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My husband is finishing his MBA in a program that has a "green" track. One of his fellow students is going ti start a company, probably manufacturing, probably toys, for the natural/ green parent. He isn't a parent and his ideas were lousy when he told DH. Either there are half a dozen companies doing similar things or they were of the chi,den-as-pets variety. He wants to manufacture in the us.<br><br>
What would you like to see In the marketp,ace? What is missing? One idea I had was to come up with a recycled plastic (like green toys) play set universe (like fisher price little people) with much better design.
 

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<p>bump, great question. I think there is a lack of gender-neutral green toys that are not marketed to girls or boys, I think if there were more toys that did not fall into the gender marketing trap that gets my hackles up I'd buy more often.</p>
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<p>I couldn't say specifics at this point but as dd is getting older (she'll be 5 soon) I'm definitely seeing that green/natural/eco-friendly toys for the older aged kids are practically non-existent. If you don't want a felted wool Waldorf doll or a wooden teether you are SOL.</p>
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<p>Interesting.</p>
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<p>I think I most wish there were more affordable options (i.e. wood toys not made in China!!) but I don't know if that's realistic & possible.</p>
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<p>Maybe also green art supplies... I'm thinking random things like playdough, bath crayons, markers, etc. that don't contain artificial dyes & chemicals & use wood or recycled plastic where applicable. Maybe those already exist & I just haven't found them...</p>
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<p>Guess I'm not in a very creative mood because that's all I can think of right now...</p>
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<p>ETA: One more! Maybe green versions of 'classic' toys like Mr. Potato Head etc.</p>
 
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<p><br><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JudiAU</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16101370"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
 One idea I had was to come up with a recycled plastic (like green toys) play set universe (like fisher price little people) with much better design.</div>
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I think this is a wonderful idea. I could see something like that really taking off.<br>
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<p>Agreed with the recycled plastic play set idea, and to make it gender neutral.</p>
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<p>My son received this barnyard play set by Sprig, and it's just not a hit.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSprig-Toys-Blocks-Barnyard-Playset%2Fdp%2FB0027FF2OA" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Sprig-Toys-Blocks-Barnyard-Playset/dp/B0027FF2OA</a></p>
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<p>The characters are just printed on cardboard, 2-dimensional, and they must be seated just so into the stand to make them stand up.</p>
<p>There needs to be little characters like fisher price/plan toys that are realistic/3-D, with a good "hand feel." (I think the current FP little people do NOT have a good hand feel, but I understand why they are large. We don't have any of those, but we have a ton left over from my 70s childhood.)</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Funny Face</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16101637"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I couldn't say specifics at this point but as dd is getting older (she'll be 5 soon) I'm definitely seeing that green/natural/eco-friendly toys for the older aged kids are practically non-existent. If you don't want a felted wool Waldorf doll or a wooden teether you are SOL.</p>
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<br><br><p>Yes, this!</p>
 

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<p>Little animals that are not plastic or stuffies.  Wood would be nice.  Things like cats, barnyard animals and zoo animals with soy inks.</p>
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<p>Gender neutral organic children's blankets/bedding not marketed towards babies or tweens.  Blankets especially.  Gender neutral bedding doesn't really exist.</p>
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<p>Dolls for boys.  That you can actually buy clothes for.</p>
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<p>Canvas play tents.  Play castle?</p>
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<p>Medieval reenactment stuff for kids.</p>
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<p>Anyone remember when Tonka trucks were made of metal?  Those were cool.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Maluhia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16101604"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>bump, great question. I think there is a lack of gender-neutral green toys that are not marketed to girls or boys, I think if there were more toys that did not fall into the gender marketing trap that gets my hackles up I'd buy more often.</p>
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Yes. We don't have tons of natural/wood toys available to us, so a lot of what I see is online only. I find so much that speaks to the kids who like fairies, mushrooms (?, but I see lots of them), gnomes, that sort of thing. There are a few trucks and trains out there. If you're not into the fantasy world, though, you're fairly limited.</p>
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<p>The other thing in general is just the price. So many things are more than I would spend without knowing definitely if my kids would play with them, and if they were more affordable, I think more families would be interested in them.</p>
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<p>Also - math manipulatives!</p>
 

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<p>Smaller scale things for people with smaller homes ... ie. smaller waldorf-y playstands, kitchen stands, smaller dollhouses, smaller easels, smaller everything! </p>
 

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<p>Pretty much every major toy company has been trying to rip off the American Girls 18" dolls for older girls... basically, since they started being made.  I don't think that any of the pricier ones have been a hit, and the lower-price ones seem perfectly nice to me, but I hear over and over from parents who actually have DDs in the target age range that girls only want the real thing, and the quality make them worth the price because the cheap ones are really, well, cheap.</p>
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<p>To combine a few different ideas here, how about a line of 18" dolls, made out of recycled materials?  They could have some ecological storylines, and accessories.  If they're pretty (IMO the American Girl ones are the only really pretty ones of the popular 18" doll lineup), and have the cache of being made in the US and being socially responsible, they just might appeal to girls (and their parents, who are, after all, the ones paying) over the AG ones.</p>
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<p>I also LOVE the Little People idea!  I just can't get into the modern ones.</p>
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<p>Maybe a whole line of dolls, including baby dolls for little kids, Little People type playsets for toddlers, a nicer line of 18" dolls for older kids.  And lots and lots of accessories: that's where the money is!</p>
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<p>And, just a complaint, but it seems like there are two types of toys: Bright!Garish!Cheap!Plastic! and ulta-rustic wood pieces that are lovely to look at from an adult standpoint but I don't really know how much they appeal to kids.  DD has the full nursery lineup from Nova Naturals, and they're lovely wooden pieces with little hearts carved into them, but they are a bit boring to look at and I think she'd rather have the Bitty Baby plastic stuff.  And I'm not actually adverse to color or to plastic, honest.  It's just that when I look at the Bitty Baby stuff, it's sooooo cheap-looking, while at the same time so expensive.  Visually, there's got to be a middle ground!  I think that a lot of the "natural toy" companies get so caught up in being "natural" first and foremost, and sometimes the "toy" part of that gets forgotten by the people who design them.  It's like how for ages you could only buy organic cotton clothing and other fabric things in off white with the word "ORGANIC!" prominently written somewhere.  Just because I'd rather buy organic doesn't mean that I want to be a walking billboard for it, kwim?</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16103380"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Smaller scale things for people with smaller homes ... ie. smaller waldorf-y playstands, kitchen stands, smaller dollhouses, smaller easels, smaller everything! </p>
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<p>LOL I am picturing you in your mini dollhouse with all your mini toys!! That totally cheered me up after a bad evening!!!! <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></span><br>
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<p>ETA: And I totally agree that many of the toys are way too big for my house!!!</p>
 

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<p>Well, I've been wanting to buy DD a doll stroller/pram, but balk at getting a made-in-China, probably sweatshop-made plastic one in garish pink with a nasty plasticky-fabric seat. I haven't really researched eco-friendly options, I just haven't seen any in the shops. I wonder if you could make a nice lightweight one out of bamboo?</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Maluhia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16101604"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>bump, great question. I think there is a lack of gender-neutral green toys that are not marketed to girls or boys, I think if there were more toys that did not fall into the gender marketing trap that gets my hackles up I'd buy more often.</p>
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I agree with this!  I really prefer to by gn stuff, not just 'boy' stuff.  And its so hard to find toys like dolls/doll stuff, kitchen things, doll houses, ponies, etc that are not covered in pink.  </p>
 

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<p>Legos. Either wooden or made from recycled plastic, take your pick. I can't wait(and neither can ds(3)) until they come out with those.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Mittsy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16104711"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Legos. Either wooden or made from recycled plastic, take your pick. I can't wait(and neither can ds(3)) until they come out with those.</p>
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<br><br><p>Just FY friend's I, OP, Lego has patents on its blocks that are expiring at different rates in different countries. Mega Bloks up here (Canada) successfully defended against their suit here in um - 2004 or 2005, something like that. (Don't ask me why I have this arcane information stored in the trivia section of my brain.)</p>
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<p>My perception on gaps is the real divide is between totally generic neutral/building type toys and branded merchandise, and between playability and non-playability rather than in materials etc.  My son loves superheroes, for example, and tying a cape onto a Plan Toys doll doesn't cut it for him.  There aren't many options that look superheroey, never mind are superheros that his friends have heard of.  As a lover of the environment he is supposed to only love trees and gnomes but it doesn't work that way.</p>
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<p>And of course the large companies tend to control the licenses on characters and so other people can't make them.  If I were your friend I would be looking for either a book series or a PBS-like TV series that appeals to the same demographic ("when green parents cave on television, or hit a bookstore, what are they looking for") and then I would be negotiating with whoever owns the trademark. For example, even though this is licensed already, a series of environmentally responsible character dolls/etc. based on Super Why would be in line with what I'm thinking. The other alternative would be classic tales that are no longer protected (fairy tales, historical figures), but that market may be pretty full a la American Girls.</p>
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<p>I wouldn't go for wood unless there is a good reason to use it. Honestly buying the wood toys is something I would never do over again with only a few exceptions - the Plan dollhouse, <em>maybe</em> and the Thomas train stuff, and one super-expensive line of cars that come apart.  We had close to zero play value from the lovingly hand-crafted wooden trucks, and even the Melissa and Doug type food toys, etc. only were played with because no alternatives were available. The wood was dangerous when thrown, has disgusting teeth marks in it and in some cases splintered, left dents in the floor, didn't roll right, was heavy and awkward, and the strings knotted in annoying ways, while the ONE Little People set (now leading its dozens of friends) was in constant happy use. I hate to say it, but I hate wooden toys. They became wooden dust collectors.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Mittsy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16104711"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Legos. Either wooden or made from recycled plastic, take your pick. I can't wait(and neither can ds(3)) until they come out with those.</p>
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<br><br><p>Nova Naturals sells wooden legos.  Honestly, they're very expensive and look a bit ridiculous and I can't imagine a child thinking that they're at all fun to play with.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #18
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Mittsy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16104711"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Legos. Either wooden or made from recycled plastic, take your pick. I can't wait(and neither can ds(3)) until they come out with those.</p>
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<br><p>Lego is actually a pretty responsible corporate citizen. They run clean factorys, primarily in Europe or within the EU, and pay a living wage. Their primary competitior is Mega Blocks, which manufactures some basic blocks in Canda and a LOT of other blocks in China. Mega Blocks don't have the same rich coloring as Lego and they don't retain their value.</p>
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<p>Several companies back wooden blocks that stick together in some way. Nova sells the ones from a dev. delayed community and Haba sells another version.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #19
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284230/what-natural-products-toys-would-you-like-to-see-for-kids-what-is-the-marketplace-missing#post_16101812"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Interesting.</p>
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<p>I think I most wish there were more affordable options (i.e. wood toys not made in China!!) but I don't know if that's realistic & possible.</p>
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<p>Maybe also green art supplies... I'm thinking random things like playdough, bath crayons, markers, etc. that don't contain artificial dyes & chemicals & use wood or recycled plastic where applicable. Maybe those already exist & I just haven't found them...</p>
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<p>Guess I'm not in a very creative mood because that's all I can think of right now...</p>
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<p>ETA: One more! Maybe green versions of 'classic' toys like Mr. Potato Head etc.</p>
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Crunchy_Mommy - have you ever looked A Toy Garden. They do lots of natural toys at a lower than usual price point, including a LOT of toys made in the US. We've been really happy with everything we've purchased there.</p>
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<p>There are some brands of green art supplies, Clementine Art is one (natural markers/play dough/glue etc.) I haven't used their products. We've had really good luck with stockmar beeswax crayons (seriously, you'll buy one box for a kid, ever) and Lyra makes terrific colored pencils that last and last. I also really like the coloring books from Dover. They aren't expensive and it can be hard to find non-licensed character coloring books in the stores. Finally, the Eye Like and Sticker Stories sticker books are fun too. Also nto licensed. Both the Dover and the Eye LIke are usually buy 4 get 1 free on amazon.<br>
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Discussion Starter #20
<p>Nova Naturals (made in the US), etsy, and Vermont Wooden Toys all have wooden strollers.</p>
 
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