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25 Best Eco-Friendly Toys of 2012

Of course there were a lot of outrageous electronic toys and plastic on top of plastic at the New York Toy Fair, but we also found plenty of safe, thoughtful, eco-friendly new toys about to hit shelves this year.

Take a look at our favorite “green” toys of 2012:

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  • Scented Scoops | Ages 3+ 1 of 25
    Scented Scoops | Ages 3+
    One of my favorite Toy Fair finds was the new company BeginAgain toys, which — beyond using natural rubber and sustainable wood — is pioneering a new material called Green Dot. Green Dot is a cornstarch bio product that's 100% compostable, and will be used to make the scented scoops that sit on top of wooden cones in this role-play toy.
    Coming Holiday 2012, $30
  • Bathtub Ball | Ages 3+ 2 of 25
    Bathtub Ball | Ages 3+
    Made from (dishwasher-safe) natural rubber, this bathtub ball is perfect for both the bath or the pool.
    Buy from BeginAgain Toys, $22
  • Treasure Hunt Game | Ages 3+ 3 of 25
    Treasure Hunt Game | Ages 3+
    This game comes with a natural cotton game board (double-sided for checkers or the Treasure Hunt game) and natural rubber treasure coins. There's actually 5 different games to play with it — teaching shapes, objects, matching, and role playing.
    Buy from BeginAgain Toys, $25
  • Green Ring Teether | Ages 0+ 4 of 25
    Green Ring Teether | Ages 0+
    This eco-friendly wooden teether is completely 100% compostable — cradle to cradle — partly because of the Green Dot material that I mentioned before.
    Coming in Summer 2012, $10
  • miYim Good Earth Mermaid | Ages 0+ 5 of 25
    miYim Good Earth Mermaid | Ages 0+
    The newest rag doll from MiYim is this precious mermaid — made from all-natural cotton and non-toxic, low-impact dyes.
    Coming in Fall 2012, $26
  • My Natural: Activity Bunch | Ages 6 months + 6 of 25
    My Natural: Activity Bunch | Ages 6 months +
    Besides using certified non-toxic, eco-plush fabrics, My Natural is adding a hard, tactile teething element to their activity toys — a biodegradable plastic polymer (called MySpud) that's made from reclaimed potato starch.
    Coming in Fall 2012, $25 - $29
  • MiYim Dr. Suess Lorax | Ages 0+ 7 of 25
    MiYim Dr. Suess Lorax | Ages 0+
    Seeing that the new Dr. Suess Lorax movie is destined to be a big hit, we love that there's an affordable plush toy that's also eco-friendly — made from natural cotton and colored with non-toxic, low-eco-impact dyes.
    Coming in Spring 2012 to Target, $9.99
  • Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet | Ages 2+ 8 of 25
    Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet | Ages 2+
    One of the new Green Toys launches in 2012 (set to hit shelves in June) is this 44-piece mix-and-match flower set. And like everything from Green Toys, this is made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs (saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions) with no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or questionable chemicals whatsoever. It's even packaged with recycled and recyclable materials, and printed with soy inks.
    Read more at Green Toys, $27.99
  • Green Toys Mini Vehicles | Ages 1+ 9 of 25
    Green Toys Mini Vehicles | Ages 1+
    An adorable and affordable vehicle collection from one of our favorite "green" toy companies, coming in Spring 2012.
    Read more at Green Toys, $4.99 each ($12 set)
  • Green Toys Salad Set | Ages 2+ 10 of 25
    Green Toys Salad Set | Ages 2+
    Because last year's pizza set was such a huge hit for Green Toys, they decided to introduce another pretend play set — this time a little healthier. This 20-piece stackable salad set (coming in March) is made from food-safe, 100% recycled plastic milk containers, and includes a serving bowl, salad plate, serving utensils, and a whole bunch of veggies. They even include oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (made from cardboard) to go along with it.
    Read more at Green Toys, $19.99
  • Plan Toys Play House | Ages 3+ 11 of 25
    Plan Toys Play House | Ages 3+
    Plan Toys has always been one of my favorite eco-toy companies, making quality wooden toys that spark imagination and creativity — but, in my opinion, they've topped themselves this year. They'll be introducing a new line of toys made from "Plan Wood," which is actually leftover sawdust, organic color pigments, and less than 1% of non-formaldehyde e-glue. This enables them to reduce and recycle their waste, as well as reduce the costs on these Plan Wood toys (hooray!).
    This Plan Wood Play House comes with 5 room and 2 dolls, and it costs less than $100.

    Coming in March 2012, $80
  • Hape Safari Bowling | Ages 10 months+ 12 of 25
    Hape Safari Bowling | Ages 10 months+
    Made from FSC Beechwood and FSC plywood, this new Hape toy can be used as a pull toy or a bowling game.
    Buy from Hape
  • Hape Jungle Music | Ages 10 months+ 13 of 25
    Hape Jungle Music | Ages 10 months+
    Another new addition to the Hape eco-toy collection, this musical set comes with four wooden instruments in a beautifully designed package.
    Buy from Hape
  • Hape Quatro | Ages 3+ 14 of 25
    Hape Quatro | Ages 3+
    Made from sustainable bamboo, this new 2-player game is like an eco-friendly (and much, much prettier) version of Connect 4.
    Buy from Hape
  • Hape Super Moose | Ages 3+ 15 of 25
    Hape Super Moose | Ages 3+
    Another new Hape toy carved from bamboo, this one is a balancing game that can be played with 1 - 6 players.
    Buy from Hape
  • E-Superbike | Ages 1+ 16 of 25
    E-Superbike | Ages 1+
    Hape's newest bamboo vehicle is simply cooler than the rest.
    Buy from Hape
  • Magnetic Vehicles/Animals | Ages 3+ 17 of 25
    Magnetic Vehicles/Animals | Ages 3+
    Arrange these magnetic geometric shapes (made from sustainable bamboo) into vehicles or animals — perfect for travel.
    Buy from Hape
  • Moover Baby Truck (HABA) | Ages 12 months + 18 of 25
    Moover Baby Truck (HABA) | Ages 12 months +
    This sturdy wooden toy (made from child-safe paint, TPE-rubber wheels, and high-quality wood and plywood) can be used for pretend play or as a ride-on toy — well into the preschool years. Popular in Europe, HABA is now taking over as the U.S. distributor and introducing five new baby and toddler toys in 2012.
    Buy from Magic Cabin, $79.98
  • HABA Zoolino Effects Building Blocks | Ages 12 months + 19 of 25
    HABA Zoolino Effects Building Blocks | Ages 12 months +
    HABA is one of the most dedicated "green" toy companies because they've been that way for over 70 years. HABA uses wood from sustainable forestry projects in German forests, and has been awarded the PEFC quality symbol for sustainable and responsible forestry management. They also use water-based colors.
    This 24-piece wooden block set features stackable zoo animals, and includes a little bell, peephole, and kaleidoscope.
    Buy here, $76.99
  • HABA Push Toys | Ages 12 months + 20 of 25
    HABA Push Toys | Ages 12 months +
    Another new toy from HABA, these push toys come in a variety of animals that flap, waddle, and spin.
    Coming soon, $38.99
  • Peaceable Kingdom Cooperative Games | Ages 3 – 6 21 of 25
    Peaceable Kingdom Cooperative Games | Ages 3 - 6
    The cooperative board games from Peaceable Kingdom are all designed to educate and teach basic skills like cooperation, strategy, and decision making — not competition. We also like that each of these preschool games grows in complexity for three different age levels.
    And all of the games are made from sustainable/eco-friendly materials (like recycled paper and corn-based plastics), manufactured in socially responsible plants, and printed with soy-based inks.
    Buy from Amazon, $15.99
  • Anamalz | Ages 3+ 22 of 25
    Anamalz | Ages 3+
    This Aussie-based toy company designs these pose-able wooden animals from sustainable maple wood, with azo-dyed fabric and wood scraps. New for 2012, they'll introduce four themed box sets: a farm, jungle, prehistoric, and wild (safari) box.
    Buy from Anamalz, $24.95 - $34.95
  • ALEX 2 Birdie Banks | Ages 6+ 23 of 25
    ALEX 2 Birdie Banks | Ages 6+
    While the stickers and craft glaze aren't eco-friendly, we love that these DIY banks are made from recycled paper molds.
    Buy from ALEX Toys, $13.95
  • Apple Park Who the Owl | Ages 0+ 24 of 25
    Apple Park Who the Owl | Ages 0+
    Apple Park introduced a new Picnic Pal for 2012 — made from 100% organic cotton corduroy and filled with organic cotton and natural corn fiber. We'll see Who the Owl pop up in a variety of Apple Park products, like a blankie, pacifier pal and, of course, their cuddly plush friends.
    Coming soon to Apple Park, $54
  • Apple Park Critter Puppet Blankies | Ages 0+ 25 of 25
    Apple Park Critter Puppet Blankies | Ages 0+
    Also new from Apple Park, they'll be introducing an entire line of critters (found in their board book Bunny's Garden) to go along with their Picnic Pals. The Critter Puppet Blankets are made with 100% organic cotton, natural silk, and a rubber wood teether, and they'll also be coming out with separate critter teething toys (made with the same materials).
    Coming soon to Apple Park, $14.95 - $21.95

See more Toy Fair 2012 coverage:

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