Because the Dancing Bear is a battery-free toy store, it’s safe to say that we have some pretty unique toys. But it’s not just the toys that are unique. The toy companies behind these products are, too.
These days the toy industry isn’t just about making great products for kids; it’s about making a social and ethical impact on the world. Here are three of those companies that we love because of their open-ended, make-a-difference toys (all of which you can find at the Bear!).
Pronounced “TAY-goo,” this toy company is based in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras, where they manufacture their magnetic wooden blocks.
Each of their polarizing wooden building blocks has invisible north and south poles hidden inside, inspiring endless creative play. Children can not only build up but also out, working against gravity with the use of the magnets. The smooth, wooden blocks and planks come in natural wood grain stains and vibrant colors; some sets come with wheels, too.
Tegu’s top priority is to help the nation of Honduras, the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, in three main ways:
–To provide living wage jobs with opportunities for career growth and development to native Hondurans
–To support reforestation efforts — For every one tree Tegu harvests, they plant another 983
–To educate children by sending kids to school through their partnership with a Honduran school, AFE (Amor, Fe y Esperanza)
Tegu harvests hardwood from Central America and uses 100% non-toxic, water–based dyes on their blocks, meeting CPSIA and EN standards and making them safe for children and the environment.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
Proudly based and made in the USA (Philadelphia, to be exact), Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty creates one-of-a-kind putty by one-of-a-kind individuals.
Like silly putty but taken to the next level, Thinking Putty is meant to keep little hands busy and growing minds active. You can bounce it, tear it, roll it, knead it, etc. The cool factor: certain varieties have scientific properties — some are magnetic, others are heat-sensitive and change color after handling, and others are UV-light reactive and glow in the dark. It doesn’t dry out, isn’t gooey or sticky, and comes in many different colors, like crystal-clear liquid glass, metallic gold, and glow-in-the-dark green.
Crazy Aaron’s employs exceptional individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities to create growth and career opportunities for them. The company helps these individuals to develop vocational skills and economic self-sufficiency through their work, and furnishes their workplace with special accommodations and trained supervisors.
Thinking Putty is silicon-based, non-toxic, inert, and safe for children ages three and up. There’s no latex, gluten, wheat compounds, or phthalates, so it’s safe to use by those with sensitivity to wheat or latex and won’t promote latex allergies. It also gets a thumbs up for meeting EU and CPSIA standards.
Bears for Humanity
A high-quality, cuddly teddy bear and a mission to help children less fortunate than others — what could be better?
Wanting to give the best to their newborn twins, the founders of Bears for Humanity were inspired to create a safe, sustainable, and soft stuffed animal. Working with textile experts, they now make the highest-quality, organic faux fur teddy bear. No synthetics here! Taking it one step further, the couple helps other children in need to give them the very best, too.
The company aims to cultivate safety, sustainability, and hope through their three-fold mission:
–“Buy one, give one”: With every purchase they donate an equal bear to a child in need. Through their partnership with a wide network of charitable foundations they give thousands of teddy bears to children in foster care, those with illnesses, or children from underprivileged families.
–Safe and organic: Nothing synthetic or harmful — need we say more?
–Jobs for Americans: At their factory in Union City, California, Bears for Humanity trains and employs individuals, especially at-risk mothers, through CalWORKS, California’s welfare–to–work program.
The company uses GOTS 100% Certified Organic Fibers for their teddy bears’ fur, making it sustainable for the environment and safe for kids.
The next time you stop by the Bear, be sure to take a look at any of these three awesome toys and see for yourself why we love them and their companies so much!