5 “Eco-Friendly” Products: SnackTime Survival Kit, Aubrey Organics, Maple Landmark Wooden Vehicles, Ice Pop Joy, & HappySqueeze/HappyMorning

1. The SnackTime Survival Kit

Is your child overweight or constantly bugging you for snacks? Then this product may be for you.

The SnackTime Survival Kit gives children control over their own snack choices, and by keeping an eye on the clocks, they gain control over their own snack times. Each SnackTime Survival Kit contains a wooden clock board and a deck of 33 fun, easy and delicious snack cards. Beautifully crafted to appeal to both children and parents, the wooden clock board is a whimsical and colorful wall-mounted clock that contains 1 large working clock and 3 small faux display clocks – with moveable hands to set snack times and a hook to hold the cards in place. Each morning, kids choose up to 3 snacks from the deck, parents set the snack times, hang the cards on the hooks – and the rest is up to the kids. The SnackTime Survival Kit can be played as a daily game with toddlers and preschool children. The object of the game? To wait until the clocks match up before asking for a snack. Only the winners get to move on to the “snack-tivity” – and helping Mom make their own snack.

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How To Save Money On Green & Healthy School Supplies

by Janelle Sorensen, Chief Communications Officer, Healthy Child Healthy World

Though most kids cover their ears and run away screaming at the mention of it, back-to-school time is here. And, if you’re a parent concerned with the health and environmental impacts of school supplies, you may want to run away screaming when you see the price tag on most eco-friendly products.

Have no fear, Healthy Child is here! We’ve collected practical advice from moms in our community to help you save money on green and healthy school supplies.

Check out these resources and share your tips in the comments!

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5 Green Products: Growums, Green Earth Technologies G Oil, Born Free, Bumbleride, SmartKlean

1. Children’s Stir-Fry Garden plus Free Access to an Interactive Gardening Website

Growums are little kits for that make it easy for children to have their own little gardens. The two kits we received are for a stir fry and herb garden.

“Hello, there! I’m Brok Lee. You might recognize me as the handsome vegetable found in many famous foods. My performance in the Growums Stir-Fry Garden is especially fantastic! My co-stars Bok Choy, Carin the carrot, and Sugar Snap & Sweet Pea can put on an award-worthy garden show for you. But eating healthy foods is no act! When you grow and eat vitamin-packed vegetables like us, you can perform your best, too!”

Although a seed pack costs less than these kits, my children always seem to fall for such marketing. I, on the other hand, get annoyed with cartoon characters of plants, as found on the website.  For some kids, they need such silliness to get them interested in growing their own gardens.

The Growums kits come with seeds and coco pellets.  I would rather my children learn to plant seeds in soil, as I have taught them.  Gardening is easy. Growing food is easy.  Kits may make them seem easy for children, but why not learn how to grow food in reality from the get go?

Would I buy this product? No.  I’d rather just give my children seeds and their own section of the garden. They don’t need an interactive website to learn about growing food. In fact, we head into the garden to simplify our lives and get away from technology.

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More Barbie Greenwashing: Sustainable Dream Home

 

Yes, I played with Barbies as a child, even though it is one of my favorite toys to bash on Eco Child’s Play.  Of course, having the dolls was not enough…we needed accessories!  My sister had the Barbie Corvette, and I had the Barbie Swimming Pool.  I still remember its toxic vinyl smell.  One thing we always coveted but never owned was a Barbie Dream Home.

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5 Green Products: Blue Manatee Boxes, Bebe au Lait, Yummi Bears Organics, Bella & Harry, B. Onesie

1.  Blue Manatee Eco Box

Blue Manatee Boxes combines children’s inspiration from a simple cardboard box with themed literacy.  We have all experienced the creativity of children as the box a gift has come in becomes more exciting and longer sustaining of play than the actual toy it contained.  Blue Manatee makes the box and its packaging an essential part of the experience.

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5 Green Products: Green Kid Crafts, Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow, Scholastic Storybook Treasures, Altruette Nature Conservancy Charm, Under the Nile Endangered Species


1. Green Kid Crafts: Canvas Puppet and Guatemalan Worry Dolls

One of the things I think I could do to become a better parent is to do more craft projects with my kids. Unfortunately, it is my nature to take on big projects. We’ve started a quilt, but in reality, finding time is hard.

Green Kid Crafts has a simple solution.  This monthly service sends you a little package with all you need to make an eco-friendly craft with your children.  Three craft kits are sent out each month. [Read more...]

5 Green Products: Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay, Joe Reilly, Love Crunch, Bambo Training Pants, Blessing Bank

1.  Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay

Unless you have a Celiac child or family member, you may not realize how sensitive to gluten these individuals are even to topical applications. My father got sick from hanging wallpaper with wheat paste, for example. Play dough is another example where children benefit from gluten-free products.

Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay combines aromatherapy with organic ingredients:

Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay is a 100% natural modeling clay made using only certified Gluten Free flours, Kosher salt and organic essential oils. No synthetics, no artificial dyes, nothing but natural. Feels great to play with.

Both children and adults benefit from the tactile and olfactory magnificence of this clay. Knead, mold and shape your cares away.

This clay uses the power of aromatherapy to soothe (lavender), uplift (sweet orange), ease the anxious (bergamot), inspire (lemongrass), balance (geranium), refresh (cardamom )and create complete relaxation (chamomile).

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5 Green Products: Woodsy Words, Smens, Little Looster, Maty’s Quiet Relief Cough Syrup, Goodbyn Bynto Lunchbox

1. Woodsy Words Game

Woodsy Words is an eco-friendly take on the classic children’s game of pick up sticks.  Just like the original, you drop all of the sticks, then try to pick one up without moving the others.  What makes this game unique is each stick is printed with an “earth-friendy word”.

From “recycle” to “ocean”, Woodsy Words gives an added literacy twist to pick up sticks.  Furthermore, each stick is made from bamboo and printed with vegetable ink.

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The Black Barbie Doll: Multiculturalism or Token Gesture?

We are no fans of Barbie here on Eco Child’s Play.  From greenwashing to negatively affecting girls’ body image, almost no little girl in America grows up without this plastic doll.

She comes in many shades and styles now (and we all know Ken was gay).  I recently came across a post on Teaching Tolerance that reminded me of my own childhood experience with the Black Barbie Doll.

Black Barbie was introduced in 1980.  I was nine-years-old then, and the trip to the toy store for this doll is memorable for many reasons.  My sister and I were so excited to get the doll.  We drove in my mom’s MGB with the top down. Unfortunately, on the way home (dolls in hand), we were involved in a serious car accident.  No one was hurt, as I recall.  I think our Black Barbies survived.

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NY May Follow SF and Ban Happy Meal Toys

I grew up on McDonald’s Happy Meals.  I am not overweight, and my cholesterol levels are fine.  How often did I have one? Probably only a couple times a month.  I became a vegetarian at age 16, and I have not had any McDonald’s food since.  My children have only eaten fast food twice, and that was with grandparents without parental consent.

Why do families eat at McDonald’s?  Is it convenience?  Is it the price?  It certainly can’t be for the quality of the food or the quality of the toy.

Last fall, San Francisco banned toys in high calorie meals targeted for children.  This decision has been debated as parent’s choice versus the interest of public health.  Now the Big Apple may follow the City by the Bay. [Read more...]

5 “Green” Products: RuMe, Mighty Nest/Tree Hopper, O’bon, SmartyPants, PlanetBox

1. RuMe Reusable Bags

I have finally integrated reusable bags into all of my shopping trips!  Once I started remembering, I couldn’t stop!

RuMe Bags are designed in Denver, Colorado and made in a fair trade factory in South Korea.

RuMe’s premier product, the reusable RuMe bag, is designed and packaged following a no-waste philosophy, so there is no superfluous packaging or waste. Most importantly, all RuMe products are designed in the U.S. and manufactured in South Korea in a government certified Fair Trade Factory that incorporates policies and standards that include, but are not limited to:

  • A fair, living wage for all factory employees (2007 per capita GDP of South Korea is estimated at USD $24,600 per year by the CIA Fact Book).
  • Employees have ample meal breaks, are not obligated to work overtime without proper compensation and may unionize if they choose.
  • The factory is modern, clean, well lit and has emergency protocols in place.

RuMe’s manufacturing partner in South Korea belongs to the Fair Trade Commission.

I typically associate Fair Trade with farmers not factories, and since these bags are made of manmade polyester, the term threw me.

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5 Green Products: k & j Sunprotective Clothing, Magic Bean Wishes, Aqueduck, Baby Bullet, Pins on a Map

1. k & j Sunprotective Clothing

It’s hard to think of the need for sun protection when we have snow on the ground, but spring really is just around the corner (I sound like Ma in The Long Winter).  Although the sun is good for people, and sunscreen blocks vitamin D absorption, as well as contains cancer causing chemicals, sun protection is necessary for extended periods outdoors.

k & j Sunprotective Clothing is a chemical-free, cotton line of clothing for infants and toddlers that provides UPF 50 protection and blocks 99% of the sun’s rays.

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Bye, Bye Rubber Ducky: Canada Bans 6 Phthalates in Vinyl Plastic Toys


Often the most toxic toys are given to the youngest children as teethers.  Soft plastic toys are softened with chemicals called phthalates.  Starting in June 2011, Canada is restricting six of these phthalates by banning toys “that contain greater than allowable concentrations”.

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq explains in Environment News Service:

Today, we are acting to make the toys and products that young Canadians use even safer. New regulations will ensure products that are imported, sold or advertised in Canada do not present a risk of phthalate exposure to children and infants.

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5 Top Green Parent Posts: Hershey & Child Labor, ADHD & Diet, Increased Sedentary Behavior Before Adolescence, Russian Baby Swinger, Evil Disney Princesses

1.  Natural Papa: Hershey’s Chocolate Changes Children’s Lives (but not the way you might think)

Hershey is the favorite chocolate brand in the U.S., with 42.5% of the market, but much of the cocoa used to produce their chocolate may very well have been produced with forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor.

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