Game show offers plenty of eco-friendly toys

November 18, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The fair introduces the season's hottest toys. In some cases, you can even talk to the inventors of the games. This could also sway some parents to "green" their child's toy chest.

To a boy with a beat, acoustics are all that count. For Brian Curran and his wife who are purchasing a baby walker, sound also matters.

"Not too noisy, not too loud. So that's a good thing," said Brian Curran, Lincoln Square.

Both toys share similar traits. They are products of Plan Toys. The company's toys are made from chemical-free rubber wood. They use no toxic wood glue and only soy ink or water-based dyes. And those aren't the only pluses for these new parents.

"It's got a nicer look. It feels like it's going to last a little longer than some of the plastic junk that you see," said Curran.

Store owner Martha Burrows says she's seeing more customers looking for sustainably-made toys.

"I think the demand actually is going up on green toys, organic toys because a few years ago, they were a little too pricey for most people," said Burrows. "We have price points that are green that are $5.99 and up, so it really makes it accessible to the consumer."

And it's no wonder that green toys, including a line of cooperative board games by Peaceable Kingdoms, will represent a growing segment of earth-friendly toys at the upcoming Chicago Toy and Game show.

"Their pieces are made with corn. The playing pieces are made with corn. Their inks are made with soy. The materials are all recyclable completely. It's a beautiful line of games," said Mary Couzin, president, Chicago Toy And Game Group.

You'll be able to check out thousands of toys at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair Game this weekend at Navy Pier. It's open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For ticket prices and a complete list of vendors, visit

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