Thursday, May 27, 2010

Too Good To B. True?

In case you haven't figured this out about me, I'm a wee bit picky about what my kids play with.

I like toys with what I deem LPV (long play value).

I really despise noisy toys (which really means I despise toys with batteries).

I really don't like plastic toys.

And, I get really cranky with all the packaging (in part because I can't remove half of it!) that comes with most toys.

But, as you might know, historically, it hasn't been easy to find really good toys. Moreover, it takes a lot of training to get the major gift givers (aka grandparents) to see eye-to-eye on this. (I'm pleased to report that my Mom has made much progress in this area. At Christmas she was so pleased to have found baby Rose a toy telephone that makes noise without batteries. I have come to realize that it is impossible for grandparents to comprehend, let alone accept, the "no noise" rule, so I'm letting that one slide.)

Recently, I went on a last minute search (which is never a good idea if you are picky) for a couple of little gifts for my daughter's first birthday. I went to Target, well, because I could (For those of you who know me, I have a weakness for Target which makes me ignore all my anti-big box store values.).

Of course, I found the cutest little keys--just perfect for my girl. They were super fun colors and grown-up looking (which, I thought might deter her from using our keys and car remote). Sigh. Should I just ignore my usual toy standards?

Well, good news -- I didn't have to! I'd hit the toy jackpot.

{Baby R enjoying her Funkeys. I love the photo on the left -- it looks like she's contemplating 
what road she's going to travel next.}

As it turns out, the "Funkeys" are manufactured by B. Toys -- a small toy company started last year. The company not only makes super cute, super fun and super hip-looking toys, they are also a company we can feel good about.

B. Toys is owned by long-time (since 1897!) toymaker Battat, a family-run company based in Montreal. While Battat owns the company and distributes the toys, the creative, environmental and charitable direction is led by chief toymaker (what a cool title, huh?), Gisela Voss.

B. Toys' mission is to create toys that inspire individuality -- and they are doing it in a eco- and child-friendly way....just check out some of these B. Toys features:
  • Good Plastic (Ha. got your attention, didn't I?). Any plastic used in the packaging is made from the most recyclable plastic out there -- #1! And, the plastic used in B. toys are phthalate-free and bpa free.
  • Less (or Reusable!) Packaging. The packaging for B. toys is made from recycled materials that can easily be recycled again...and printed with soy inks and water varnishes.Some toys come in pretty re-usable bags instead of other packaging. And, some packaging (like that on the keys I purchased) is designed to be easily reversed (to hide all that silly stuff that manufacturers include) to become a gift box. Brilliant!
  • Toys that Give Back. B. Toys is giving ten cents for every toy sold to Free The Children. Started 15 years ago by a 12-year-old, Free the Children has now built over 500 schools in communities around the world, providing education (the only way out of poverty) to 50,000 children every day. 
Well, today, B. Toys launched their website. I am here to tell you it is THE coolest website I've seen in a very long time. You just look at the webpages and feel a magical world come alive. And, there are all kinds of bells and whistles that not only let you explore the toys in-depth, but also allow you to share some of your own creativity (I think I'll write a whole separate blog on this!). B. sure to check out B.Toys site. You won't b. disappointed.

Seems to B. that toymakers are moving in the right direction with toymaking. Thank goodness! Way to go B. Toys!

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