The way I see it, if your kids are going to fall in love with colorful shape sorters and battery-operated talking phones anyway–and trust me, they are–they might as well be from a company like

This small company used to license their designs to the Parents line of toys which is why that toy phone looks so familiar. Now they’re doing their own thang–albeit with funkier color schemes and more adventurous motifs. In fact, their site reveals the teeniest, barely detectable bit of subversive defiance against their former constraints. Or at least that’s how I read it when they imply that their colors are inspired by travels and imagination, not by focus groups. (I like that in a company!)

The range of mercifully gender-neutral children’s toys come in beautiful packaging, with clever names like the squishy Elemenosqueeze ABC blocks, the Toulouse-LapTrec “sketchpad,” and the Meowsic child’s keyboard that looks like–what else–a kitty cat. Will it drive you less nuts than any other battery-operated keyboard? Not really. But you can feel better about the purchase (or gift from Aunt Judy) considering they really do seem to be walking the eco walk as much as they can. The toys are reported to be free of Pthalates and lead, and even BPA when teething is a consideration.

The recycled packaging is printed with soy inks, and is meant to be reused. Plus nearly all the packaging is gift-ready, which is a nice treat for those of us scrambling for last minute shower gifts and no time to fumble with scotch tape.

Hit the website–it’s a smart bit of branding and a lot of fun to read. And those of you thinking no mass-produced toys EVER just might find yourselves with a decent answer when the grandparents ask you what they can pick up at Target for the kid’s next birthday. –Liz

Find children’s toys from at your local toy boutique, or at Target in store and online. Plus for every purchase, makes a contribution to Free the Children.

NOTE: has voluntarily recalled a couple of their items due to breakage. Please see their announcement for details.