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My New Favorite Eco-Friendly Toy: Larsen Toy Lab Building Bridges Wooden Blocks

larsen toy lab blocksI think that all children should have lots of blocks!  It is really the only toy they need with their imagination as the only limitation.

Just like sewing clothes for my babies, I always envisioned I would make wooden blocks for them.  We have made some Citiblocs style blocks to expand the set we were sent for review.  What I envisioned was more what I have just discovered from a new toy company that thanks to Kickstarter is in business!

Larsen Toy Lab is founded on the idea of creating a book series and puzzles, around wooden blocks to promote critical thinking. I am so excited about these toys!

[Read more…]

Green Gift Giveaway and Product Review: Fair Trade, Handloomed, Naturally Dyed SLOWCOLOR Linen Scarves

As a weaver and fiber artist, I am fascinated by SLOWCOLOR. The video above not only explains the company’s “trend toward more conscious gifting”, but the natural, handmade processes of the weavers, spinners, and dyers inspire me. I would love to go and visit SLOWCOLOR’s artisans! That would be my dream vacation!

We were sent a beautiful Boulder Scarf to review.

  • The scarf that goes anywhere. A treasured companion on your life’s adventures: casual, elegant, for work, and for play. Men like this scarf as much as women.
  • Gauze Weave
  • 100% premium linen handloomed with pride and passion in India
  • Hand Made: As this is a hand made product, slight size and color variation only show the human touch of a soul and heart at work
  • Size: 24″x72″

I love my Boulder Scarf. It is the perfect size for how I like to wear my scarves, and the hand dyed linen is rich and beautiful. I can’t help but think of the hands involved in making this product.  Handloomed, natural plant based hand dyed, fair trade…a perfect gift for the eco-conscious!

Good News! We have one SLOWCOLOR Boulder Scarf to giveaway to a lucky reader!

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5 Green Products: Inca Kids Handmade, Fair Trade Christmas to Organic Toddler Doll

1. Inca Kids Handmade, Fair Trade Knitted Ornaments and Stockings

We’ve reviewed a few beautiful Peruvian handcrafted items from Inca Kids before, and our recent fair trade Christmas items do not disappoint!
Inca Kids is company committed to supporting Peruvian women working from home to support their children making crafts with traditional techniques and natural materials.  Their prices are affordable, and it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.  Consumers get high quality fair trade items, and artisans are supported.

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5 Green Products: Rubberwood Toys to Wooden Doll Rocker

handmadebyjules1.  Handmade by Jules Sweet Baby Hat

This handknit baby hat is from the wonderful Etsy merchant Jules Silas.  It’s made from 100% cotton yarn, which appears to be pearle.  I love the long stocking cap and tassels!

In a whole host of colors, as well as custom made, they can be worn all day, indoors and out, as well as at bed time. They won’t cause allergies like wool, yet they are not synthetic like most handknit baby hats. Made from 100% cotton, they are soft, yet sturdy and completely washable.

Jules has been knitting since childhood, and she has inspired me to take out the needles and finish that sweater I started for my daughter eight years ago, or at least think about it.

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Adorable, Fair Trade Peruvian Clothes and Toys by Inca Kids

Fair Trade by Inca KidsThis is actually the second time we have had the pleasure of reviewing Inca Kids‘ products, and we are pleased to see their fair trade, Peruvian line expanding.  My son and I are in love with the super soft, uber adorable scarf from “Casa Betania”. Adorned with cars, this scarf is sure to please any little one and fair trade discerning parent.  Made from alpaca and acrylic yarns, this scarf is not itchy and carefully crafted by women in Peru. Casa Betania:

Started as a way to assist women with lack of emotional and financial support in some of the most unprivileged areas in Lima.
On December 4, 1990 they started making jute cartridge pouches,  then they learned to embroider and sew, some women brought their tools, also fixed the schedule from 2 to 7 p.m. and wages. The group that started with 7 women, grew into a group of 23 women selling their products to churches. Cáritas of France donated 2 sewing machines and libraries as well a provided some financial support.

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Organic Baby Slings for Green Babywearing

So you’ve decided to try babywearing — perhaps you’ve read the Babywearing 101 series, or Baby Essentials That Aren’t, here at Eco Child’s Play.  As a green-minded parent, you may now be wondering what options exist for slings and carriers made of organic and eco-friendly fabrics.

You might be pleasantly surprised.  From small-business WAHM handmade slings, to big-name brands, there is a wide selection of organic baby carriers out there to choose from.  Whatever style of carrier you prefer, organic options in natural colour-grown fabrics and vivid naturally-dyed colours abound.

Here is just a partial list, to help get your search started.

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Handmade Recycled Glass Jewelry for Girls of Any Age

Handmade recycled glass jewelryOne of my favorite parts of blogging is when artisans contact us to review their products. I love discovering handmade gems I might not discover otherwise.  One such recent discovery is recycled glass jewelry and lavender sachets by Elena K. called Grace and Jewelry.

Lavender is one of my favorite herbs, and the silk sachet created by Elena K is beautiful. It smells wonderful, and beaded adornment is really nice.  As my daughter says, “It smells goodie!” [Read more…]

Happy Fun Dough Colored with All Natural Plant Extracts

All natural Happy Fun DoughKids love play dough, and of course you can make your own, but who has the time?  Even when I have made my own natural play dough, we usually end up ruining it by using unnatural food coloring.  Not Happy Fun Dough:  it’s colored with all natural plant extracts.

Happy Fun Dough has a slightly gooey texture compared to commercial Play-Doh, but it is still moldable and shapeable. The big difference between Play-Doh and Happy Fun Dough is the latter’s complete natural ingredients and recyclable metal packaging.  Made from water, flour, salt, cream of tartar, canola oil, and citric acid, Happy Fun Dough is safe and handmade.  It comes in green, natural, brown, orange, pink, and yellow.  Alternately, a gluten-free version made from rice flour is available for parents and children with celiac’s disease, although it is made in the same facility that uses wheat. [Read more…]

Keep Easter Green: Eco Concious Baskets and Fun

Here at Eco Child’s Play, we LOVE Stubby Pencil Studio when Kate Rosenthal,  mama of twin girls started her quest for safe art supplies, she found a wonderful niche to fill.  I had the opportunity to meet with Kate a while back and see her in action.  We spoke about her quest for safe products, the new CPSC/lead regulations, and how one person’s vision has turned into a busy home business.

With Easter coming, we have baskets to fill and my first thought was of Kate and her wonderful shop.  So hop on over to Stubby Pencil Studio and order up some of these fabulous eco friendly art supplies and toys (If you are in the Portland area, you can arrange pick up).  You’ll feel good knowing that your children are getting safe, sustainable products and our Earth will breathe a bit easier as well.

Start with your choice of basket or packaging (Stubby Pencil offers two basket options this year and also carries Envirosax).  If you already own baskets (or buckets, bins and bags) reuse those of course.  If not, opt for a container that can get lots of reuse (and you know your world best, so pick: a galvanized metal bucket, a cloth shopping bag, a wicker basket, a hat turned upside down, a kid sized wheel barrow, etc…

Some of our favorite basket filers: [Read more…]

Etsy Finds for Baby: Handmade, Eco Friendly and Fabulous

I loves me some Etsy Shops. What’s not to love? There are three shops based out of Portland, OR (my hometown) which I am just thrilled with and wanted to share. Isn’t it great having that perogative?

Take this adorable onesie from BurdyFlyAway. It’s hand-dyed, organic cotton, appliqued with ecospun felt (made from recycled plastic bottles) and says, “i heart trees”. Each item is unique, truly a one of a kind because of the hand dyeing process and applique technique. (Not every item is organic cotton, so choose wisely.)

BurdyFlyAway also makes fabulous t-shirt dresses for Mama… they aren’t organic cotton but otherwise the process is the same. [Read more…]

5 Reasons to Switch From Plastic Straws to Glass Straws

replace your plastic straws with glass ones

Kids like straws, and it is actually good for their oral motor development and speech articulation to use them.  As a green parent, I hate plastic straws.

They can’t be recycled, they are used one time, and they are a waste of resources.  I have purchased the thicker plastic kind before and attempted to wash them, but it is impossible to get them entirely clean.  I can only imagine what germs you would see if you cut one open and put it under a microscope!  Plastic straws can’t go in the dishwasher, or they melt or release toxic chemicals, and who knows about BPA in straws?  I have finely found the eco-alternative to the plastic straw:   GLASS!

Glass Dharma’s David Leonhardt’s mission is to “Save the Planet – 1 straw at a time”.

Here are five reasons why you should switch from plastic straws to glass ones:

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Save Handmade – Don't make February 10, 2009 Bankrupt Day

Save HandmadeRecently, Eco Child’s Play editor Jennifer Lance wrote about the CPSIA that will go into effect on February 20, 2009, thus decimating the thousands of handmade mom and pop run businesses in this country. Without the ability to sell their toys, hair accessories, clothing, and shoes (yes, it’s not just toys!), these families will be gravely affected – as will the many children and parents who have enjoyed these safe handmade toys and goods.

In response to the pending act, parents, small business owners, and online websites have joined together as a means to have their voices heard and encourage government officials to make changes to the act before it puts so many folks out of business.

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Tiny Decor: Create a Naturally Modern, Eco-Friendly Nursery or Child's Bedroom

felt bucket from Tiny DecorMany parents feed their children healthy organic food, but they often neglect to consider their child’s main environment, their bedroom or nursery, for ecological consideration. Tiny Decor is a company commited to helping families chose eco-friendly products for interior design without sacrificing style. Tiny Décor products are handmade in the USA and feature:

  • 100% organic cotton
  • Ecospun® Felt made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles
  • Bamboo fiber pillow inserts and batting
  • PLA-fiber pillow inserts made from corn

My daughter likes Tiny Decor’s felt buckets. These soft felt buckets are great for storage. My daughter keeps her Only Hearts Club dolls in her felt bucket, which may not be the most eco-friendly doll, but at least they minimize the plastic and look like girls instead Playboy models. Each bucket is made from: [Read more…]