Special Mentions: Mothering Natural Toy Guide 2014

These items didn’t meet all of our environmental or manufacturing qualifications for toy guide inclusion, but they still deserve some attention for their dedication to eco-packaging, educational quality, value and/or contributions to non profit work. Don’t miss the other categories in this year’s guide or our big toy giveaway! Find them both here.

Image of: Puzzle Without Borders

Puzzle Without Borders

Looking for a simple toy that can provide hours of complex thinking? This magnetic puzzle has endless possibilities and is a wonderful way to inspire scientific thinking in even very young children. Plus Nene Imagination is working hard to find ways to make their products more environmentally friendly.

Image of: PBS Kids Wooden Toy Produce Shape Sorter

PBS Kids Wooden Toy Produce Shape Sorter

It’s a classic wooden pick-up truck and educational shape sorter in one. An array of colorful produce and a removable sorter makes this versatile toy hours of fun. The Produce Shape Sorter by PBS Kids is being offered in partnership with Whole Foods Market and is available at Whole Foods nationwide. All of the proceeds of PBS Kids toys support children’s educational media and Whole Foods Market will donate 1% of sales of these products to the Whole Kids Foundation. Made from FSC certified wood with packaging made from recycled materials.

Image of: Tiles of Infinity

Tiles of Infinity

Another great puzzle from Nene Imagination. These magnetic Tiles of Infinity allow your child to explore a whole range of patterns and promote the kind of complex reasoning skills needed from future movers and shakers. Plus, they’re just plain fun.

Image of: Tangram Soft Blocks

Tangram Soft Blocks

Rouxroo believes in making thoughtfully created products that are eco-friendly and they’ve made a great effort here. The 5 soft and stimulating blocks in this set are made from 100% organic cotton and would be just right for babies and toddlers.

Image of: Braided Slingshot

Braided Slingshot

This creative kit is a science lesson and art project in one. Kids get to create, and use, a braided slingshot. We don’t know one child that wouldn’t love that.

Image of: Yarn-Storming Machine

Yarn-Storming Machine

Part of the new Thames and Kosmos Geek & Co line, this set is priced right and will provide many hours of creative play for an older child. Well made and easy to use.

Image of: The Tidy Books Kid's Bookcase

The Tidy Books Kid’s Bookcase

This award winning book shelf from Tidy Books is a sturdy, safe and eco-friendly way to encourage a love of reading in any home. Constructed from FSC certified wood and coated in super safe water laquer, this bookshelf is green and made to last. The perfect height for toddlers and preschoolers with an attractive alphabet design. Company donates 1% of online sales to the nonprofit Litworld.

Image of: Wishbone Flip Ride-on

Wishbone Flip Ride-on

We adore toys that grow with your child since they save money and space! This one of a kind wooden ride-on converts from a rocker to a roller quite easily and is sure to delight any toddler. Designed in New Zealand.

Image of: Suzuka E-Racer

Suzuka E-Racer

Made from bamboo with water based paint, this modern racer is delightful to zoom about and to look at. Good price.

Image of: The Bunk Bed Buddy

The Bunk Bed Buddy

This unique space saving bookshelf is designed to hang on a wall above a bunk bed for easy access to reading material and other items–however, the smart design means it could be attached just about anywhere that makes sense for your child. Strong construction from FSC certified wood and coated in safe water laquer makes this an eco-friendly choice that will fit just about any decor.

Image of: Hopscotch Play Carpet

Hopscotch Play Carpet

What a great way to bring a traditionally outdoor game inside for the winter months. With over 6 feet of hopscotch fun, this colorful and durable play mat would look great in any room.

Image of: Elegant Baby Pink Cable Knit Teddy Bear

Elegant Baby Pink Cable Knit Teddy Bear

A sweet pink bear that is sure to promote some serious snuggling. Made from 100% cable knit cotton, this classic teddy is both stylish and durable.

Image of: Skip Hop Hug & Hide Activity Toys Owl

Skip Hop Hug & Hide Activity Toys Owl

Hours of fun for baby are to be had with the soft and adorable Hug and Hide Owl. Open the mama owls’ wings to reveal a baby owl inside. This toy offers an array of sights, sounds and textures to delight and educate.

Image of: Wheely Bug Ride-on

Wheely Bug Ride-on

Perfect for indoor or outdoor spaces, this little bug is ready for action! It comes in two sizes to suit tiny and growing tots and is as cute as can be. Wood construction means it’s sturdy and will last.

Image of: yoMOTO Ride-on

yoMOTO Ride-on

Innovative and artfully designed, YoMoto by Prince Lionheart is a beginner bike like no other. Its four wheels and low center of gravity give YoMoto a feel of safety and stability, while the intuitive lean and learn steering design gives riders confidence and control. Add YoMoto’s super cool look and unbelievably easy assembly and this ride-on really stands out in the crowd.

Image of: Everywhere Playmat

Everywhere Playmat

The Everywhere playmat by Prince Lionheart is more than your average playmat. This thoughtfully designed toy is perfect for babies and big kids alike. The lovely artwork that adorns both sides is bright and bold for babies and yet detailed enough to keep big kids busy. The mat is wonderfully thick and large, just under 5×7 in size, but can be folded to fit into smaller spaces.

Image of: Go Glider

Go Glider

Who says balance bikes are only for toddlers! It is well known that balance bikes are the perfect pathway to learning to ride a pedal bike with ease and now older kids, and those with special needs, can benefit as well. This sturdy and attractive glider is a great choice for those 5 and up.

Image of: Sparkup Magical Book Reader

Sparkup Magical Book Reader

Finally, an easy way to record short stories for your little one. Great for busy times as an alternative to TV, or when you’re away. Comes with everything you need to get started, including a demo book.

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Sticker Maker

This inexpensive sticker maker from Xyron is the prefect gift for the crafty child (or adult) in our home. It creates stickers 3″ in size and in a wide variety of styles. What fun!

Image of: PBS Kids Emperor Penguin

PBS Kids Emperor Penguin

This soft and fuzzy baby emperor penguin, by PBS kids, will encourage kids to learn more about how to protect and care for the earth and the animals who live here. This huggable friend is free from BPA, phthalates and PVC. Packaging is made from recycled materials. This baby penguin is being made available at Whole Foods Markets across the nation through a partnership with PBS Kids. 1% from all sales of these products will be donated to Whole Kids Foundation and all proceeds from PBS Kids products go to support children’s educational media.

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