Category: Toys

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Non-Toxic Toys

This post contains affiliate links. You can read about my disclosure policy here.

Over the years, I have done a lot of research into the best non-toxic toy companies for babies and toddlers. I have also had the opportunity to accumulate toys from most of the brands featured.

Several factors that I use to evaluate safe non-toxic toy brands include, among other things, whether the toy company is reputable, has a proven safety track record, uses non-toxic finishes and materials, or is based in the USA. (Note that I did not disqualify a company solely because their toys might be produced in another country.)

I have broken down my list into companies that focus primarily on wooden toys versus other safe materials.

Non-toxic wooden toy brands:
Other non-toxic toy brands:


Holiday Gift Idea: Best Superhero Cape

Holiday Gift Ideas - Superhero Costume

Being a superhero should not be only relegated to Halloween. Max loves being a superhero 365 days out of the year – with or without a cape.

Since he is at the perfect age for imaginative play and playing dress-up, I previously purchased some superhero capes for him off Amazon. But, the material was thin and the quality wasn’t great.

I went looking for a high quality cape that would be able to withstand his rough and tumble play.

That’s when I found ApplesauceLLC by Sarah Moos on Etsy. She makes the most awesome superhero capes I’ve come across. (I especially love the superhero comic lining option.) I reached out to Sarah who generously sent me this cape and matching accessories for review.


The Ultimate Gift Guide: Best Toys for Toddlers (2-3 Years Old)

This post contains affiliate links. You can read about my disclosure policy here.

A list of the best toys for toddlers that have been mom-vetted and toddler-approved! Any of these toys would make great birthday or holiday gifts for kids ages 2 to 3 years old.

Since we are approaching the holiday season, I figured it’s a good time to compile my ultimate gift guide regarding the best toys for toddlers, ages 2 to 3 years old.

This is the beginning of my favorite age because you can finally start getting kids more interesting toys that they won’t grow out of as quickly. And what I really mean by that is: You can get toys you might want to play with too!

My guide includes all the toys that we already own and love or toys that are currently on my wish list. Keep in mind that this list is geared more towards non-electric and/or educational type toys. I’ve found that I naturally gravitate towards STEM toys or the ones that inspire creative play. 🙂

Also, the toys on this list are not going to be what’s the hottest, trendiest toys of the year but classics that should withstand the test of time. (Then again, time is relative because kids can be so fickle.)


Best Non-Toxic Crayons for Toddler Guide

I recently started researching non-toxic crayons because Max, the toddler, loves to draw with crayons and Alexa, the baby, loves to put said crayons in her mouth.

Let’s just say I was more than appalled to learn that crayons have been a source of lead (1994), mercury (2013, Philippines), and asbestos (2000 and as recently as 2015)!

Most commercial crayons (e.g. Crayola) are made mainly from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum byproducts. It starts as a grayish-black sludge that is left over after the petroleum refining process, once all of the other petroleum-based products (gas, pavement, oil) have been extracted. It is then bleached and processed, both steps that require the use of toxic chemicals. Paraffin is generally considered to be non-toxic but the process of making it certainly is not!

With that being said, these are the three main waxes from natural and renewable resources that can be used to make crayons:

Beeswax – made from the honeycomb. It can be a little sticky but pure beeswax crayons smell delicious!

Soy wax – made from soybeans. Soy wax is the softest of the three waxes and may be less durable. It is also worth noting that soybean wax is likely non-GMO and may contain pesticide residue.

Carnauba wax – made from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. It is the hardest of the three waxes so it may be more brittle and prone to breakage.

Keep in mind that the main drawback to these natural waxes is that they will not perform as well as paraffin wax. You’re not going to be an art major drawing with these crayons. But, for babies and toddlers, they are the safest options.

List of Best Non-Toxic Crayons:


Best Jigsaw Puzzles for Toddler: Mudpuppy vs. Djeco

In my life before kids, I was an avid gamer. I love(d) computer games, card games, board games, all games.

As a Freshman in college, I broke up with my boyfriend when he gave me an ultimatum – him or Counterstrike (a popular PC game back in the day) – I chose Counterstrike. (In fairness, it was the ultimatum itself that I found to be unacceptable more than anything else but it makes for a good story.) However, just a few years later, I (in)famously told my parents while we were out dining at a nice steakhouse that I wanted to drop out of college and become a professional poker player. Yes, yes I did. And, no, thankfully, I did not pursue those foolish dreams. I also know, with certainty, that the only reason I made it through law school is because Mr. C banned me from playing World of Warcraft (another popular PC game).

Suffice it to say, I really was a gamer and will always be one at heart.

As such, I would love nothing more than to instill and share my passion for games with my children. I already envision daily – potentially forced – game nights playing card and board games. After all, I have a captive audience now – HA!

Max just turned two and I recently introduced him to jigsaw puzzles because I’m sure that a love of doing jigsaw puzzles is the gateway to… more games! The good news for other parents is that jigsaw puzzles also enhance a whole host of skills for toddlers which include: spatial, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, attention, concentration, matching, sorting, logic, etc., etc., etc. It’s really great for their overall development. But I just like it because, you know, puzzles!