Whether your summer plans include an exotic trip on some far off island (good luck on the plane!) or just hanging out at the neighborhood pool, we know you’ll be looking for all sorts of green goods to keep the troops happy. From toys for building dream sand castles to boats made for floating, read on to find the best toxin-free, eco-friendly pool and beach toys. Don't forget to pack the sunscreen!
Green Toys’ sand castle set has been a favorite beach side staple for several years running. As with all toys from the Green Toys family, they’re made from recycled milk jugs and do not contain BPA or phthalates. This particular set comes with a bucket, rake, shovel, and sand castle mold. We’ve lugged ours to the beach and to the sandbox and back for three years, and all of the pieces are still in great, sturdy shape.
For more water play fun at the beach or the pool, Green Toys also offers Tubby the Tugboat. Available in three different colors, Tubby does double duty: The boat has a wide spout for scooping and pouring water as well as being a great addition to any floating toy boat fleet.
The EcoSaucer is a great, green way to keep older kids occupied on the beach. Kids can burn off some energy and maybe give Mom or Dad a chance to take a little breather in their beach chair. The EcoSaucer’s affordable price tag means you can splurge a little on something else: May we suggest a new swimsuit for Mom?
With a focus on “kid-powered” toys that encourage children to stay active, Sprig Toys has come up with some perfect kiddie pool additions that are guaranteed to keep your kids creative juices flowing. Even if they’re hundreds of mile from the nearest ocean, kids can imagine and explore life on and under the water with either of Sprig’s maritime-themed playsets, all of which are made from Sprigwood, a composite of reclaimed plastic and recycled wood. The Dolphin Explorer Set includes an explorer boat and a rescue boat, as well as a figurine guide and two dolphins. The Scuba Set features an adventure guide figurine, a sport boat, and a little airtank.
Spielstabil has more than 25 years in the toy business, creating quality plastic toys which are are PVC free, phthalate free, and BPA free. German-designed and mostly produced (only about 5% of production is sourced outside, and spielstabil promises that they are made using the same stringent safety standards), spielstabil toys are “kindergarten tested” and come with a 3 year guarantee. We love the baby watering can, shaped to look like a turtle. Construction loving kiddos can use the Sand Drill Combo set with interchangeable digging and shovel and drill part for making holes, tunnels, and moats while building sandcastles. KangarooBoo carries many of spielstabil’s items.
Boon’s brightly colored bath toys, all of which are BPA-, Phthalate-, and PVC-free, can easily transition to become pool and beachside entertainment. We even spied the company’s floating bath toy set, which includes three bugs and a mesh net, in a fountain as part an interactive children’s garden, which just goes to show that kids will love any excuse for some water playtime. Older swimmers will be entertained in the pool with Boon’s floating ring toss, which comes with a floating post and three rings. And Boon’s set of rubber duckies (which don’t hold water or, therefore, mold) are just the right size for baby to toss and splash with. In addition to keeping your kids happy, Boon donates 10% of its profits keep children in need happy as well through charities including Helping Orphans Worldwide.
Fair Trade Sports
Older kids will love to pick up one of Fair Trade Sports’ balls, all of which are vegan and hand-stitched and made in sweatshop-free facilities. The footballs, rugby balls, soccer balls, basketballs, and ultimate discs all conform with the official weight and size regulations and come in bright colors. We especially love the variety in the soccer balls, including a polka-dotted version and one that comes emblazoned with the words “Right to Education” in nine languages. With Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own charitable mission as its inspiration, this new company is planning on donating all profits after taxes to children’s charities around the world.
Tweet Toys Sailboats
Something about sweet and simple sailboats catches the essence of summer: Tweet Toys’ sailboats with organic cotton sails fit the bill with their classic construction. Designer Willow Baus prints her own designs onto organic sateen; currently, there are three designs, including a funky floral print, but keep a look-out for more options. The sailboats are constructed form American Pine and finished with a non-toxic, tung oil finish.
Zoe b Organic
Zoe b Organic takes eco-friendly beach toys to the next level with their biodegradable beach toys. The 5-piece set comes with two cups, a shovel, a bucket, and a sifter that also acts as a lid. The groovy turquoise and lime beach toys are made from a corn-based bioplastic that is free from BPAs, Phthalates, and PVC. While it would be a shame to lose this set, at least you wouldn’t have to worry about its environmental impact: the toys will biodegrade in soil, fresh or salt water, or compost in two to three years!
Yoga Pretzels Yoga Card Set
Most tots have missed the memo on chill time at the beach, so come prepared. Bring a set of yoga cards to keep kids playful in the sand or under an umbrella when it’s time to relax. The Yoga Pretzels cards, which were created by two experienced children’s yoga teachers, depict the poses in a whimsical, yet informative way and also include games and questions to help your kids discover their inner yogis.
Lead Image © Flickr User HeyDanielle