How child’s play went woke: Industry fair reveals new range of socially-conscious toys

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Britain’s top toy manufacturers are becoming socially conscious, after announcing the release of ‘woke’ playthings – including recycled teddy bears and a book about a gay rainbow.

At the country’s biggest toy exhibition, a number of companies announced new eco-friendly, and LGBT-positive, toys set to hit the shelves this year.

One company has even created a range of teddy bears made completely out of recycled plastic bottles – based on animals most under threat from plastic pollution.

Keel Eco is a line of 100 per cent recyclable and sustainable toys that feature a range of endangered animals.

Kids can play with an orangutan, hawksbill turtle, a blue whale, and many more soft playthings that used to be soft drink waste.

Launched by British brand Keel, the line was launched at the Toy Fair in London.

Sales director Steve Cox said: ‘Keel Eco is 100 per cent recycled, 100 per cent huggable.

‘We start from plastic bottles, which then get shredded, and from that they get made into little pellets that become yarn, and then we create that into fabric.

‘Creating fabric in this way is 59 per cent less energy than making virgin polyester.

‘To make it 100 per cent eco-friendly and sustainable, we use recycled cotton for the eyes.

‘We use recycled glass beads in the body of it. Even the sewing label is recycled.’

Steve said that kids are becoming more eco-friendly than their parents, so a sustainable toy is important to them.

He said: ‘The great thing is that kids are more eco-aware than the people who are selling it.

‘The reaction from the kids has been so good.

‘There are more and more people talking about the life cycle of a product.

‘A great thing about a soft toy is that it’s not a five minute fad toy.

‘Our hope is that they will pass it down the family or people will give it to a charity shop so they can keep being loved for generations.’

Many of the products available at the Toy Fair, in Kensington, central London, today are being marketed as gender-neutral.

The Mark Makers, a book and soft toy range to teach young children the building blocks of letters, is made by Eduk8.

One of the characters is Archie, a rainbow, which teaches how to use curves.

Sabrina Weddle, spokesperson for Eduk8, said: ‘Archie’s a boy and he’s a rainbow.

‘There’s now more to the LGBTQ+, you can add an R!’

She added: ‘We design and manufacture the majority of the toys to get as much educational value in them.

‘All kids can use them.’

Rachel Fay, the author of The Mark Makers, said: ‘It’s an early writing program and teaches kids to make marks.

‘Lionel represents straight lines, Archie represents curves.

‘It’s for everyone, as all toys should be.’

A Toy Fair spokesperson said: ‘It’s very encouraging a lot of our exhibitors are no longer targeting towards their products towards boys or girls.

‘Many of the toys available today are gender-neutral and can be played with by anyone.

‘Kids just want to play with what interests them. It’s fantastic to see.’

 

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