Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Safe teething toys’ Category

Eco, organic and natural does not = boring…

eco rainbow bright

When I started my search for eco products for children — long before Itty Bitty Greenie was born — I was overwhelmed by the selection of “natural” coloured organic onesies and plain wooden toys. Sure they were pure and beautiful, but having looked forward to the time when I could buy things for my own children, I craved a little more colour and fun. After all, making eco choices shouldn’t have to be boring, right?

I’ve always found rainbows cheerful and inspiring, so I guess it’s no surprise that colourful items figure prominently in our collection of eco-fabulous finds. Here are some of my faves:

1) Plan Toys Baby Car $24.95

2) Hess Spielzeug Elephant Rattle $15.95

3) Playable Art Balls $49.95

4) Beeswax Honey Sticks (box of 12 colours) $14.95

5) Hess Spielzeug Heart Rattle $15.95

6) Frugi Rainbow Organic Babygrow $29.95

7) Rainbow Rattle and Teething toy $14.95

8) Teddy Bear Rattle and Grasping Toy $16.95

9) Little Innoscents Certified Organic Skincare for children – gift set $19.95

10) Tots Bots EasyFit modern cloth nappy – Rainbow Spot print $32.95

11) Plan Toys Oval Xylophone $39.95

12) Frugi Rainbow Spot Organic Babygrow $24.95

Hess-Spielzeug: Child-friendly and Earth-friendly Toys

Hess Spielzeug

When it comes to wooden toys, German toy makers seem to have an unsurpassed reputation for being world leaders. Hess-Spielzeug is one of the top brands, and we love their designs because not only do they offer quality hand-made craftsmanship, the materials used are also carefully selected from renewable resources and are 100% non-toxic.

The company was founded in 1990 by Claudia Hess in the small village of Olbernhau, Germany. Hess was inspired by watching her own two children at play, and created the first wooden pacifier holders and pram toys. The range now includes rattles, baby gyms, puzzles and games, mobiles and much more.

In the years since its launch, Hess-Spielzeug has earned industry accolades for its colourful collection of innovative, safe and child-friendly designs. Our favourites include the wooden baby rattles, especially the Rainbow Rattle and Heart Rattle, that are suitable from birth. Equipped with colourful beads, bendy parts and small bells, they promote sensory development for babies at play.

They also provide safe and natural teething relief and, as with the case of the toy bear and elephant designs, they’re easy to grasp, which makes for a lovely first toy for babies.

Hess SpielzeugFor those who are a little older, the teddy bear stacker helps children learn about size, colour and hand-eye co-ordination. And new to the range are some very fun toys on wheels, including the pony, turtle and car, that are great eco-friendly toddler toys as they encourage movement and promote the development of gross motor skills.

It’s worth mentioning that all paints and stains are water-based, non-toxic and saliva-resistant. All other materials used such as strings, elastics and glues are also non-toxic and child-safe. Any metal part such as clips and bells are nickel free, and Hess-Spielzeug toys fully comply with European and Australian safety standards for toys.

View the whole range of Hess-Spielzeug toys at Itty Bitty Greenie.

An eco-fabulous Easter gift guide

If you’re looking for some sweet Easter treats that don’t involve chocolate and that are eco-fabulous too, here’s our Easter gift guide for the Itty Bitties in your life.

1) Organic cotton “Birds nest” baby onesie $27.95

2) Dandelion Organic Duck squeaker baby toy, with a squeaky pudgy belly and happy hands that crinkle! $16.95

3) Jack N Jill Organic Toothpaste, in 5 fruity flavours $6.95 (no added colour, sugar or preservatives)

4) Jack N Jill Biodegradable Toothbrush $5.95, made from 100% corn starch that can be added to your compost

5) The Yolk Folk recycled paper animals $12.95, a very sweet set of chicks and an eco-friendly toy

6) Makedo Cup Critters $5.95. Upcycle a plain coffee cup into a fun Easter bunny!

7) Pink Bunny Organic Teething Blanket $26.95. Helps support organizations dedicated to Breast Cancer Research

8)  Organic Plush Duck $34.95, made from organic velour with textured toes, tuggable wings and a rattle, too

9) Kids Konserve Nesting Trio of Stainless Steel containers $32.95. Three sizes perfect for storing Easter treats!

10) Daisy Chain Babygrow $24.95. Ethically made from organic cotton. Check out the matching muslin blankets

Tools for Natural Teething Relief

Most of us don’t remember what it feels like, but when you think about what’s going on during the teething process, it’s understandable that babies can be fussy or in need of extra comfort during this time. As a parent, it’s never easy to see your child in pain, and it can be difficult to know what will offer relief when their needs change from day to day. Sometimes they need hard surfaces to help the teeth move closer to the gumline. Sometimes they need something cool or soft to ease sore, swollen gums.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned are good options from teething trials with my own children, as well as speaking with other parents about their experiences, while aiming to find the most natural teething relief options possible.

1) SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE: There’s a reason this cheerful giraffe is the most popular teething toy in the world. Babies love the texture of the natural, eco-friendly rubber it’s made from, and best of all, Sophie’s long legs offer relief that a teething ring cannot when those back teeth come in. Her gentle squeak provides extra stimulation and parents can rest assured they’re not exposing their babies to toxins like BPA or phthalates.

2) GREEN TOYS TWIST TEETHER: made from recycled plastic, this lightweight, three-dimensional teether toy has uniquely shaped and colorful charms with distinct textures to stimulate visual and tactile senses.

3) NATURSUTTEN TEETHING RING: The starfish shape of this natural rubber toy is easy for babies to get into their mouth, but large enough as to not cause a choking hazard. It also features different textures that babies love to feel with their mouths.

4) RiNGLEY organic teething toys: The natural maple wood ring provides great relief when babies are in need of a hard texture while teething, and the organic terrycloth is great comfort when they need something softer. Dip the terrycloth in cold water or freeze it, and the RiNGLEY also provides comfort when your child prefers something cold.

5) JACK N’ JILL SILICONE TOOTHBRUSH: made from 100% medical-grade silicone with rounded dimples to massage teething gums and soft bristles for gentle cleaning. Pair with Jack N’ Jill organic toothpaste for safe cleaning from the time they cut their first tooth.

Happy Birthday Sophie!

Oh Sophie, you don’t look a day over … wait a second. You’re 50? Wow, what’s your secret?

For those of us who know and love this little giraffe there’s no secret to her lasting appeal. Born in 1961 in France, Sophie the Giraffe has made parents (and SO many drooling babies) smile for half a century now with that soft little squeak, cute contrasting spots, and super-soft texture that is just the best for teething relief.

I love the fact this toy is still hand made using the same traditional rotational molding process, from eco-friendly, all-natural and sustainable rubber derived from the Havea tree. The fact that it’s natural rubber means it’s also completely safe and free from BPA, phthalates or other harmful additives commonly found in teething toys.

To celebrate Sophie’s birthday, Itty Bitty Greenie is offering 25% off any Sophie sold in May. We’ll gift wrap her for free, too!

Here’s a fun little video that tells more about Sophie’s heritage and journey through the years:

From milk jugs to pure joy

I love seeing people discover the classic and colourful Green Toys range for the first time. The reaction is generally the same: “Hey, look! That’s so cool!” Then when I tell them they are made from 100% recycled plastic sourced from thrown away milk jugs, their eyebrows raise, and I get a surprised: “Really?”

Yes, really! Green Toys is one of the most innovative eco-friendly companies on the planet, committed to using environmentally friendly materials in everything they produce, from their unique line of recycled plastic toys, right down to their 100% recycled cardboard packaging that comes without the usual mess of twist-ties and glue to cause frustration for anyone having to open them and delaying the joy of a child waiting to play.

The recycling truck is a perennial favourite, not only for its unique design with no metal axles and slots for sorting recyclables, but because it also fits so perfectly with the “green” message we can pass on to our children in a fun way. It’s also important to note that these toys contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings. They’re food-safe and are also safe for babies to teethe on.

And just when I thought this company couldn’t top itself, after winning accolades and multiple toy and child development awards the world over, they release a new line of toys that are now available for the first time in Australia at Itty Bitty Greenie. Check it out:

1)   The Green Toys Fire Truck
Put out 3-alarm blazes. Rescue kittens from treetops. Protect the environment from harm. This is just a typical day in the life of the Green Toys Fire Truck, the world’s greenest emergency vehicle. Watch how this truck (and all it’s features) work in action with this YouTube video.

2)   The Green Toys Tugboat
There’s no end to the good green fun young sailors can have with the Green Toys Tugboat. This colorful craft floats and has a wide spout to scoop and pour water. It comes in 3 colour combinations too. Watch kids playing with it here.

3)   The Green Toys Racecars
Available in blue or pink, this cool hot rod is better than any hybrid, and proudly displays the #2 recycled plastic symbol from which it is made on its hood.

4)   The Green Toys flatbed truck and racecar
This sturdy blue truck hauls our sleek red hot rod on its back, and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off.

5)   The Green Toys Blocks
All 18 boldly coloured blocks are oversized and lightweight, making it super easy for tiny hands to stack and unstack. This unique block set includes a variety of shapes for building castles, towers, or any imaginative structure budding architects can dream up. Watch the YouTube video of kids in action with these blocks.

6)   The Green Toys Stacker
The eight whimsically coloured nesting pieces stack easily from large to small, while also allowing little builders to use their imagination and stack in any order. This toy has won multiple parenting awards – see how real kids use it here.

7)   The Green Toys Pizza Parlour
Pizza lovers can pretend and play chef and server by taking orders, creating custom pizzas, and serving guests. This colourful 27-piece set features four slices that can be stacked with toppings galore to dish up any personal pie.

8)  The Green Toys Sandwich Shop
Young chefs can open their own imaginary cafe and take orders, create sandwiches and serve guests. This 15-piece, stackable, mix-and-match play food set comes with all the fixings to create two complete sandwiches.

For more information on Green Toys, visit their website, where there’s lots more information about how the brand started, what others are saying about them, and they even keep a running tally of the number of milk jugs that have been recycled to date.

To celebrate the release of Green Toys’ new line in Australia, Itty Bitty Greenie is offering the complete range at 20% off until the end of May, and as always, we gift wrap for free!

Don’t be a dummy when choosing a dummy…

Natursutten natural soother BPA free dummy

I remember being adamant that my baby would never use a pacifier – thinking they were just one of those devices to make up lazy or poor parenting. If MY baby had all the love and cuddles he needed, there would be no use for a nasty plastic soother … right?

Wrong. Two weeks after the birth of my son, and hours of cuddles and rocking and breast feeding and many many tears later (from both me and him), my mother gently suggested that I try a soother. I hated the idea of it, I hated the look of it and absolutely hated that it was called a “dummy” here in Australia, and I resisted further. One more week of sleep deprivation and tears and I gave in. To my surprise, slight disappointment and tremendous relief – it worked. Like magic.

But then I had to worry about the dangers of BPA, phthalates and other toxins, as well as keeping it sterilized. Thankfully, I discovered Natursutten pacifiers, made from natural, sustainable rubber (from the tree Hevea brasiliensi), which is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. They are softer than silicone, and extremely hygienic because they are moulded in one piece, so there are no joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate.

Natursutten packageAs the name suggests, Natursutten means “natural soother” in Danish, where the company is located. And since they are made from natural rubber, you avoid allergy-causing substances, artificial colours, cancer-causing substances, hormone-disturbing substances, chemical softeners, parabens, BPA, PVC and phthalates. Hooray!

For anyone who has seen them before, you’ll recognize Natursutten’s unique colour and shape – which I think looks kind of cute and reminiscent of those old cartoon character drawings of babies … or perhaps even Maggie Simpson?

Natursutten soothers come in two styles (round and orthodontic); and three sizes (small 0-6m; medium 6-12m and large 12m+) and are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie. RRP $9.95.

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Baby

Gift guide for Itty Bitty Babies

Baby’s first Christmas is such a special time, and we all know new parents are often in need of not just cute clothes but baby essentials like skin care, baby bottles, swaddle blankets and pacifiers too. Why not give them something that’s not only useful, but all-natural, organic and safe too?

Here’s our eco-fabulous gift guide for those Itty Bitty Babies in your life.

1) Ringley all-natural maple wood and organic cotton teething ring (RRP $19.95)

2) Aden + Anais organic muslin wraps in four styles: Bloom, Safari, Sky and Snuggle Bug. Each one comes with a matching organic muslin bag (RRP $39.95)

3) Natursutten all-natural rubber pacifiers are BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free (RRP $9.95)

4) Green to Grow baby bottles (and nipples) are toxin free and eco-friendly (RRP $19.95-22.95)

5) Little Wings Organic cotton dress with fairy pattern, designed in Australia (RRP $54.95)

6) Little Wings Organic Cotton bloomers with frill, designed in Australia (RRP $24.95)

7) Organic cotton and lace baby dress, made from 100% organic Egyptian Cotton (RRP $44.95)

8)  Plan Toys Baby Car, made from eco-friendly and chemical-free wood (RRP $22.95) 

9) Dandelion Organic Cotton baby toys: Crinkle Bear ; Squeaker Duck and Rattling Frog (RRP $16.95 each)

10) Little Innoscents certified organic bath products and skin care (RRP $10.99- $19.99)

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Animal Lover

Gifts for Animal Lovers

There’s a reason why so many children’s books and films have animal themes and characters – kids love them! And when toddlers are learning their first words, sound effects make great teaching tools. (I still wonder whether my son will ever learn that it’s actually called a dog and not a “woof woof!”)

Inspired by my own love of animals, (and the joy I get from watching children learn about animals and all their noises), here are some gift ideas for the Itty Bitty Animal Lover.

1) Organic Bath Towels with a hood, perfect for the bath or beach … and dress-ups too! (RRP $ 54.95)
Elfie the Elephant, Hazel the Hippo, Milo the Monkey, Chico the Chicken and Tito the Tiger

2) Orchard Toys Farmyard Puzzles, set of 6 made from recycled cardboard (RRP $27.95)

3) Sophie the Giraffe Teething Toy, made from all-natural rubber, she’s ever-so-sweet (RRP $34.95)

4) Dandelion Plush Duck, 100% organic cotton and stuffed with corn fibre, it rattles too! (RRP $34.95)

5) Little Panda soft book, and Little Monkey soft book, made from Polartec Fleece (recycled material) (RRP $16.95)

6) Zebra Pull-a-long toy, made from eco-friendly rubber wood (RRP $34.95)

7) Organic Cotton “Jungle” Lunchbug (RRP $39.95)

8)  Set of 4 Farm Animals Puzzles, made from recycled cardboard (RRP $19.95)

Sophie’s the #1 choice

For nearly 50 years Sophie the Giraffe has been loved by babies all around the world, and she has become an iconic toy that has been passed through generations, a favourite among celebrity mums, old-school mums and modern mums alike. But what makes me love this classic teething toy so much more, is the fact it is also eco-friendly, all natural and toxin-free.

For those who don’t know her heritage, Sophie was born in 1961 in Paris. She is made by the French company Vulli, located in the French Alps, from 100% natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree that grows in Malaysia. Every morning, before the daytime heat sets in, the milky liquid latex that oozes from beneath the bark of these trees is collected. Vulli then applies a traditional process of rotational moulding to shape the rubber into Sophie as we know her. Amazingly, each Sophie is still produced traditionally, involving 14 manual operations before completion. With more than 30 million Sophies sold around the world, that’s a lot of manual labour!

Even more amazing, Sophie’s popularity grew by simple word of mouth – mums obviously know a good toy when they find one – and there are plenty of reasons why. This toy is not only soothing for teething babies, it’s great for early learning because it stimulates all five senses:

SIGHT – the dark and contrasting spots of the giraffe provide visual stimulation for young babies

HEARING – the gentle squeak of Sophie stimulates hearing and keeps babies amused

TASTE – the natural rubber is soft on gums and the all-natural food paint is non-toxic and completely safe for babies

SMELL – the singular scent of natural rubber makes Sophie the Giraffe very special and easy for a child to identify among all their other toys

TOUCH – the shape of Sophie’s long neck and legs is easy for little hands to grip; she’s also very light and soft to touch

It’s no wonder this sweet little giraffe has become the star she is today.  Soft and soothing, the perfect size to hold and chew, Sophie comforts and pacifies babies like no other toy or dummy can.

Buy Sophie here and we’ll gift wrap her for free!