Thursday, April 17, 2008

Options in Eco-Friendly Toys Growing but Not Great

Yesterday was the first bike day of the season at the Freen's daycare. For those of you who haven't met my son and were confused by my previous references to “the Freen” and my mother…we call our son Freen, sometimes Freeny, occasionally Mr. Green Freen and less frequently but with some regularity McFreeny. The name evolved from Peak Freen – because he is indeed a serious little cookie. For purposes of this blog, I will call him the Freen.

So anyway, bike day….last year each and every bike day was met with great joy and excitement (which meant getting ready for school was not the usual daily battle of wills), however, yesterday the Freen chose to remind me that he is my child.

Me: Morning Freen! Guess what…today is bike day!!!

The Freen: Frown, grumble, incoherent whine

Me: Whaaat’s the matter?

The Freen: I want a super fast motor bike with music.

Me: Whaaat? Oh like the Andrew and Alex's bikes but those are baby bikes…frown, grumble, incoherent whine under my breath...big ugly noisy plastic things.

The Freen: Loudly but coherently... I waaant a new bike.

Me: But your bike cost a fortune and took forever to put together and was supposed to last until you were five…. frown, grumble, incoherent whine under my breath...damn German engineering I can’t even figure out how to move the seat.

The Freen: Pushing his bike awayloud and quite clear... I want a motorcycle.

Me: knowing glare to husband that says we have to get out of this one horse, three motorbike town… Well I can’t get one now so you either go to school bikeless on bike day or you take this bike and we can look online for a new bike tonight...Regretting them immediately as the words leave my mouth.

The Freen: Ok. Can I have some cheerios?

So the day goes by. No calls from school saying that the Freen refused to participate in bike day so all seems to be well in the world. I pick him up, bring him home, we walk in the door and…

The Freen: Where is my new bike?

Me: Whaaat? Oh Freeney, I didn’t buy one today. We can look online. Didn’t you have fun at bike day?

The Freen: Yes. Computer. Up peese!

Feeling defeated by both my son and the damn German engineering, I pulled him on my lap and went to the Toys ‘R’ Us website and we looked for bikes together. We agreed on a mildly offensive Thomas bicycle which should last at least the summer.

Made in China? – Definitely.

Risk of lead paint? – Possibly.

Does he care? – No.

Is there a good alternative? -- Not yet…not unless I want to spend almost $300 on something LikeaBike that while very cool, I am just not sure would measure up.

I haven’t ordered the new bike yet. I figure I have until the next bike day and he seems happy enough for now just knowing there are cooler bikes out there. Perhaps someone will come out with a $60 eco-friendly bike with a horn that plays the Thomas song and has Spider Man painted in soy ink on the seat in the next two weeks.

Unlikely, but while on the Toys ‘R’ Us website, I did notice that they are launching a natural toys product line. It seems some became available today, however according to In Store Marketer the complete line is due out by Earth Day and will include natural wooden toys, cotton plush animals and organic cotton dolls. It will use recycled packaging and carry the tag line “Recycle, Renew, Reuse, Re-think.” Stay tuned for more on their new line and other natural toys as I continue to explore.

If you know of any other good resources for eco-friendly toys (besides organic cotton stuffed dolls) because the Freen just isn’t interested, please share.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice site for eco-friendly toys