Which toys to choose?
Prefer natural materials
Natural materials come from renewable resources. They are also generally healthier for children, especially toddlers.
Fabric toys are perfect for the youngest. We think of cuddly toys, mats, dolls, books… We choose them preferably in organic cotton (GOTS label for example) or certified Oekotex 100.
Wooden toys have a vintage charm. But they are revisited by many brands that adapt them to the tastes and interests of today’s children. If you buy them new, you prefer them with the FSC or PEFC label.
Natural rubber toys
This is a good alternative for “soft” toys since the substances used to make plastic soft are often harmful to health. In particular, there are rubber versions for bath toys or those intended for toddlers: teething ring, rattle, cubes, small ball...
No more plastic and perfume
Plastic toys are avoided as much as possible:
- especially the most problematic plastics like PVC or EVA;
- especially for children under 3 years old who put everything in their mouths and are in full development.
We also avoid scented toys.
Buy solid toys
Children manipulate them, mistreat them… They must resist. Cheap plastic toys are sometimes fragile.
Forget the gadgets with loupiotes and repetitive music, which amuse at first but quickly bore the children (in addition to annoying the parents!). Not to mention the batteries that run out quickly…
In addition, quality toys can be sold more easily or given away as the child grows up.
Choose games adapted to the child’s interests and age
Children do not all talk or walk at the same age. More than age, it is therefore the child’s development that must guide the choice.
Before you buy, you can also:
- seek advice from gaming specialists in the right stores;
- take a look at the favorites of the Ligue des Familles, classified by age;
- for board games, be inspired by the games that have won the Belgian label Ludo (winners here) or consult the users’ opinions on Tric Trac (possibility to sort by age);
- at a minimum, check the age indicated on the box.
Particular attention is paid to safety: toddlers put everything in their mouths, they should not be left with toys with small parts or dangerous materials.
Search for labels
Unfortunately, there is no general label that guarantees ethical, ecological and healthy games and toys.
But for some toy categories, labels can still guide the choice:
- For fabric toys:
- the GOTS label guarantees that at least 70% of the fibres are organic and provides other environmental and social guarantees;
- Oekotex 100 – Confidence in Textiles certification guarantees the absence of certain substances harmful to health or compliance with the rates specified by legislation.
- For wooden toys, two labels guarantee that the wood comes from sustainably managed forests:
- the FSC label;
- or PEFC.
- In terms of pedagogical qualities:
- Spiel Gut is a German label awarded to games and toys tested by children and evaluated by specialists (pedagogues, psychologists, chemists, designers…). The criteria concern the playful qualities of the game, its manufacturing quality (solidity, safety, design, size, etc.), the clarity of the instructions, the adequacy of the age…
- On the security side:
- the CE marking must be affixed to all toys offered for sale on the European market. It shows that it complies with the legislation in force (in particular the prohibition of certain toxic compounds, limit standards for certain substances…). However, this is only a declaration by the manufacturer. Checks are carried out randomly, but not systematically before a toy is put up for sale.
- GS (“Geprüfte Sicherheit” or tested safety) is a voluntary German certification. The criteria are the same as for CE marking, with sometimes additional criteria, specific to German regulations. The difference with CE marking is that the product is tested by an independent body before being put on sale. This ensures effective compliance with the legislation.
Choose fair trade or ethical toys
There are more and more games made in Europe. You can find out more about the brand’s website, in stores or by looking at the box.
You can also choose a fair trade toy, for example via Oxfam-World Stores.
Aim for (almost) zero waste
During the holidays (Christmas, St. Nicholas, birthday), you can opt for intangible gifts where experiments replace toys, limit the quantity by making beautiful common gifts, buy second-hand, avoid batteries, use pretty reusable packaging…
We buy fewer toys but we choose them of quality. A well designed and chosen game brings a lot of pleasure for a long time. Much more than 3 or 4 trinkets that break quickly or that you get tired of quickly (repetitive game, that does not stimulate the imagination…).
Where can I find ecological and/or second-hand toys?
Site-annonce.fr offers you many second-hand toys such as outdoor playhouses for children, but also many other games: dolls, wooden games, board games, etc.