Nuremberg: The hottest "green" toy in Germany isn`t made of organic or recycled materials. That`s so 2010. This one has a solar panel and only runs if kids remember to insert bright red "energy stones" that power the rest of the space station.
Germany, a pioneer in many renewable energy initiatives, is also at the forefront of creating environment-friendly toys aimed at making kids think about where energy comes from and how much of it they can use, raising awareness through play.
A panoply of high-tech green toys are on display at this year`s Nuremberg toy fair, which runs through Sunday. Among them, hydroelectric-powered toy cars, and doll houses with wind turbines and rainwater catchers.
The bright green "Future Planet" space station features an inner atrium with a fan that is powered by a functioning solar cell. Its aim is to get kids to use their imagination about how energy will be created in the future.
Makers and retailers believe such toys will play an increasingly important role in their future — and that of our kids.
"Energy is the question of the future and we are definitely thinking about this as we move ahead," said Judith Schweinitz, a spokeswoman for Playmobil, maker of the solar panel-fitted space station. "It is increasingly being brought into our play concept."
Green toys — which range from those made of sustainable materials to ones like the space station that just raise environmental awareness — make up only a sliver of the nearly $84 billion international toy market, but their share is growing, studies indicate. Environmental research firm Earthsense, based in Syracuse, New York, predicts that green toys will account for about $1 billion, or 5 percent, of US toy sales in the next five years.