Q: Whenever I buy a gift for my friend’s kids, I try to only get natural wooden toys, but my boyfriend always teases me that my gifts are probably the ones everyone’s kids like the least! Are there any natural  toys that babies and kids really like?

A: Kudos to you for seeking out non-toxic toys that are better for the environment and for developing a child’s imagination! The toy stores are overflowing with plastic, toxic products for our children that light, flash, and sound with little effort. Like electronics for adults, these products are enticing but they not only lack sustainability environmentally, they also have limited function and kids do tend to tire of them. Toys that are both natural and have multiple uses, inspired by imagination, are wonderful choices. You might consider some natural fabric toys – such as puppets – to inspire kids to build their fantasy worlds, or non-toxic art supplies, such as paints and natural dough, that kids love. More and more companies are responding to parents’ concerns about toy safety and toxicity, so the variety of natural toys is growing and there are many options to find safe and fun items for all of our kids!

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Nancy Massotto is the Founder and Director of the Holistic Moms Network, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Nancy has a passion for living holistic and works to help parents connect, learn and support one another on their journeys through parenting and holistic living. Find more information about Nancy on her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.