Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Eco Holidays’ Category

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 Christmas

For the past few years we’ve been trying to make our holidays a little more “green”. Here are some of the things we are doing in our family – and I hope you’ll share with us your tips for an eco Christmas too.

1) SEND ELECTRONIC CARDS INSTEAD OF PAPER: I started doing this a few years ago when I discovered Paperless Post. You can customize amazing designs with everything from family portraits to personalized verses and fonts. It proves you don’t have to compromise on sending lovely greetings by going online. Plus you save the carbon footprint of mailing paper cards.

2) THINK OUTSIDE THE TREE: Perhaps it’s the tree hugger in me, but the thought of chopping one down so it can stand in the corner of my living room for a few weeks drying out, seems wasteful. And don’t get me started on the artificial ones… There are so many interesting options that can be just as much fun for the family to decorate. I love this collection of found sticks (pictured right). It’s beautiful, unique, and something fun and memorable for the children to create. Think of the possibilities when every year they can come up with a new tree.

3) GET CREATIVE WITH WRAPPING: Use Santa sacs or recycled paper. Up-cycle greeting cards to use as gift tags. Use your children’s artwork as gift wrap. The more personal your wrapping, the more memorable the gift.

4) CONNECT WITH NATURE: In our family we have a tradition of a pre-Christmas picnic, where we can enjoy time outside together in a peaceful setting before the inevitable madness and overindulgence of Christmas Day. We also like to plant something as a way of giving back to the earth, and to help foster values of sustainability with the kids.

5) BUY LESS STUFF: To me, the best gifts are ones that are either hand-made or that offer an “experience” instead of a thing. Tickets to a show, a spa voucher or a special hand-made item can create a beautiful memory, and to me that’s more valuable than something that is mass produced. For those on your list that have everything, think of alternatives, like Oxfam’s unwrapped gifts that help fight poverty worldwide.

SHARE AND WIN: Tell us in the comments below how you and your family try to celebrate a greener Christmas and you can WIN A $100 GIFT VOUCHER and a copy of our eco book “Santa Claus is Green” which includes fun tips and ideas on how kids and families can celebrate a merry green holiday, and over 20 stickers.

*entrants must be a resident of Australia. Winner will be announced and contacted via email on Dec. 15

 

Living in a dirtgirlworld

Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.”
— Native American proverb

Dirt Girl WorldOn World Environment Day (June 5) this year, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by encouraging kids to get grubby with our favourite mini environmentalist — Dirt Girl.

One of the best ways to help your child connect with their natural environment is to spend time outside, do some growing in the garden and, even better, get them to keep a scrapbook of their adventures.

The new dirtgirlworld scrapbook can become a daily diary, a garden journal, a recipe book, an art pad or a field guide — in fact, anything kids would like. There’s also an expansion pack, with planting guides, weather stickers and more great ideas for keeping the journal.

I love that this is an item that your child can use and expand over time to express themselves and record their own experiences in their natural environment — and hopefully to foster an appreciation for the great outdoors as well. I also love that it’s printed in Australia on 100% recycled paper.

To celebrate the release of the dirtgirlworld scrapbook and World Environment Day, there are some wonderful eco carnivales happening throughout Australia. Visit www.dirtgirlworld.com/worldenvironmentday for more information and for a chance to win some amazing prizes too, including a Plan Toys Eco Charging Station from Itty Bitty Greenie!

The dirtgirlworld scrapbook and expansion pack are available at Itty Bitty Greenie.

Earth Day: Then and Now

While I like to think that every day is Earth Day in our house, I know that when the internationally recognized Earth Day pops up on the calendar, it’s a chance to get others thinking about things they can do to show their consideration for this great big planet of ours.

Earth Day started in San Francisco in 1970 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Why San Francisco? Well it’s the city named after Saint Francis, the patron saint of ecology. That, and there was a senator there who decided to hold a “teach-in” on April 22, 1970 to educate and mobilize people on environmental issues. To everyone’s surprise, 20 million Americans participated in colleges and universities, while environmental groups also came together recognizing they shared common values.

Now lead by the Earth Day Network, 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities on April 22 each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. The network works year round to broaden the environmental movement through education, programs and partnerships that affect change at the local, national and international level.

And for little ol’ you and me, Earth Day is a chance to reflect – ideally with the whole family – on ways to help preserve and protect our environment, and more importantly, act. Whether you have a discussion at the dinner table, get the kids involved in some garden activities or crafts, or simply pledge your act of green along with millions of others on the Earth Day website, no gesture is too small.

Tell us your act of green right here and you have a chance to win a $100 gift voucher from Itty Bitty Greenie. Add your comment below – and one lucky greenie will be chosen and notified on April 23.

For more information, visit the Earth Day Network, which has a variety of tools to help you plan your own Earth Day event, or simply pledge your act of green, right along with millions of others across the globe.

Also, visit our “Earth Day” board on Pinterest, for more tips and activities to get your green on this year.

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.

 

5 easy eco-friendly Easter crafts

Easter is one of those family friendly holidays most of us look forward to, and this year, why not get into the spirit with some eco-inspired craft ideas that are easy to do with the kids? The big day is only a couple of weeks away, so hippity hop to it!

1) UPCYCLED EASTER BASKETS:  Use soda bottles, empty tins, a bit of ribbon, cloth or pipe cleaners to make some colourful baskets. Kids will love to add their own personal touches in anticipation of the egg hunt. To make it even more authentic, plant a few grass seeds in the bottom of the basket about a week before the big day – so much prettier than fake plastic grass!

2) NATURAL EGG DYES: Most commercial egg dying kits are made with chemical-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, using household ingredients like coffee, beet juice, blueberries and more. Here are some great natural egg-dying recipes.

3) TOILET ROLL BUNNIES & CHICKS: This is an easy craft to do with the kids that has pretty adorable results. Just take some empty toilet rolls and a bit of paint or coloured paper & feathers to create an Easter bunny or chick that’s perfect for holding a few treats.

 

 

4) EGG CARTON CRAFTS: There are lots of ways to take a used egg carton and make it into something fun for Easter. I particularly like these chicks and bunnies that are easy to do with toddlers. Just take a few paper scraps to cut out some ears and feet, glue them on, and there you have it! Or if you’re more ambitious, try this gorgeous egg carton wreath made with paint, scraps of paper and material and a bit of cardboard.

5) EASTER GARLAND: Don’t you love it when you find a craft idea that takes one thing and reincarnates it into something completely different? This garland is made with recycled paint chips, and it’s great way to make any room in your home look festive and cheerful for the holiday. Find the how-to instructions here.

Hope these ideas inspire you to get crafty with some items you probably already have around the house. I know my son and I are going to have fun making toilet roll bunnies and chicks. Wishing you and yours a very happy Easter.