My “baby” recently turned 3. Unfortunately, his entire wish list consisted of plastic toys–from Legos to these weird Mashem things, there was nary a wooden/woolen/beeswax item to be found.
My kids play with Legos more than any other toy, and fortunately, they are made of ABS plastic, which is of pretty low toxicity concern.
As for other toys you ask my about often, here’s my opinion:
Melissa & Doug: My kids have a lot of this stuff, but it’s all made in China, and some of it has been found to be contaminated with heavy metals. Ideally, it should be avoided, although that’s easier said than done.
Plan Toys: Plan makes all of their toys in a sustainable factory in Thailand. It’s their own factory and they maintain control of the production, so I basically trust that they are non-toxic toys, really use water-based paint, etc.
Hape: Made in China, but they maintain control of their factory and most of the materials (paints, etc.) are from Germany. I feel okay about this brand.
Grimm’s (also called Spiel & Holz): German-made and non-toxic, although somewhat hard to find in the United States. These wooden toys are stained instead of painted, so no chipping!
Green Toys: Plastic, but made of recycled polyethylene, a very safe, non-leaching type of plastic. I like that these toys are made in America, too.
Maple Landmark: Their Schoolhouse Naturals line is free of any kind of finish.
Haba: Most of their wooden toys are produced in Germany, with non-toxic paints and finishes.
Under the Nile: Great organic cotton toys and teethers.
Camden Rose: Amazing wooden toys and teethers. They will make anything untreated at your request, or use a beeswax/jojoba finish or a food-grade mineral oil (I don’t love the use of mineral oil in skincare products, but I’m okay with it in toys.)
Hevea: Natural rubber balls and bath toys.
We will be publishing a more comprehensive Safe Toy Guide in the fall: please email Aiyana with your suggestions!