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Children’s Place

Sunday
Apr192015

Fun Children’s Book Ideas For Teaching Kids About The Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Children always want to learn from us, and there are many ways to encourage this. One is to show them by example of how to behave in the world, and another is by talking to them about things that are important to us, like preserving the planet through home conservation efforts like the Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

A great way to open age-appropriate discussions about the Three Rs is to incorporate them into storytime if your child is very young and discuss the content as you go.

For older kids, read the book yourself and then go over some of the ideas that you think are most feasible for your family and included the kids in participating. If you really get their attention, they may actually want to read the book themselves to come up with even more ideas for how to conserve at home.

I found the following assortment of books that I really like for their content and various levels of age-appropriate language in getting ideas across to kids from kindergarten to all the way to middle school.

WHY SHOULD I RECYCLE? – by Jen Green

This is a great introductory book to read with very young children. It has very easy language and has great illustrations that show how people recycle.

The story is about a little girl and her family that learn about recycling by noticing her teacher, Mr. Jones, recycling outside of his home. She watches him carry out a box of cans and asks him what he’s doing.

There is a great segue where Mr. Jones says that he will discuss it more with her class. The next day opens with a discussion about how garbage contains a lot of useful things that can be recycled or used again.

Mr. Jones then takes the class to a recycling center (which is illustrated) and shows the students what happens to bottles, cans, plastic, clothes, and paper products.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug202014

Experts Identify School Supplies With Toxic Chemicals & Offer Non-Toxic Alternatives

With summer winding down, also comes the ritual shopping for back-to-school supplies, which can be a very tricky proposition in terms for buying things that both your kids will like and also be safe for them to use.

As we get more conscious about the potentially harmful chemicals that are in traditional school supplies, we naturally want to find safer non-toxic alternatives.

Most traditional school supplies are made containing polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC, which is a plastic material that can range from very rigid (used in manufacturing things including pipes, rain gutters, water bottles, etc.) to softer materials with the addition plasticizers (such as phthalates) and stabilizers (including lead and cadmium) to make things like lunchboxes, backpacks, binders, organizers, paper clips, and art supplies.

While inexpensive and durable, PVCs do have their concerns, especially when it comes to health. For example, when used as part of home things like flooring, carpet backing, blinds, and shower curtains, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (IACHI) warns of the potential of leaching and the release of dangerous chemicals including:

  • Hydrogen chloride – a corrosive and highly toxic chemical that can irritate the skin, and in gas form can irritate and in severe cases damage the respiratory system.
  • Dioxin – a carcinogen by-product of industrial processes that can persist in the environment for a long time. The IACHI says that PVC is the largest contributor of the world’s dioxin burden.

The IACHI adds that “PVC has also been blamed for emitting chemical softeners called phthalates (in vinyl flooring), lead additives (in blinds), and toxic glues. For instance, one study of PVC shower curtains found that they released phthalates capable of causing nausea and damage to the liver and reproductive system.”

In addition, laboratory testing commissioned by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the Empire State Consumer Project in 2012 uncovered “high levels of phthalates in common school supplies including backpacks, lunchboxes, and 3-ring binders.”

The CHEJ went on to say that over 90 percent of all phthalates are used to soften vinyl products and the levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys.

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Friday
May162014

Ideas For Toddlers’ Outdoor Summer Play With Natural and Organic Push Toys

Tommy Turtle. Photo courtesy of Earthentree.

With the weather warming up, it’s a great time for the little ones to get out more, and pull toys are a great way to make it more fun.

Pull toys are great motivators for walking, promoting stability, and bring a sense of joy, self-confidence and control in being able to pull something around.

But as with all toys, it’s also important to make sure that they are safe for your child to use. Things to consider include whether there are removable pieces, their size (choking hazards), and the paint (toxic poisoning) because little kids are always putting everything in their mouths.

Always looking for things that are good for people and the environment, I found three great online boutiques – Earthentree, Maya Organic, and Little Zen Minds – that work with traditional artisan communities that create beautiful handmade pull toys that are non-toxic and made with sustainable materials.

Earthentree

Engine Stacker. Photo courtesy of Earthentree.

Earthentree prides itself on providing toys that are safe and beautiful. All of the toys are traditionally handmade by an artisan community in the city of Channapatna in southern India, where the company stresses that “absolutely no form of child labor is employed in its production process.”

Also, the materials used in making the toys are all sustainable, and the dyes are made only of natural materials. The toys are made of hale wood and rubberwood because they are lightweight with fine grains and the company assures that “the wood does not contribute to deforestation.”

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Thursday
Feb062014

Cute Ideas for Cuddly Organic Winter-Themed Stuffed Toys For That Special Baby In Your Life

Dandelion Organic Winter Snowman Plush Toy

If you’re looking for a gift for that special little one in the heart of the winter season, I have some really cute ideas for you.

When I think of winter, I think of things like snowmen, and animals that symbolize the season, like polar bears, penguins, owls, and whales.

I found these and a lot more, all made of organic and natural materials, on some very well-known websites – Diapers.com, Little Spruce Organics, and Under the Nile.

Diapers.com

Diapers.com is well known for baby supplies, like all kinds of diapers, including organic reusable cloth, and things like formulas, nursing supplies, clothes, etc. But, they also have a great collection of toys, including organic winter stuffed toys that are adorable.

The Dandelion Organic Winter Snowman Plush Toy is one of my favorites because it’s cute and it’s not specific to the holidays, and it’s great for the entire winter season.

Arctic Organic Cotton Splash Toys. Image from i play.

The snowman has an exterior velour that’s made of organic cotton fibers and the interior is filled with soft corn fibers, says Dandelion.com, which makes and also sells product itself. The snowman is 12 inches tall and is machine washable. It’s perfect for birth to three years old.

Also really cute at Diapers.com are the Arctic Organic Cotton Splash Toys from i play. They are a penguin, a polar bear, an artic whale, and a seal. There available individually at Diapers.com and as a package at i play.

These bath toys have an exterior made of cotton terry cloth with a polyester filling. They also have a hanging loop for quick drying.

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Sunday
Oct272013

Handmade Baby Blanket and Toy Maker Comes Out With Halloween Teddy Bear Collection

Handmade organic Halloween-themed teddy bears by BBsForBabies. Photo courtesy of BBsForBabies.

It’s always important to remember that Halloween is a holiday that should be enjoyed by children of all ages, even the every tiniest babies. Looking for cute Halloween gift ideas for babies that can be used for more than just a day, I came across an adorable collection of Halloween teddy bears made by BBsForBabies.

The teddy bears come in the themes of a mummy, vampire, Frankenstein, zombie, and a ghost.

Click to read more ...