The best toys teach children positive life lessons. Today’s toy makers are
providing a number of environmentally friendly products that teach about
recycling and saving the planet.
Trucks Are the Way to Go
Many U.S. cities have recycling trucks that visit once a week to cart away
salvageable trash. Children no doubt recall those big, rumbling trucks with
some admiration. Now, they can pretend they are behind the wheel working
to help save the environment.
Jumbo Recycling Truck
BRIO Corporation’s colorful Jumbo Recycling Truck
($36, ages 2 and up) (ToyDirectory)
from their Earlyplay Toys line has a detachable loading bin and works like
a real recycling truck, lifting a trashcan over the truck and dumping the
trash inside. The 16-inch recycling truck was the winner of the 1999 CBS
Toy Test award. The recycling truck and other Earlyplay vehicles are sturdy
enough for both indoor and outdoor play. There are no small parts and no
sharp edges. The plastic construction is made with 100 percent recyclable
Playmobil Recycling Truck
The Playmobil Recycling Truck ($42.99, ages 4 and up)
has a garbage container and bins that open and close to fill and empty
with trash. The bins clip to the truck and move up and down using a side-mounted
lever. The approximately 12-inch recycler comes with a toolbox and two
figurines, and also feature a yellow blinking light (2 batteries required)
and a removable roof.
MB Garbage Truck
Bruder Toys (ToyDirectory)
has two versions of a recycling truck, the MAN Truck with One
Large Garbage Bin ($45.50) and the MB
Garbage Truck with Two Recycling Containers ($59.99), both for
ages 3-10. The MAN Truck comes with swing-out mirrors, sculptured tires,
a tipping platform, hinged sidewalls and two opening recycling containers.
The MB Garbage Truck, available in orange or green, is more than 24 inches
long. The truck has soft rubber tires and the driver’s cab opens to view
the engine. There is a side dial that actually scoops the trash from the
loading section and dumps trash from the bins into the body of the truck.
Mark Caso, vice president of sales at Bruder America, states that Bruder
Toys are made from the highest quality plastic, with excess plastic from
toy molds reused to make more toys.
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway
Trains and Wagons
Learning Curve International Inc. (ToyDirectory)
has a solution for keeping Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway
and the Island of Sodor free of litter. The train has
a two-car pack of Recycling Cars. One car carries three
recycle bins for separating paper, cans and bottles, and the other carries
removable “used” vehicle and engine tires for proper disposal. ($16.99,
Plastic Lumber Specialties Inc. (ToyDirectory)
specializes in maintenance-free outdoor building materials, which is how
they got into re-creating an environment-friendly version of the classic
wagon called Earth Wagon ($129.99). The wagon body is made
of 100-percent recycled plastic. The equivalent of 230 one-gallon milk jugs
have been diverted from landfills to make each 36-inch long Earth Wagon!
The plastic won’t rot, split or chip and the sides can be removed.
Test Tube Adventures
Kids can also do a little experimenting while learning about recycling
with the Test Tube Adventures kit by Wild Goose
Test Tube Adventures ($13.00, ages 4 and up) includes many experiments
to teach children how the world around them functions on scientific principles.
The kit includes a light-hearted instruction guide that experiments with
Recycling Joe Bender
Recycling Joe Bender by Hog Wild Toys
is a unique way to remind older kids and adults about the importance of
recycling. The Benders are durable, pose-able, plastic-coated wire characters
that have magnets in their hands and feet. Recycling Joe Bender comes in
a tin shaped like a garbage can and has a recycling tub to store coins,
paperclips and other precious metals. The set ($9.99) comes with Bender
and a tub packed inside the 3-inch high tin container, as well as a four-color
storybook to illustrate a variety of poses.
Garbage and Recycling
Garbage and Recycling (Young Discoverers: Environmental Facts
and Experiments) by Rosie Harlow with contributor Sally Morgan
is a 32-page paperback that explains the difference between biodegradable
and non-biodegradable garbage. It shows how glass, metal and wool can
be easily recycled and offers suggestions for kids interested in recycling
at home (Houghton Mifflin Co., $7.95, ages 4 to 8).
Recycle! A Handbook for Kids
Recycle! A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons interprets
the step-by-step process of recycling in a simple manner younger kids can
understand. The 32-page paperback discusses what happens to paper, glass,
aluminum cans and plastic when they are recycled into new products (Little
Brown & Co., $6.95, ages 4 to 8).
Sir Johnny's Recycling Adventure
Sir Johnny's Recycling Adventure by Rachael P. Paulson
with illustrator Delton Gerdes is the story of how one person made a big
difference in protecting the earth. The 32-page paperback teaches kids how
the recycling process works and why it is important to get involved (Crestmont
Publishing, paperback, $9.95, ages 9 to 12).