It might surprise you to know that many of the toys and products marketed to children are made from dubious materials that are harmful to both your children and your planet. Want to make sure your child's toys are as natural as she is? Here's how to green your kids' toys:

  1. Say no to vinyl: PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is in tons of kids' toys and products ... even ones that you don't necessarily think of as plastic.  It is found in infant teethers, dolls, bath toys and even school backpacks.  PVC is terrible for the environment, as it releases the known carcinogen, dioxin, into the atmosphere during production.  Many PVC products are also laced with lead and phthalates to color plastics and make them more flexible. 
  2. Swap meet: Instead of buying new toys every week, bring a box of your old toys to a friend’s house and bring a box of their old toys home.  Swap them back after a few weeks. 
  3. Think green: Look for FSC-certified wood and organic fabrics when choosing green toys for kids.
  4. Unplug: Steer clear of toys that require electric power to operate.  Tap into the renewable energy found in your kids and look for toys that they push, pull, open or close themselves.  Simpler toys are not only more entertaining for your kids, they also better for your sanity than those than continually repeat the same music or commands.
  5. Keep 'em clean: Even eco-savvy toys will get grungy and germy with enough use.  Keep them clean and toxic-free with safe, natural cleaners.  And the best part is that when you use non-toxic ingredients such as water or vinegar, even young children can help you do the cleaning (with supervision, of course). So give your child a rag and spray bottle filled with warm water and a splash of vinegar and let him disinfect his train set or dolls.

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