The toy industry is much better known for shilling cheap plastics and toxic chemicals than for transparency and high environmental standards.

The green toy market offers myriad FSC-certified wooden blocks (a must for every toy box, to be sure), but sourcing other green play options can be a challenge at the best of times. During the holiday season it’s even harder than usual for parents to resist the siren’s call to buy this year’s hottest toy. Kids don’t always understand why you even want to try. We’ve rounded up a few companies making toys that kids will love and parents can feel good about. 

If you’re wondering why this list omits stalwarts Green Toys and Plan Toys, it’s because we already covered them in last year’s eco-toy guide.


This crowd-funded Ukrainian start-up makes unique 3D puzzles and self-propelled mechanical models with moving components like gears and pendulums that contribute to a steampunk aesthetic. Ranging from the mundane tractor to the dramatic theater and with a few more whimsical offerings, the only materials used in UGears functional model kits is plywood and rubber bands. There are no additional glues or fasteners involved. The kits are produced in Europe using plywood from FSC-certified sources.

Featured toy: V-Express Steam Train with Tender

This replica steam train is an almost exact model — in wood — of a real locomotive. Due to its complexity, this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toy is expected to take 10 or more hours to assemble. Once completed, the train can travel up to 13 feet on one winding.