sometimes old school is the best school … children’s toys (then and now)…

one of my best girlfriends suggested i post an article about eco-friendly kids’ toys. i don’t claim to be any sort of expert in this arena (unless you count our two four-legged kids) – but i can boast that i still have my easy bake oven (proudly displayed in our kitchen) and lots of fun memories of the imaginative games my sister and i used to play (there were no x-box or wii back in the day)…

kids are inundated with the latest and greatest (usually battery operated) toys. most of them are heavy on the plastic and light on the imagination, problem solving and interactive play that my sister and i enjoyed as kids. i remember being outside all day long, riding bikes, playing hopscotch, waiting for the dreaded shout of our mom from the porch that it was “time to come in!”  (when was the last time you heard that in the neighborhood?). plus, the batteries are thrown in the bin; they have a shorter lifespan due to their trendiness and their poor construction – all further sealing their fate in the landfill.  if you do a google search for “eco friendly toys”, over 42 million results pop up. crazy! what’s a parent to do?

melissa & doug’s farm chunky puzzle

sarah told me about a company called melissa & doug – a husband and wife team,  in business for 20 years, specializing in quality, wooden puzzles and games. durable and brightly colored, these toys will provide your child with endless fun and more than likely, survive to entertain more children when donated or sold at a yard sale.

i also found these websites: – which has a growing database of chemical ratings of items in our everyday lives. they just published their findings of tests on nearly 700 children’s toys. and good guide – a fantastic resource for ratings of natural, safe, healthy and green products.

mille bournes!

some of the best games for me are the non-battery operated ones:  trivial pursuit, mille bournes, dominoes, scrabble – did you know scabble has a new card version? called scrabble slam, a fast paced word game – i hope santa puts one in my stocking!

scrabble slam!

and finally, time magazine had a piece called the power of play-doh (i can still remember that wonderful smell!). nancy gibbs proposes that maybe, our newly found frugality will cause us to return to toys that inspired us, and challenged us, and most of all, created indelible memories into adulthood.

i’d love to hear about some of your favorite childhood toys!

*slinky image from and their post, “7 retro toys”

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Filed under eco tips, modern living

2 responses to “sometimes old school is the best school … children’s toys (then and now)…

  1. Patty

    I give out Playdoh at faire and laugh over the people that read the notice now that it includes wheat products.
    Friends of mine will play Uno for hours at parties. Of course my favorite toy is still books. Hours of entertainment and being able to share with friends.

  2. Jennifer

    Well 2 of my favorite toys were my marbles and my jacks… neither of which mom enjoyed, because inevitably she would find them in the carpet with her foot… oh well provided me with hours of fun! 😀

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