Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will Wooden Toys Not Made In China Be Desired By Parents?

I have always been drawn to quality items and handmade items over cheap, mass-produced items. When my oldest was a baby I realized that there were some companies who specialized in selling wooden toys and other high-quality toys, some of which are handmade.

I learned of these from ads mostly in the back of Mothering magazine. Once the Internet became more frequently used, I could find vendors online. I got on the mailing list for some of these catalogs and over the years invested in some of these toys for my children. I also frequented local craft shows which often had at least one local woodworker selling quality handmade toys for young children.

This “Made in China” plastic toy with lead paint thing has me wondering if this will drive customers away from buying mass produced plastic toys? What do you think?

I am sad to say I doubt that the fear and reality of the danger of lead in paint on plastic toys which are manufactured in China will drive all parents away from plastic and to wood and other natural materials. I bet not only will dollar store and ‘no name’ brand very cheap toys continue to sell but so will those big name brands.

We have read in the media how the big name brands (Mattel etc.) are trying to ensure that their products are safe in the future. I also read in The Wall Street Journal that product safety testing is dicey and is compromised by things such as tip-off’s to the factories.

The Joy of Toys Made With Natural Materials
One easy way to not expose your children to a possible risk is to start using more wooden toys. Most of these toys are not Made in China.

I have a feeling that American parents are too hooked on the ‘pay less and own more’ rather than what many Waldorf-inspired parents do which is ‘pay more for high quality and own less and make do with what they have’.

But in case you are one of the parents who is at least curious about what toys are available that are made of wood and lack paints of any kind and are not Made In China, here are some resources for you.

My favorite wooden toy company is Rosie Hippos.

Another great catalog, is a bit more Waldorf-education centered are Nova Natural Toy and Crafts. I also used to visit the Nova Natural store in New York on their sale days to buy items directly from their store.

I purchased direct from the manufacturer, wooden toy kitchen appliances, from Elves and Angels of Maine. These are handmade in Maine by Americans. Note that Rosie Hippo sells their products.

Those are the stores that I have purchased wooden toys from in the past. I am sure there are other, different companies but I can’t speak to their inventory or their customer service.

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Julia said...

I struck gold--sort of. I am working hard to share my great findings to the world for toys and games and puzzles that are NOT made in China. These toys are cool, safe, original, educational and great values. It would be great to visit our online store at: Please let others know. Julia!

stephen said...

I can't believe the lack of manufacturer attention to this, especially from those that don't make goods in China. If my stuff was made elsewhere I'd post that fact all over my web site and advertising.

It's hard to find sites that help you find non-chinese toys. I've found a few, like, and the site mentioned above. FAO has a country search, but who can afford $300 for a stuffed bear?

Julia said...

Well Stephen, thanks for sharing. Your comment is precisely why I wanted to put together something that is relevant and provides a safe shopping environment for parents and others at

Hope you come visit and browse.

Zarebski said...

Interesting information!! I prefer to buy safe toys from Toys R Us...