Ethical Shopping Mission- Kids' Stuff

by - Saturday, November 17, 2012

 Ok, here is the next installment of my search for gifts made in the USA! I don't have a ton of kids on my list this year, but I do have three- one infant, one 2 and a half year old, and a 5 year old. I think this is one of the BEST places where you can spend your money in the US (because you can count on higher chemical standards in most cases/ that the toy your child plays with wasn't made by a child elsewhere), and the more I have poked around, the cooler stuff I have found. Also, I recognize that some of this stuff is more expensive, but for me, that is a check to not go overboard buying my neice and nephew a ton of stuff they don't need. I guess its a question of whether to give one good gift or a pile of not as great ones. I am trying to change my strategy here, because we all could do with less stuff. No one wants to be the next people on Hoarders. Here are some highlights. AGAIN, I am WAY open to suggestions, so if you find anything good, feel free to share!

Tag Toys- I am definitely buying a few things from Tag Toys this Christmas. My niece loves a lego set where you lock and unlock a door, so I am going to get her one of the lock box toys. This store not only has a lot of great play options, but there are a lot of  games that are clearly aiming for cognitive development. They seem like thinking toys (their name even means "Think And Grow), but not in an overwrought way. I am excited to buy some gifts from this store, which has so many great options, I will have trouble choosing! Check them out here:

Gibout Toys- This store is legit, and it has all sorts of cool stuff I never would have thought of to get kids, as well as stuff that I didn't think you could but just made in the USA. It started with plush boxes all made in the US, and the business has grown from there.  You can search by age or type of toy here, and it seems like they have the largest selection of anything I have found so far. Be careful though- they are good at saying where things are made, but it is not always in the United States. You have read the info, but they do focus on sustainability and safety in their materials. Check it out here:

Ok, Lil Tikes, which is a pretty recognizable kids' brand, has a "Made in the US" filter on their website.  This has a nice variety of gifts, from the 20 dollar stuff up to the big show stopping playsets, swingsets, and kitchens. I thought the castle was really really cute, and doesn't the red wagon seemed way more pimped out than it did when we were kids? This is a great choice because it is a brand you already know offering you a more ethical choice. Here is the little tikes feed:
Fat Brain Toys also has a special "Made in America filter with over 500 choices on it, from teraniums to puzzles to matchbox cars, so you know you should be able to find some great stuff. They have toys like those tugboats from "My First Green Toys" which I think is sweet, but more importantly, this is the world we are giving to those children, so why wouldn't we be teaching them the ethics of what we buy, eat, and play with? I have to say, the more I think about this on the kid's toy end of this, the more sense it makes to me. K'nex toys are also made in the US and you can buy them at this store.

Adorable Kinders is a doll store that sells rag dolls. At first I thought they were a little bit creepy, but they are growing on me, and they are very affordable (especially because everything in their online store is on sale!). Plus, since they are soft, they are a good option if the child is a little smaller or prone to throwing things. There are boy and girl options, so no need for gender normativity here either, unless you are into that sort of thing. You can find the store here-

Wild Apples would be great for my many girlfriends who just set up their kids with some sort of animal theme nursery (especially my cousin Shelly, whose son has a Noah's ark theme). You can buy all sorts of non-toxic animal toys and ark sets. I also really love the play nativity and think that is a serious contender for what I might actually be buying, because every kid deserves a nativity kit they can actually play with. Show ones are just mean to kids. This really does have some great options if you want to get your kids Biblical toys, but it also has pretty sets of animals, sealife, etc. Check it out here:

World's Greatest Bath Boats makes really great puzzles. I kid, they make bath boats. I especially love that you can get them personalized, which is very etsy without being an etsy site. Perfect if you have a big water baby-
The United States Playing Card Company- Well, who knew! I guess everyone already has playing cards, but in case you need some- buy them here!

Lark Made Toys is another store of wood toys, but they have just a beautiful aesthetic without being overly fussy or expensive. They have lots of puzzles and toys to drag behind you (is there a name for those?). The site doesn't allow you to lift pictures, but trust me, you need to check out this link, especially if you have kids under 4.

Tigercandy Arts takes sock puppets to another level. Super pretty and adorable. Check them out here:
Tavern Puzzles- Does anyone else remember the phase where all their family members had some of these in their house? Good toy for keeping grown-ups occupied, and you can buy ones made completely in the USA! Here:

Doodle Town Toys- Lots of wooden trucks and trains and so forth. Cool if you are shopping for a kid into that kind of thing. Here:

Flarble- I do not fully understand what this toy is, but I'll be honest, I kind of like that. you sort of snap your fingers and the toy can go up to 20 ft into the air. Could be a flop, or the kind of gift that makes the holiday. Check it out here:

Mamasoes Puzzles- Pretty much what it sounds like. Cute puzzles. One of those things every kid gets, so why not buy it from here instead of a big department store. They also have name puzzles, which may help kids who are getting going on their spelling. Check it here:

There are also some ones that turn out to be weird and awesome, but I think you need very specific needs to shop there. For Marbles, check the Marble King-, for giant bubble makers, try Extreme Bubbles, and for just super random randoms, try The Junk Collector-

Ok, who has other suggestions? I know there are more out there, but it is a trickier pile to get through than the clothes one.

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