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The Good and the Bad on Gender Specific Toys

Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing. As parents and grandparents search for quality gifts for the youngsters, the topic of gender specific clothes and toys is sure to arise in some families.

Don’t give my daughter that Bride Barbie Doll, give her a bulldozer was my mantra when she was a toddler.  Actually, I preferred wooden blocks, but you can only have so many.

Until I had both a son and a daughter, I did not really believe in gender differences. I thought they were largely cultural, which they are. Although there are aspects of our culture that I want to protect my children from, such as the commericialization of childhood, there are aspects of our culture that we cannot deny and are not necessarily harmful in the right context.

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Green Gift Giving: Eco-Friendly 100% Recycled Wrapping Paper

I don’t like wrapping presents.  Not only can’t I fold perfect corners, but I can’t help but feel it is a waste of paper, especially for a large present.

Sure children delight in tearing it to pieces, and I have tried saving it, but let’s admit it…wrapping paper is a single-use product like a plastic bag.

There are a lot of great alternatives to paper wrapping.  Reusable shopping bags, like ChicoBag , are great, but really, how many shopping bags does one person need. I already have them coming out my ears.  Fabric is also a great alternative, but it is more expensive, and you have to be a quilter to really put those scraps to use.

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The Top 10 Holiday Gift Guides

Janelle Sorensen

Forget paging through catalogues (do people still do that in the digital age?) or spending hours traipsing from store to store. You will find everything you need for everyone on your shopping list right here. In no particular order, here are my current top ten holiday gift guides:

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Natural Toy Review: Vermont Teddy Bear Go Green and Woolen Bear

Go Green Bear

Go Green Bear

Trying to keep your house free from toys that have dubious origins and unhealthy materials can be tough sometimes, especially when well-meaning relatives send gifts that they think your kids will enjoy (but that come from mainstream toymakers).

So when Vermont Teddy Bear offered to let me review a couple of their eco-conscious bears, I was jazzed to check them out and to see what my older kids (ages 11 and 4) thought about them. [Read more…]

20 Great Organic Cotton T-Shirts and Onesies for Kids

organic cotton onesie with peace logoJennifer wrote about Kee Ka yesterday here on Eco Child’s Play, and I thought I would add a few more kids clothing ideas to the mix.  The monkey ensemble she highlighted was actually one of our favorite outfits we received as a gift for our son when he was born last fall.  It was a true breath of fresh air.  You see, here in Texas, we like our boys dressed in clothes that reflect real manly values.  Tools, trucks, sports logos, and cowboy gear abound on clothes for our sons, and that’s as it should be…

…unless you’re a parent that hates looking at tools, trucks, sports logos, and cowboy gear, in which case you’re up a creek.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all of the hand-me-downs we’ve received since our son was born last fall.  Passing clothing down from kid to kid is an American tradition that’s thrifty and environmentally responsible at the same time.  I’ve also had a great time going through resale shops and thrift stores and I’ve found some good stuff.  Blue jean shorts for $1?  Sold!

However,  since kiddo isn’t old enough to care about his own clothes yet, we are actually the primary viewers of his wardrobe and we are starting to get a bit tired of all the “All Boy All The Time” look – and it is darn difficult to find anything else unless you buy new.  I know it isn’t any easier on the other side. Announcing “it’s a girl!” seems to trigger a pink clothing avalanche.  (Also see Amy’s post on GirlMogul for some alternatives.)

So if you’re on the hunt for something to break the mold and liven up your babe’s couture, here’s a list of 20 eco-friendly shirts that don’t scream boy or girl (or cowboy).  Use the money you saved on the jean shorts to splurge a little, or drop a few hints to the grandparents. [Read more…]