‘big potty’.

    Unfortunately, many bathmats were and are made with PVC. And the bath is one place you want to really avoid PVC. Warm water temperatures cause chemicals to leach into the water to which they are then absorbed into your skin! We ended up replacing our old PVC mat with this one by Hevea. Made from 100% natural rubber with zero harmful chemicals or dyes, it was the best option I could find. It also comes in a natural rubber color. Now… true life… I was SUPER hesitant about purchasing a dark mat (I always loved the pretty pastel blue mats), but it actually didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. It worked well for us until we were able to redo our bathroom and purchase a tub with a textured bottom (#lifehack).

    Other options? Cotton mats! FYI: I contacted Hevea and they said in the future they will be working on a more colorful mat.

    Did you know that most “rubber duckies” are not made with rubber at all? They are usually made out of toxic PVC! If you are looking for a safer option, toys made from natural rubber, wood, or safe plastic like Green Toys, are your best options. Here are my top picks for safe bath time fun:

    Hevea Natural Rubber Duck
    Perfect for the bath or playtime, these pure natural rubber duckies come in several different colors and sizes! Each duck is hand painted and contains no holes leaving out the potential to trap water and mold. As one of my first purchases for my daughter, I loved that I didn’t need to worry if she also used it as a teether. Plus, they are completely plastic-free, pvc-free, bpa-free and compostable! The only ‘qualm’ is that sometimes they tip over in the bath, other than that, they are a great non-toxic option. Hevea also makes unpainted options like these and cute whale/turtle combo sets!

    Begin Again Aquatic Creatures
    These little aquatic sea creatures are perfect for the tub, beach, or pool! The large holes make them easy to drain (and prevent mold!). They are made from natural rubber and do have the rubber scent, but it dissipates after a few washes. We actually have 2 of these sets – one for outdoors and one for in! Made in China.

    Green Toys Bath Toys
    One of the only plastic toys you’ll see me recommend is Green Toys. Made from recycled milk jugs in the USA, they are a safe, eco-conscious choice for your little one. Green Toys contain no BPA, Phthalates or PVC. The colors do not fade like typical plastic and they are much more study too! This boat is one of our bath time favorites and comes in other colors too! It’s perfect for playing and helpful for hair washing! This seaplane is another fun bath time option.

    Plan Toys Bath Toys
    Plan Toys is one of my favorite, most trusted brands for toys (we have too many to count!) Made from sustainable, non-toxic rubberwood, formaldehyde-free glues, organic pigments, and water based dyes, these toys are extremely durable and will last forever! I could go on and on, but I’ll let you see for yourself! 🙂 Some bath toy favorites include the sealife set (pictured), sailboat / penguin duo, and the coastguard!

    Caacho Bath Toys
    Made of 100% pure, natural rubber, these bath toys are perfect for fun and teething. Each toy uses food-grade paint and is BPA, PVC, Phthalate, and Nitrosamine Free. Favorites from this brand include the seashorse (pictured), whale, and sea turtle! Be sure to air dry!

    Honeysticks Bath Colour Drops
    Made in New Zealand, these non-toxic drops make bath time so much fun! I love that they are fragrance-free and free of chemicals. Ingredients include: sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), citric acid (as in citrus fruits), dextrose (simple sugars), food grade colorings, magnesium stearate (simple salts) and cellulose (plant compound). Tip: We split these in half so that they last even longer!

    Honeysticks Bath Crayons
    Made from 100% pure New Zealand beeswax, soy wax and food grade pigments, we always have these bath crayons on hand in our home! Everything from the crayon to the packaging is sustainable and biodegradable. The wrappers are made from ‘crushed rock’ rather than plastic like other bath crayons and the tin can has holes on the bottom for easy drainage. Prettttty cool!

    Explore more of our bath time favorites by visiting our Amazon Storefront.  Thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission that helps offset our time writing and researching. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids, DIY & Recipes

    100 Fun (& Free) Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer

    Are you looking for a dose of inspirational fun this summer? Make the most of the season by cycling these creative activities into your routine!

    1. Plant your own vegetable garden and flowers!
    2. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
    3. Fill a pool with water balloons or have a water balloon toss competition.
    4. Create a ‘mud kitchen’.
    5. Wash the car.
    6. Create your own ‘Twister’ game using chalk or paint.
    7. Build a garden tee-pee or willow fort.
    8. Camp in the backyard. We love this ‘flame retardant-free’ tent option!
    9. Build a sandcastle (with the best sand toys ever!)
    10. Host a tea party.
    11. Use paint to stamp your family’s hand prints on a canvas board!
    12. Draw with chalk. And write inspirational messages for all to see!
    13. Write your own storybook and create your own illustrations.
    14. Host a campfire & snack on s’mores.
    15. Play with Walking Cups and flip them over for more open-ended uses.
    16. Ride a scooter – my kiddo loves zipping around on this one.
    17. Create a giant sized memory matching game with paper plates.
    18. Decorate your bike & parade down the street.
    19. Bury a time capsule.
    20. Decorate rocks and hide them around your yard.
    21. Fly a kite! This is our favorite brand.
    22. Play mini golf in the yard.
    23. Play croquet.
    24. Complete a puzzle.
    25. Build with magnetic Tegu Blocks.
    26. Make your own fairy garden.
    27. Make a bird feeder. Don’t forget to paint it!
    28. Paddle a canoe or kayak.
    29. Curl up with a new book in your favorite hammock!
    30. Clean out your closets and see what cool things you’ll find!
    31. Try yoga or a DIY fitness class. Take turns being the ‘instructor’.
    32. Play badminton.
    33. Play with bubbles. Best bubbles for only $2 and they’re non-toxic!
    34. Make your own slime.
    35. Picnic at a local park or in your backyard.
    36. Light up the night and go on a flashlight adventure!
    37. Make homemade popsicles. These molds will last a lifetime and are a great non-toxic, eco-friendly version!
    38. Bake homemade cookies (on stainless steel trays, of course!)
    39. Make edible ‘Dirt Pudding’ or simply bake a cake and decorate it!
    40. Go bike riding or rollerblading.
    41. Host a luau! Think: Hawaiian food, dress, and music!
    42. Jump in puddles! We love these boots for rain or snow – they’re ACTUALLY natural rubber unlike many other brands.
    43. Enjoy an at-home spa day! Let your little one do a ‘makeover’ using non-toxic nail polish like this one!
    44. Play in the sprinkler.
    45. Swim in the pool. Add freshly picked flowers for some natural fun.
    46. See how many creative uses you can come up with using open-ended silks.
    47. Create an obstacle course – indoors or out.
    48. Make your own wind chime using items from your home.
    49. Reuse cardboard boxes – create a marble run, fort, or play furniture!
    50. Create homemade musical instruments.
    51. Sing karaoke.
    52. Adopt a pet.
    53. Dye a t-shirt.
    54. Play ‘I-Spy’!
    55. Catch fireflies.
    56. Try a new sport.
    57. Use a water table for sensory fun! Try adding pebbles, sand, dirt, oatmeal, rice, beans, coffee, or pasta!
    58. Paint outside – easy clean-up!
    59. Pick berries at a local orchard or grow your own!
    60. Visit the beach.
    61. Explore a park.
    62. Go on a treasure hunt.
    63. Go horseback riding.
    64. Shop the local Farmer’s Market.
    65. Explore a local forest or pond.
    66. Build a fort.
    67. Visit a zoo.
    68. Gaze at stars!
    69. Go fishing.
    70. Visit a farm.
    71. Volunteer.
    72. Watch a movie outdoors.
    73. Photography Day! Let your kiddo take ‘instant pictures’ of your fun-filled day with this camera. Create a memory box or collage.
    74. Make your own pizza. Yum.
    75. Squeeze your own lemonade and setup a lemonade stand.
    76. Go on a nature walk. Collect the most unique rocks, leaves, and flowers you can find.
    77. See how many creative uses you can find for a jump rope (Example: tent building, pulley, etc.)
    78. Make your own window art.
    79. Create DIY play dough.
    80. Make a DIY swing for the outdoors – customize it to your liking!
    81. Create your own scrapbook.
    82. Create a DIY dream catcher.
    83. Make your own friendship bracelets.
    84. Make a ribbon twirler wand.
    85. Press flowers and create a collage.
    86. Host your own puppet show.
    87. Conduct your own science experiments.
    88. Make your own rock candy.
    89. Create DIY edible finger paint.
    90. Create your own ‘Family Olympics’ Day.
    91. Host a bean bag toss competition.
    92. Make your own paper beads.
    93. Create personalized jewelry using noodles, string, and paint.
    94. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner outside to change up the scenery! Choose a different theme for each meal and dress the part!
    95. Play ‘ghost-in-the-grave-yard’.
    96. Visit your local library.
    97. Freeze toys in a bucket or Legos in ice cube trays.
    98. Host a dance party.
    99. Create a ‘naturescape’ in your backyard!
    100. Use your imagination and get creative!!!!

    Most of all enjoy time with those you love! Happy Summer!

    Looking for outdoor favorites? Check out our favorite non-toxic toys on our Amazon Storefront!

    This post contains some affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids

    Best Outdoor Toys for 2022

    When I was a kid, the great outdoors captured some of my fondest memories and it seems my daughter has the same love for outdoor adventure as I do. Here are some of our favorite, safe outdoor must-haves!

    Step 2 Naturally Playful Sandbox

    Why I love it: This neutral sandbox is made from durable, hard polypropylene plastic (PVC-free), and made in the USA. It doesn’t fade in the sun, can double as a pool or even be used as a flower garden!

    Why I don’t: First, the lid doesn’t seal completely, but I haven’t really found a sandbox lid that does. Secondly, it’s plastic – but, at least it is made from the safest plastic available and has many uses after it’s original intended purpose.

    Step 2 plastics are made from polyethylene (#2 or #4) or polypropylene (#5).

    Berlin Flyer Ride Sport Wagon, All Terrain

    Why I love it: Made in the USA, this wagon is sturdy can hold 300 lbs! Complete with removable solid hardwood sides and air filled tires (not foam filled for this version), it really is an all-terrain wagon that is built to last. PLUS, it is easy enough to maneuver for my 2.5 year old daughter!

    Why I don’t: The bottom isn’t made from solid wood.

    Previously, we were gifted a similar Radio Flyer wagon. The back broke off within minutes of it’s first day of use. And although we were issued a refund, I do not recommend Radio Flyer for this safety reason.

    Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

    Why I love it: Perfect for hours of fun with your little one. Out of all the water tables I’ve looked at, this one seemed most fun (and really is)! Made in the USA of polypropylene plastic (#5).

    Why I don’t: Just plastic!

    Micro Kickboard – Mini Deluxe 3-Wheeled

    Why I love it: This super sturdy, lightweight scooter is perfect for your little one age 2-5! I love the adjustable handle bar and all of the color options! The handle bars use silicone grips rather than PVC too. We have this version, which includes LED light up wheels. And they make a larger version for kids age 5-12!

    Why I don’t: Made in China (hard to find items like this that aren’t!). A bit on the pricier side, but the quality is excellent compared to the competition so in my book, this was well worth it.

    Includes a 2 year manufacturers warranty.

    Little Colorado Child’s Picnic Table

    Why I love this: This solid pine kids picnic table, comes in a variety of colors and is partially assembled upon arrive. You have the option to purchase unfinished and finish to your liking. Little Colorado makes quality products all made in the USA, in Colorado!

    Why I don’t:
    No complaints yet!

    Play Platoon Spider Web Tree Swing – 40 Inch Diameter

    Why I love it: This easy to install swing has a 600 lb weight limit! It is lightweight and free of metal chains, so I don’t have to worry about the momentum of a heavy swing injuring my child.

    Why I don’t: Made in China.

    Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse

    Why I love it: Made from Cedar, large window openings, and super cute!

    Why I don’t: After two years of use, the plastic hinge on the door broke. We reattached it with a stainless hinge. Not too big of a deal?

    Looking for something a bit bigger, but don’t want to commit to a full blown ‘swing set with tree house’? I love this All Cedar Scenic Playhouse – especially if you want a clubhouse you can climb up to!

    Note: Made in Maine, Cedarworks Playsets are the absolute top-of-the-line for play sets, both outdoor and indoor. They are built from high-quality white cedar and non-toxic all around, but they are $$$. Additionally, they have cute chairs, benches and other backyard items for kids that aren’t as expensive as their full sets. I highly recommend this brand if you are willing to dish out the dough – their products will last a lifetime.

    Strider Balance Bike

    Why I love it: Perfect for ages 18 months to 5 years. An adjustable seat and handlebars, plus a 2 year factory warranty make this a no-brainer. Made in the USA.

    Why I don’t: There is always a concern with black plastic containing heavy metals like lead unless specifically tested.

    The Banwood Bike is another super cute option complete with a basket that my daughter adores! It is BPA, BPS, PVC and phthalate free.

    Lifetime Climbing Dome

    Why I love it: This sturdy climbing dome is made from metal, free of heavy metals like lead and built to last! The brand offers a variety of colors and sizes too!

    Why I don’t: It’s more expensive than plastic competitors

    Best Floor Sand & Water Table American Plastic Toys Sand & Water Playset is perfect for floor play and is made with BPA and phthalate-free plastic. Made in the USA with domestically sourced plastic and materials.

    Best Pool for Toddlers: Step2 Play & Shade Pool made in the USA from polypropylene plastic (#5). Perfect for your little one!

    Best Watering Can & Bucket Sets: Green Toys Watering Can Toy and Green Toys Sand Play Set with Bucket Made in the USA from 100% recycled milk jugs, Green Toys are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They contain no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings unlike many other plastics.

    Best Bubbles: Pustefix Bubbles are the best (and safest) bubbles you will ever buy! They produce tons of bubbles with just one blow. Trust me – they will not disappoint! Made in Germany.

    Best Croquet Set: Plan Toys Wooden Croquet Set is sustainably crafted from chemical free rubberwood, formaldehyde-free glues, organic pigments, water based dyes, and tested to meet and exceed North American and European toy standards! Plan Toys is one of my favorite, most trusted brands. Made in Thailand.

    Best Wooden Toddler Swing: EcoTribe Wooden Horse Made from chemical- free, untreated wood, this swing is perfect for ages 6 months to 3 years. We use it both indoors and out!

    Best Ball: Crocodile Creek Heavy-duty inflatable balls that are made from high-quality natural and synthetic rubber. PVC & BPA Free. *Personally, I wish they were made from natural rubber only, but unlike most play balls on the current market, they are at least PVC and BPA free. If you find one, let me know!

    Best Jump Rope: Green Toys Jump Rope Made from 100% recycled plastic with a 100% cotton rope this jump rope is BPA-free, PVC- free, and Phthalates-free. Made in the USA.

    Explore more of our outdoor toy favorites including bikes and trikes, swings and things, plus water, sand and land toys by visiting our Outdoor Toys section on our Amazon Storefront. Enjoy the sunshine & thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids, DIY & Recipes

    DIY: IKEA Play Kitchen Hack

    ikea kitchen diy play

    After searching high and low for a “cute, actually non-toxic, less-than-$1000-Play-Kitchen”, I decided to get CrEaTiVe and try my hand at an “IKEA Play Kitchen Hack”.

    After a quick internet search, I realized all of the “hacks” I found used the same materials with toxic chemicals: spray paint, PVC backsplash, foam board, and more spray paint. I wanted something different… something better… so I started to brainstorm cute and creative non-toxic solutions. And here’s what I came up with…



    Paint knobs, handles, and kitchen prior to assembly.
    I was so excited to get started on my project that I had my husband put the whole kitchen together prior to painting, and even though it turned out perfectly, I recommend painting BEFORE you assemble. This will save you time taping.

    Tape & Paint
    After assembly, I used this Painter’s Tape to tape the areas I did not want painted. Then, painted the remaining areas with 2 coats of ECOS Paint in Eggshell. For this project, I did not use a primer and so far, after 2 years of daily play, the kitchen still looks just as good. But, you may want to use a primer just in case!

    Drill Hole & Attach Knobs
    After the paint was dry, I removed the tape and created “knobs for the burner” by drilling four holes, slightly larger than the size of the screw, into the base of the kitchen. By making the holes slightly larger, you are allowing the wooden knobs to turn once they are attached. Then, attach the knobs. Pro-Tip: If you are going to paint the knobs like I did, painting prior to attaching will save you time.

    Attach Handles
    Next, I attached the unfinished beech wood handles, to the microwave and lower cabinets. Smaller screws may be purchased or simply add a couple washers to the back like we did. Another alternative may be these wooden handles, but they do have a finish so you may want to sand it off. Pro Tip: If you want the handles to fit perfectly in the pre-drilled IKEA Kitchen holes, look for handles that have a 5″ Hole-to-Hole Distance.

    Attach “back-splash” and create matching towel!
    I pinned a piece of 12.5″ X 26.5″ 100% cotton fabric to the back of the IKEA kitchen using a regular push-pins. Then, I cut a 20″ X 32″ piece of fabric, folded it in half, and sewed the seams together to form a matching towel! The nice thing about using fabric is there are so many options! Plus, should your little one get bored, you can easily switch them to a new theme or color. Pro-Tip: While you can use other backings, this is the least toxic, I option I found. The problem I had with many of the “super cute” IKEA play kitchen hacks was they often use PVC (vinyl) and other toxic backings that may contain lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and who knows what else!

    Insert the stainless steel pan into the “sink” hole! And voilà! There you have your non-toxic IKEA Play Kitchen Hack!

    Now onto the really fun part…
    Must-Have Kitchen Accessories!

    1. Plan Toys Wooden Fruit & Vegetable Cutting Set
      This is my daughter’s favorite. Excellent quality, wooden fruits and veggies are attached with velco and able to be sliced. plays with it everyday! I highly recommend it!
    2. Tender Leaf Ice Cream Cart
      Another favorite that is used daily! Love the magnetic ice-cream and cones.
    3. IKEA Stainless 10-Piece Cookware and Utensil Set
      Kitchen Must-Have for the little chef in your home!
    4. Green Toys Tea Set
      Perfect accessories for this cute, little kitchen.
    5. Green Toys Cupcake Set
      One of the most popular items in our “kitchen”.
    6. Plan Toys Food & Beverage Set
      Adorable set with lids that come off the jam and honey!
    7. Plan Toys Breakfast Menu
      Eggs, bacon, salt and pepper with a “shake”! Love, love, love!
    8. Plan Toys Baking Utensils
      Great for the “kitchen” or play dough fun! P.S. Looking to make your own natural dough at home? Check out my DIY Play Dough post.

    Looking for more imaginative play ideas?
    Shop our Amazon storefront faves!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” We only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched as we pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.