Biochemist Michael Braungart, coauthor of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, compared Mattel to a terrorist threat, explaining how plastic toys contribute to asthma (see video below). My Little Ponies are Hasbro, but still. Could it be my old friends weren't meant for inhaling?
But there are alternatives. Wooden toys are a common example. But kids don't need all toys to be so indestructible. Even a toy with a life cycle of one week is sometimes enough.
One afternoon, I made playfood with my niece and nephew using compostable ingredients. From production to play, it was a hit! And when the fake meatballs and sushi start collecting between couch cushions and under dirty piles of laundry, return them to the soil!
Here's the recipe I used:
1. Mix 4 cups flour and 1 cup salt.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well.
3. Knead for 10-15 minutes, until dough is flexible when it bends.
4. Shape into food! We made ice cream, sushi, strawberries, and toddler-inspired nonspecific blobs.
5. Bake in the oven at 250 F/120 C for 2-3 hours. It should be pretty much rock solid.
6. Allow to cool, paint, and play!
This link will take you to where I found the recipe online, although the instructions there are for making beads - another great idea!