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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:
- Plan Toys
- Camden Rose
- Maple Landmark
- Bannor Toys
- Grimm’s Spiel and Holz
- Uncle Goose
Other non-toxic toy brands:
Non-Toxic Wooden Toys
Plan Toys – This is probably one of my personal favorite wooden toy companies. (When weighing cost vs. quality.) They are based in Thailand and use the wood from unfertilized rubber trees. Organic color pigment and water-based dyes are used to color the toys. Plan Toys has really thought about every step of the manufacturing process to ensure that the toys are made in a safe, non-toxic, and sustainable way.
They are among the kids’ favorite toys to play with and have held up beautifully over time.
Camden Rose – An amazing Waldorf-inspired, toy company based in the USA. They make products featuring silk, organic cotton and hardwoods. I have them listed as a wooden toy company because the majority of their toys are made from wood that are either left unfinished or polished with beeswax. You can find other types of toys as well at Palümba, which is their online retail store for “inspired natural living.”
Maple Landmark – This wooden toy company is based in the USA and creates a large variety of wooden toys. They do use many types of finishes (some, arguably toxic, e.g, petroleum-based lacquer and urethane) but clearly state which finish is used for each toy. I would recommend their Schoolhouse Naturals line which do not have any finish.
Bannor Toys – A popular Etsy shop for wooden toys made in the USA. (In general, Etsy is a great place to look for lesser-known, non-toxic wooden toys, which cannot all be listed in this guide.) Bannor Toys are handmade in Iowa and either left unfinished or finished with beeswax and/or flaxseed oil.
HaPe – HaPe is the world’s largest producer of wooden toys. They are a German-owned company but their toys are manufactured in China. The factory in China is owned and maintained by the company and the toys are all third-party tested to US and European standards. They source the wood and materials used from Germany, Russia, and Belgium.
I have a few HaPe toys and for the most part I think they are fine. (I really like their dollhouses.) I consider the quality to be a hair less than Plan Toys. My main complaint is that they use water-based paints which is more likely to chip or scratch off over time. (I usually prefer stains and dyes to paints.)
HABA – A German wooden toy company that sources their wood from Germany, Russia, and Finland. Many, if not most, of their wooden toys are made in Germany but they do own a factory in China as well. They use either water-based stains or water-based, solvent-free lacquer to color their toys.
Wonderworld – Wonderworld is located in Thailand and source their wood in an environmentally-conscious way from rubber trees that no longer produce latex. They use botanical-based stains but also non-toxic paints, dyes, and lacquers. However, “lacquer” is a tad vague and not as specific as I would prefer.
Grimm’s Spiel and Holz – A well-regarded, wooden toy company based in Germany. They make high quality, handcrafted toys but are on the expensive side (and harder to come by in the US). The toys are made from sustainable hardwoods and then finished with water-based stains and/or linseed oil.
Uncle Goose – My favorite wooden alphabet (in 23 languages!) block company. The blocks are handcrafted in the USA out of basswood and printed using non-toxic, mouth safe inks.
Other Non-Toxic Toys
Green Toys – Green Toys is hands-down, my favorite plastic toy company. Their toys are made in the USA from recycled plastic milk jugs (HDPE #2 plastic which is widely regarded as a food-safe, non-toxic plastic). Their toys are well-made, durable, and great for even sand and water.
Surprisingly, this is probably one of my favorite toys for its versatility. Not only does Max love using it to pretend serve us food, but we have also been able to use it to serve him his real food and snacks as well.
Spielstabil – A German company with all toys made in Germany. Spielstabil products are made of food-grade ABS plastic (which is considered a safe plastic, free of phthalates, BPA, lead and PVC). The company uses a process called hygenic ultrasonic welding rather than glue to ensure that there are no chemical glues or adhesives used. Additionally, Spielstabil plastic items are microwave, dishwasher and food safe. (Nonetheless, I try never to heat any form of plastic.)
Under the Nile – A company that specializes in 100% GOTS certified organic Egyptian cotton toys and clothing. Their toys are probably best geared towards babies and newborn as they are simple, soft, organic, and can be washed.
My only concern is that I can’t seem to find where the toys are made. When not clearly indicated, I tend to suspect China.
Apple Park – Similar to Under the Nile in that they feature 100% GOTS organic cotton toys and clothing. They use hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial corn fiber to fill the toys. Their toys are also best for babies and infants. However, they are transparent about their toys being made in China, which I appreciate.
Hevea – They specialize in 100% natural rubber products made in Malaysia. The colored bath toys are hand painted with plant pigments. The company is well known for their pacifiers but also make teethers and bath toys.
Vulli – The creator of the (in)famous Sophie la Girafe. Their toys are made from 100% natural rubber, sourced from Hevea trees grown in Malaysia. The classic Sophie is made in France and hand-painted using food-based paint that will fade over time. Vulli has since expanded their line and, while most toys are still made in France, some are produced in China.
If you are looking for gift ideas for toddlers, check out The Ultimate Gift Guide: Best Toys for Toddlers.
The universe of toys is large and ever-changing. If you have any other non-toxic toy company recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments!