Trying to buy American can be frustrating in just about any store aisle, but it's especially difficult when it comes to toys. According to CNN Money, almost 90 percent of toys sold in the U.S. are actually made in China. Although that makes finding that "Made in the U.S.A." label in the toy store tricky at best, here are 20 of the most prominent companies still making their toys in the United States.
Little Tikes, founded in 1970, is known for its large, outdoor-friendly plastic toys, including playhouses, sandboxes, water tables, and the iconic Cozy Coupe push car. Based in Hudson, Ohio, the company still manufactures toys there -- 171 toys, to be exact, according to the Little Tikes website.
Based in Streetsboro, Ohio, Step2 claims to be "the largest American manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys." It has two manufacturing plants in northern Ohio, where it makes a number of popular toys including outdoor climbers and slides, ride-ons, wagons, and kids' furniture. Branded items made in the U.S. include select Corvette, Thomas the Tank Engine, Hot Wheels, and Paw Patrol toys.
True to their name, Green Toys are made of 100 percent recycled milk jugs -- in fact, the company says it has reused more than 49 million jugs to date. Based in Sausalito, California, the company also boasts that all toys are entirely made in the U.S. "from manufacturing to assembly to distribution." Products include toy trucks and cars, puzzles, blocks, tea sets, stackers, and children's dishes.
Crayola, founded in 1903, is nothing short of iconic. Though the company also has a factory in Mexico, many of the crayon-maker's products are still made in Pennsylvania. Crayola's website lists a couple dozen items specifically, including most sizes of crayon boxes, several types of markers, and washable watercolors and fingerpaints.
K'Nex have long inspired little builders-to-be, and the company makes 90 percent of its parts at its factory in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, after moving manufacturing back from China in recent years. Labels note the percentage of American-made parts in each toy. Popular toys made entirely in the U.S. include Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and several basic K'Nex sets.
Few toys are better known than the classic Slinky, introduced in 1945 and made by Alex Brands. The toy "has always been made in the USA," the company proclaims. Some of Alex Brands' other toys, including POOF foam sports balls and Shrinky Dinks, are also American-made.
AMERICAN PLASTIC TOYS
American Plastic Toys' products have been "proudly made in the USA since 1962," and the company makes more than 125 different products at five plants in Michigan and Mississippi, though it notes that some small sound components and fasteners are imported. Toys include play kitchens, dollhouses, sand toys, snow toys, and ride-ons.
VERMONT TEDDY BEAR
Founded in 1981 in Burlington, Vermont Teddy Bear is known for its heirloom-quality stuffed bears of all sizes -- it even makes a "Giant Hunka Love" bear that is 6 feet tall. The bears are still made exclusively in Vermont, and the factory is open for tours. It also boasts a "bear doctor" who repairs the bears, which are guaranteed for life.
Though it was recently purchased by the Finnish company that owns Wilson Sporting Goods, Louisville Slugger continues to manufacture its bats in Kentucky, where it began in 1884. Visitors can tour the factory in Louisville, where they'll receive a free miniature toy bat. They can also explore an interactive museum.
It doesn't get any more classic than wooden blocks. Uncle Goose makes dozens of sets, including simple alphabet blocks, whimsical animal blocks, and blocks in other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, and even Braille. They are made with sustainable wood and non-toxic ink, and all are handcrafted in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
You'll find Dirt King's pricey but ultra-durable tricycles, wagons, and carts at daycares, Head Start centers, and other spots where toys that can withstand daily use and abuse are essential. The company even makes trikes for bigger kids and adults. All of Dirt King's products are made and assembled at a factory in WaKeeney, Kansas.
If you're wishing for the simple wooden toys from times past, take note: Maple Landmark is still making them at its factory in Middlebury, Vermont. Available at more than 2,000 toy and gift shops across the U.S. and abroad, products include building blocks, cars and trucks, marble runs, pull toys, puzzles, trains, and more.
Calling all creative kids: BEKA manufactures preschool and kindergarten staples including wooden easels, art tables, weaving looms, puppet theaters and more. This family-owned company has been hand-making its toys in its St. Paul, Minnesota, workshop for more than 40 years, and uses locally grown maple whenever possible.
These STEM-friendly building sets, made of spokes that can be connected through small plastic balls to make all sorts of geometric shapes and structures, have received numerous accolades from magazines and websites, and received a coveted gold seal from the coveted Oppenheim Toy Portfolio in 2000. They are made in the company's factory in Longmont, Colorado.
Though it makes mainly children's furniture, Little Colorado also includes some toys in its manufacturing mix -- play kitchens, pull carts, doll cradles, play stands, and Lego-compatible play tables included. Their durable, sustainable products are made only from wood and are assembled in the company's factory in Denver.
Spooner balance boards, invented by some surfing buddies from California, are a first step in developing the coordination necessary for activities like skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing, and can be used both indoors and outside. They've appeared on "Shark Tank" and are manufactured in San Diego.
Bendable and stickable, Wikki Stix are a molding toy made from knitting yarn and non-toxic wax that can be shaped into just about anything. The company's products include various activity kits, including holiday themes, travel sizes and classroom fun. They're made from U.S.-sourced materials in Phoenix.
You'll often find colorful, durable Anatex activity tables, wall-play panels, play cubes, and kids' furniture in the waiting rooms of doctors' offices, preschools and daycares, or other high-traffic play areas. The company is based in Van Nuys, California, and makes almost all of its toys in the U.S.
Budding scientists and naturalists will love Dune Craft's kits, which include kid-friendly terrariums, plant-sprout kits, moldable Space Sand, and even LED-light gardens. Founded in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, in 2002, Dune Craft still makes its toys in the Buckeye State.
Channel Craft's products are nostalgia heaven: balsa wood planes, marbles, wooden tops and whistles, checkers, bingo sets, and much more. The company has grown from a one-man operation in 1983 to dozens of employees and a factory in Charleroi, Pennsylvania.