Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Eco-friendly toys’ Category

Christmas Time For Toys

Christmas Time for Toys with a few that make our list!  Christmas is a time of open hearts and kindness and giving the simplest of token in a gesture of goodwill and happiness makes us feel remembered and loved! It doesn’t need to break the bank either!
Be creative and up-cycle or revamp an old treasure or maybe add a bit of the old and the new together!
Think Recycle, Happy and Fun!

If you’re looking for some Eco-friendly Christmas Toys here are a few that make our list for eco-fabulous kids!

Christmas Time with Green Toys! 

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1) Pop-out and Play Christmas A magical winter wonderland to play and display! $16.95

2) Plan Toys Fire Truck Wooden Toy for junior rescuers! $24.95

3) Green Toys Fire Engine Race to the rescue! $32.95

4) Kit Pax Fire Station Build for fun-filled action! $39.95

5) Green Toys Fire Truck Protect the environment from harm! $52.95

6) Green Toys Fire Station Playset Spark imaginative play with your little firefighter! $99.95

7) Day and Night First Word Book From tummy time to toddler’s first words! $19.95

8) ABC Touch & Feel Alphabet Book Interactive play for sensory and language awareness! $19.95

9) Count with Me 1-2-3 Book Foldout Double Sided Animals for learning and fun! $19.95

10) Wooden Stacking Rabbit  Classic Toy with a modern look! $45.00

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Discover More Fun Eco-toys for Playing
Shop – 20% Off Now until 20th December, 2016.
using code: Xmasrescue at checkout. (Australia Only)

 

 

eco baby toys / ecofriendly wooden toys / green toys / plan toys / orchard toys / petitcollage toys / ravensburger / hess spielburg toys / tigertribe toys /dandelion /greenstart books /mibo / vulli toys

 

Six clever ways to upcycle kids clothes

You don’t have to be a Greenie mum to appreciate second-hand baby clothes. Since we all know how quickly children grow out of their clothing (especially babies), accepting hand-me-downs from family or friends is a great way to prolong the life of garments and (yes) it’s also a sensible option if you aim to keep things eco-friendly by reducing and reusing. I love seeing my children’s old clothing worn by one of my friend’s kids — it always brings back memories. But what about those pieces that you want to hang on to for sentimental reasons, or the ones that are so worn they are beyond repair?

 

Here are a few clever ways to re-purpose used clothing and, if you are feeling crafty and inspired, create something even more special.

 

1) Make a memory quilt or pillow

While those baby days may seem long, before you know it your child will be ready for their big-boy/girl bed, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal and hand-made quilt or pillow for them to cuddle up with? Using special baby clothes that they’ve outgrown, you can design something truly unique and heirloom worthy, whether you have the sewing skills or not. Websites like custommade.com and morethanquilts.com allow you to create your own design in collaboration with someone who will do the handiwork for you. Hooray!

 

2) Make a soft toy

Have an old sweater that hasn’t been worn in a while but you don’t want to part with? Consider making a new toy for your little one. I love these soft balls, that would make a colourful and unique baby gift. Or you can use scrap pieces of fabric to create a unique soft toy that your child can help to design – perhaps based on their favourite animal. Feeling even more ambitious? How about making a set of letters to introduce your little one to the alphabet and spelling?

 

3) Make a piece of artwork or wreath

I love the idea of using old bits and pieces of fabric and ribbons to create a colourful wreath. In fact, I’m totally doing this for my little girl’s room! Or, if you have an old T-shirt that your child loves but has outgrown, stretch it over a canvas frame for a unique and personal piece of artwork.

 

upcycling children's clothes

 

4) Make hair accessories

Put on your crafty hat, take an old T-shirt, cut it into strips, braid the pieces, and voila – a colourful headband for your little girl. There are lots of tutorials for making headbands and hair clips on Pinterest. And goodness knows my little one is always losing hers, so having a few extra would definitely come in handy.

 

5) Make doll clothes

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a few orphan socks (where do they go?). Well here’s a clever and easy idea for creating a Barbie dress with one. Or you could take old baby tops and pants and make them into doll’s clothing with a few easy nips and tucks.

 

6) Make an activity book

I love this book that uses all kinds of different pieces of clothing to tech kids how to zip, button and snap. The different textures make for a unique sensory experience for little ones, and it introduces them to problem-solving, too.

 

All images are courtesy of Pinterest. Like these? You’ll love our IttyBittyGreenie Pinterest boards. Check them out and follow us here.

 

Eco, organic and natural does not = boring…

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When I started my search for eco products for children — long before Itty Bitty Greenie was born — I was overwhelmed by the selection of “natural” coloured organic onesies and plain wooden toys. Sure they were pure and beautiful, but having looked forward to the time when I could buy things for my own children, I craved a little more colour and fun. After all, making eco choices shouldn’t have to be boring, right?

I’ve always found rainbows cheerful and inspiring, so I guess it’s no surprise that colourful items figure prominently in our collection of eco-fabulous finds. Here are some of my faves:

1) Plan Toys Baby Car $24.95

2) Hess Spielzeug Elephant Rattle $15.95

3) Playable Art Balls $49.95

4) Beeswax Honey Sticks (box of 12 colours) $14.95

5) Hess Spielzeug Heart Rattle $15.95

6) Frugi Rainbow Organic Babygrow $29.95

7) Rainbow Rattle and Teething toy $14.95

8) Teddy Bear Rattle and Grasping Toy $16.95

9) Little Innoscents Certified Organic Skincare for children – gift set $19.95

10) Tots Bots EasyFit modern cloth nappy – Rainbow Spot print $32.95

11) Plan Toys Oval Xylophone $39.95

12) Frugi Rainbow Spot Organic Babygrow $24.95

Hess-Spielzeug: Child-friendly and Earth-friendly Toys

Hess Spielzeug

When it comes to wooden toys, German toy makers seem to have an unsurpassed reputation for being world leaders. Hess-Spielzeug is one of the top brands, and we love their designs because not only do they offer quality hand-made craftsmanship, the materials used are also carefully selected from renewable resources and are 100% non-toxic.

The company was founded in 1990 by Claudia Hess in the small village of Olbernhau, Germany. Hess was inspired by watching her own two children at play, and created the first wooden pacifier holders and pram toys. The range now includes rattles, baby gyms, puzzles and games, mobiles and much more.

In the years since its launch, Hess-Spielzeug has earned industry accolades for its colourful collection of innovative, safe and child-friendly designs. Our favourites include the wooden baby rattles, especially the Rainbow Rattle and Heart Rattle, that are suitable from birth. Equipped with colourful beads, bendy parts and small bells, they promote sensory development for babies at play.

They also provide safe and natural teething relief and, as with the case of the toy bear and elephant designs, they’re easy to grasp, which makes for a lovely first toy for babies.

Hess SpielzeugFor those who are a little older, the teddy bear stacker helps children learn about size, colour and hand-eye co-ordination. And new to the range are some very fun toys on wheels, including the pony, turtle and car, that are great eco-friendly toddler toys as they encourage movement and promote the development of gross motor skills.

It’s worth mentioning that all paints and stains are water-based, non-toxic and saliva-resistant. All other materials used such as strings, elastics and glues are also non-toxic and child-safe. Any metal part such as clips and bells are nickel free, and Hess-Spielzeug toys fully comply with European and Australian safety standards for toys.

View the whole range of Hess-Spielzeug toys at Itty Bitty Greenie.

The Big One – Top Eco Toys for your Baby’s first Birthday

Of all the milestones your child reaches in the first year, the big one – the big ONE – that first birthday is so special. And while it’s true most children at this age can’t tell much difference between all those brightly coloured toys, before you know it they’ll master every one of them and even choose some favourites.

Finding toys that are fun AND safe can be a bit of a challenge. Since most toddlers put absolutely everything in their mouths, it’s best to be mindful of the materials used. Always check safety standards and try to consider environmental impacts by choosing items made from natural and eco-friendly materials.

Here my top five eco-friendly, non-toxic toys perfect for a first birthday:

Pull Along Toys

1) Pull-along toys

They’re great for little ones who are just learning how to walk because they encourage movement and toddlers love watching the toy follow them as they walk or cruise along. Each pull-along toy in the award-winning Plan Toys collection has a different movement that’s captivating. The zebra bobs its head, the snake slithers side to side, the alligator dances and clatters … see the whole range here.

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2) Musical Toys

Drums, shakers, xylophones – any musical instrument is a good way to develop hand-eye co-ordination and reinforce a natural sense of rhythm that all children have. My favourite is the colourful Plan Toys wooden xylophone.

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3) Stacking toys and puzzles

It might seem early to start puzzles at age one, but simple puzzles, stacking toys,  and shape sorters are wonderful for developing hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills and language. They’re also a great rainy day activity.

 

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4) Honeysticks

By age one most children are still learning to grasp and manipulate objects, and Honeysticks beeswax crayons are great because they are chubby and easy to grip. They’re also handmade in New Zealand from beeswax and non-toxic pigments so they are natural and safe for children.

 

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5) Green Toys Vehicles

Whether it’s the recycling truck, the tugboat or one of the race cars, these not only incorporate super-cool design (made from 100% recycled plastic) they’re also BPA, phthalate and lead free, amazingly durable and wonderful for encouraging imaginative play. Take them to the beach, the bath, the garden – wherever your itty bitty likes to play!

View our entire range of eco-friendly toys in the Itty Bitty Greenie shop.

 

Building puzzles = building life skills

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Putting together puzzles is something I hadn’t done for years until my son was old enough to take an interest, and when we started doing them together, I was quickly reminded why I loved the activity as a child.

It involves several aspects of the thinking process, and it’s this cognitive engagement that makes puzzles a great activity for children of all ages. Child play therapists argue that puzzles build skills that can be applied to most aspects of daily living.

Here are the top five developmental benefits of doing puzzles:

1) Hand-eye co-ordination: From an early age, simple puzzles and stacking toys can help babies recognize shapes and, through trial and error, they can manipulate pieces to fit in the proper spots. Wooden puzzles and shape sorters are great for this.

2) Fine motor skills: As their spatial awareness develops, puzzles give children a chance to exercise mental manipulation as well as physical dexterity. By learning to grasp and manipulate pieces, children develop their fine motor skills in the process.

3) Problem solving: Puzzles create an opportunity to develop your little one’s critical thinking, work on planning, logic, reasoning, organization and deductive skills.

Ravensburger-3-in-a-Box-Preschool-Jigsaw-Puzzles-Nursery-Rhyme-14034349-54) Language development: Word and picture association offered by puzzles allows children to build and expand their vocabulary. Puzzles built around nursery rhymes, for example, can be a fun way to build associations with pictures and stories.

5) Social skills and self-esteem: When children work together in co-operative play it encourages communication as they take turns, negotiate where they think the pieces should go and why, and in the end they can share the satisfaction of seeing their masterpiece completed. Puzzles can also help children with attention issues, such as those with ADHD, to stay engaged.

At Itty Bitty Greenie, we aim to offer a range of challenging eco puzzles and games for children aged 0-5 that are not only intellectually stimulating, colourful and fun, but also environmentally friendly. Click here to view our range of eco-friendly puzzles (made from recycled board) by Orchard Toys, Ravensburger, Mudpuppy, and more.

An eco-fabulous Easter gift guide

If you’re looking for some sweet Easter treats that don’t involve chocolate and that are eco-fabulous too, here’s our Easter gift guide for the Itty Bitties in your life.

1) Organic cotton “Birds nest” baby onesie $27.95

2) Dandelion Organic Duck squeaker baby toy, with a squeaky pudgy belly and happy hands that crinkle! $16.95

3) Jack N Jill Organic Toothpaste, in 5 fruity flavours $6.95 (no added colour, sugar or preservatives)

4) Jack N Jill Biodegradable Toothbrush $5.95, made from 100% corn starch that can be added to your compost

5) The Yolk Folk recycled paper animals $12.95, a very sweet set of chicks and an eco-friendly toy

6) Makedo Cup Critters $5.95. Upcycle a plain coffee cup into a fun Easter bunny!

7) Pink Bunny Organic Teething Blanket $26.95. Helps support organizations dedicated to Breast Cancer Research

8)  Organic Plush Duck $34.95, made from organic velour with textured toes, tuggable wings and a rattle, too

9) Kids Konserve Nesting Trio of Stainless Steel containers $32.95. Three sizes perfect for storing Easter treats!

10) Daisy Chain Babygrow $24.95. Ethically made from organic cotton. Check out the matching muslin blankets

5 steps to a greener Easter

After Christmas, Easter is one of those kid-friendly holidays we all look forward to. Here are some easy tips to help you celebrate in a more eco-friendly way:

1)  CHOOSE FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE
One of the best things about Easter is the excuse to indulge in chocolate. It’s a $100-million industry in Australia alone, but unfortunately most of what you’ll find on store shelves is the result of cacao sourced unethically, including trafficked children, child slavery and hazardous labour. Take a moment this year to support fair trade brands. Here’s World Vision’s guide to buying fair trade chocolate in Australia.

2)  ECO-FRIENDLY EGGS
Most commercial egg dying kits are made with petroleum or coal tar-based artificial colours that can pose a risk to health, including allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. There are many natural options for dying eggs that are just as colourful and fun to do with your children. Here are some great natural egg-dying recipes.

3)   SKIP THE PLASTIC
If the traditional Easter egg is a symbol of birth, resurrection, or a more paganesque celebration of fertility, then what does a plastic Easter egg signify? This year, why not skip the garish plastic eggs, baskets and grass for natural alternatives? Even better, get your children involved with some eco-friendly craft ideas that are sure to make the occasion more fun and memorable.

4)  GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY NATURE
An Easter egg hunt is a perfect chance for kids to explore all the nooks and crannies of the garden, so get outside and make it fun for everyone. Studies have shown that people who spend time outside are healthier, both physically and mentally. Take a deep breath, touch the grass, climb a tree, and run around with your kids – what better way to start a holiday?

5)   ENJOY A MEAL THAT’S LOCAL AND SEASONAL
Most families have their own traditions for Easter lunch or dinner, and why not create new ones by enjoying some seasonal dishes sourced from locally and organically grown produce? In Australia we are blessed with an abundance of pumpkin, sweet corn, figs, pears and apples this time of year (to name a few). Eating seasonally encourages you to buy local produce, which will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also save you the labour costs of transport and storage, as well as supporting your local economy. For information, visit the seasonal food guide.

 

Makedo your own toy masterpiece this Christmas

For many of us with children, there’s a familiar scene on Christmas morning after all the presents have been opened and the kids are happily playing with their new treasures: a mass of packaging carnage littered across the lounge room floor. And while it used to be that this “waste” was discarded or recycled and forgotten, there’s a better way to engage kids in the process, and even get them making their own new toys and Christmas masterpieces by upcycling.

Makedo is a connector system that enables everyday materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures. It has been hailed as the “Lego of the next generation” by media around the world, and has won some very impressive toy and design awards. But did you know that it was conceived by a Melbourne-based company?

I love the brand because not only does it inspire children to use their creativity and change their perspective on what might otherwise be thought of as rubbish, it also has no boundaries, it celebrates sustainability and aims to foster social change and sharing.

The makedo system started with the Freeplay Kit that includes their clever “re-clips” (reusable nylon connectors), “lock hinges” for creating corners, and “safe saw” for cutting cardboard or plastic as needed. Recently they’ve added new products to the line, including a “Find & Make Robot” “Find and Make Car” “Find and Make Dollhouse” and “Find and Make Flowers”, which are all based on the same concept of using found materials to inspire new creations.

And of course, coffee lovers will adore their newest addition to the makedo family: Makedo Cup Critters, which allow you to take an ordinary coffee cup and turn it into a cute creature, from silly monkeys and cheeky chicken, to happy hippos and waddling penguins.

Best of all, the parts are reusable, and the possibilities are endless. The makedo website has instructional videos, teacher resources and a photo gallery where you can upload your own creations and connect with others.

Discover the makedo range this Christmas at Itty Bitty Greenie, and share your creations with us too – we’d love to see them!

Win a Green Toys Recycling Truck!

I had a laugh the other day when I dropped my son off at childcare, and noticed as I was leaving that there were quite a few kidlets with their noses pressed against the window watching intently… and just what were they so interested in? Why it was rubbish day, and the recycling truck was on it’s way down the street to pick up the bins.

I don’t know what the fascination is about the rubbish truck, but I do remember waiting eagerly to watch the same weekly event when I was a child. And that’s probably one of the reasons the Green Toys version of the recycling truck is such a popular toy. It’s an awesome eco design, made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers and no metal axles – it even has a movable recycling bed and open/shut rear door.

My son received one as a gift on his second birthday, and I can honestly say he’s played with it almost every day since. He sorts rocks, sticks, cardboard and just about anything he can find before re-enacting the ceremonial “dumping of the rubbish” complete with some pretty interesting sound effects.

Since we know our customers love this classic, we’re giving one away in time for Christmas! Just tell us in the comments below any of your own recycling tips. Whether it’s getting the little ones to help with sorting, or “upcycling” by reusing household items for crafts and such, we’d love to hear your ideas.

A winner will be chosen at random and notified on Dec. 10. In the meantime, discover the entire Green Toys range at Itty Bitty Greenie – and save 20% until Christmas!