We’ve been getting a lot of wonderful feed back from the comments on our Green Toy Giveaway: Classic Wooden Rocking Boat and Stairs by Natural Pod. Many readers have shared they like to learn about eco-friendly products, such as natural cleaning products and toys. Honest, authentic product reviews have always been part of Eco Child’s Play; however, my own personal interests lie with reporting newsworthy information about how changes in our environment affect our kids and what we can do to mitigate it.
I don’t want product reviews to dominate Eco Child’s Play, nor do I want them to appear as advertisements. Thus, I’ve decided to do a weekly series featuring five product reviews. Each review will be based on the manufacturers green claims, my own family’s experiences, and ultimately whether or not I would purchase this product with my own money. I am quite frugal, so this will be hard recommendation to earn, as you will see from the reviews below.
Given the FTC’s new guidelines on product reviews, I will be sure to disclose any product sample that was given to my family. Sometimes I will review products purchased personally or gifts. Please be assured that I will never promise to write a positive review in exchange for a product. Although I don’t like to be negative, if a product is greenwashing or simply worthless in my opinion, I will let you know as I always have from the inception of Eco Child’s Play.
5 Green Product Reviews
1. Pregnant: a field guide to Fathering
This little book is a resource for fathers, which I much prefer to the book my mother bought my spouse during my first pregnancy.
The book is separated into two sections. Part one is called “Getting Daddy Ready”. This section concerns itself with doing just that. It helps to build self-confidence, patience, and a general understanding of what to expect when a man becomes a father…Part two of the book is entitled “Field Guide to Your Child”. This is the practical stuff. It answers questions like: How do you clip those teensy weensy finger nails without taking a little snip out of their finger?
I personally like author Gary Kleinman’s frank discussing why he made the choice to “sleep less” in a family bed, as well as how to make that transition to solo child sleeping.
Would I buy this product? Probably not, I think that the information can be gleaned from parenting books designed for both sexes or blogs such as Natural Papa.
These plank style blocks have won many awards. They are made from New Zealand pine in Vietnam, although I am not sure how sustainably it is harvested. My children have always loved blocks, as they promote open-ended play. CitiBlocs remind me of Kapla blocks and Hape’s Contina bamboo colored blocks.
Building with Citiblocs is all about making connections. Connections to ourselves and to the world around us. It is about learning naturally. With Citiblocs children can create the fantastic worlds from their imaginations or from the environment that surrounds them.
Would I buy this product? Probably not, I prefer the Hape’s bamboo version as they are probably more sustainable; however, I feel every child should have access to plank style blocks, which are my son’s favorite.
3. Eye Can Art Book in a Box Kit
This kit includes materials to make three accordion style books. The best parts of this award winning toy are the set of 12 Colored EcoPencils and idea page. From story ideas about “This scares me” to “What I dream about”, children will surely feel inspired, as my daughter has by this kit. This kit comes in a “reusable canister”; however, I feel it is overpackaged and the canister is difficult to open and thus does not promote reuse by little hands. I think children of all ages, including high school students, should make lots of handmade books to promote literacy, and it is one of my favorite activities as a teacher.
Would I buy this product? No, I can’t get past the excessive packaging, I would rather spend my money on a great resource on bookmaking, like Cover To Cover, that will inspire many more handmade books.
4. MD MOMS Baby Silk – Baby Basics 1 2 3 4 Gift Set
Many children, like my son, have very sensitive skin when they are babies. MD Moms has created a line of baby products called Baby Silk that uses some certified organic ingredients and are hypoallergenic and naturally-based. I love how this gift kit comes with a natural sea sponge, something I never considered as a great thing to use on my son’s sensitive skin. Also included are Gentle All-Over Clean Hair and Body Wash, Daily Skin Protection Moisturizing Balm, and Soothing Bottom Relief Diaper Rash Cream. As the name implies, these products were developed by pediatrician mothers.
Would I buy this product? No. MD Moms received a hazard score of 7 for the diaper cream from the Environmental Working Group. Besides the high score, these products are not available in my local stores, and I am not going to order special beauty products online when California Baby products are available at the Coop where I am already shopping.
5. Ask the Planet
This music cd was a gift from a friend for my children’s birthday. My friend, who has no children, was very moved by the music performed by the Missoula Coyote Choir. Take for example the lyrics to “The Great TV Rebellion” with Ani DiFranco:
Have you heard the story
of the day the kids broke free
From the evil oppressor known as the TV
Yes, there used to be these boxes
inside every home
That melted kids brains and
turned them into drones
Would I buy this product? No, because I don’t usually buy kids music, which usually annoys me. If I am going to spend money on tunes, it will be selfishly for me, but I am glad my friend bought my children this cd.
Disclosure: I received free samples of the above products in order to write these reviews, with the exception of the music cd.
I don´t know if this is really a good green product but if you are looking for a kids CD that won´t annoy you get “Baby Beluga” by Raffi. This is the only CD I can actually listen to all day long and once in a while I catch myself singing one of the songs in the shower. You should definitely give it a try! 🙂
Jennifer Lance says
I like the song Baby Beluga, but I do find Raffi annoying. Ask the Planet is not annoying, but I really like “Music for a Green Planet”.
Too bad. I am going to check out “Music for a Green Planet”!
Jamie Ervin says
Call me weird, I LOVE kids music… Seriously, it falls in my top choices and I happily set my iPod on shuffle which allows one to
pop up every now and then (I have kids playlists so my children can use my iPod or I can dock it).
ou know what I don’t like about “Music for a Green Planet”?
I think the best way to raise children who are environmentally conscious is to model it for them. Plain and simple. We don’t help children become good global citizens by making them activists out to save a dying planet. They need to feel deep down on a convicted level that the world is a beautiful place. They get there through concrete experience with nature, with people, with creatures. They don’t litter because we don’t litter. They don’t eat factory farmed eggs because we don’t and the chickens they know are well cared for free range hens. Its the same with their toys, with their food, their access to media. My kids don’t need a song lecturing about television. They just don’t have tv (we own one that they can watch a few dvd’s on). I’ve been raising my kids this way going on 17 years and no complaints from them.