How do you know if the toys you give your kids are really as eco-friendly as they claim to be? Wouldn't it be great if there were some unbiased organization that could evaluate toys and let you know which ones are safe for your children and the planet? Well, guess what ... there is!

The Second Annual Eco-Friendly Toy Test, sponsored by Goddard Child Development Centers and EcoChildsPlay will evaluate the best green toys for preschool and early elementary-aged children based on the creative, child-engaging qualities, the interactive qualities, the price, and the eco-friendliness of the product. Here are the criteria that are used for judging toys:

  • the toy is eco-friendly
  • the toy is affordable (under $25)
  • the toy encourages creative, social and engaging play activities
  • the toy is interactive and lends itself to child-initiated play
  • the toy is appropriate for preschool to early elementary school-aged children 
The green toy submissions will be tested by Goddard preschoolers and also by a cyber friend of mine, Maryanne Conlin. Maryanne is a fellow green mom and blogger as well as co-founder of the Greenmoms Carnival (@greenmoms). Maryanne will be checking the toys to make sure they get the green mom's stamp of approval.

The contest is open to environmentally safe toy submissions until Oct. 1, 2009, and the winners will be announced at the end of October. To enter, download the Eco Friendly Toy Test entry form and read the guidelines. Readers can also nominate green toys by commenting on Eco Child's Play or on Twitter (@EcoChildsPlay) using the hashtag #bestgreentoys.

Want to see which toys have already been nominated? Check out the Flickr Stream of favorites and upload your own favorite while you're there.

Photo: melita tubbs

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