Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Reuse’ Category

10 EASY green parenting choices that will save you money

1) CHOOSE SECOND-HAND ITEMS: It’s tempting for parents to buy shiny new gear for their first born, but since baby items are only used for a short period, isn’t it wiser to cut your consumption and save cash? Graciously accept donations and visit garage sales and online shops specializing in second-hand goods like Petite Repeat. Supporting a sustainable future for our children is win-win for buyers and sellers.

2) NAPPIES: When you consider that the average family can save thousands of dollars by using cloth nappies instead of disposables, it really adds up. The good news is there are heaps of modern cloth nappies that are not only easy to use but gorgeous too. Some of our faves: TotsBots EasyFit cloth nappies and Designer Bums all in ones.

3) BABY WIPES: They are a nappy bag essential, but have you ever thought about the amount of waste they create and how much money they cost in the long run? One easy way save is to keep a stack of clean baby washers next to the change table and a spray bottle with nothing more than water and a few drops of essential oil – does the trick!

4) ECO CLEANING: Ever notice how much more laundry comes into your life when you have a child? If you are doing one or more loads of washing a day, that adds up to a lot of energy and water consumption. Invest in a good eco-efficient washing machine and it will pay for itself in no time. And for most household cleaning jobs, a little vinegar and baking soda can go a long way. And when you consider the health hazards associated with many commercial cleaning products, you’ll be doing your family a favour by cutting your exposure to harmful chemicals as well as saving money.

5) GROW YOUR OWN: Food prices in Australia are on the rise, and if you prefer to buy organic, it can quickly become unaffordable. The best way to manage both issues is to plant your own veggie patch. Even if gardening is not your thing, you can start small and experiment with a few seedlings. The kids will love digging in the garden, and there’s nothing more satisfying that eating food that you’ve grown yourself.

6) LUNCHES / SNACKS: There is so much money and unnecessary packaging that can be saved by using an eco-friendly lunchbox for your kids. Stop buying expensive pre-packaged snacks or using plastic wrap for sandwiches. Buy in bulk, and find reusable containers for packing lunches. Our favourite is the Goodbyn lunchbox, which is BPA free and has handy sections.

7) TOYS / BOOKS: When play is their primary job, it doesn’t take long for kids to get bored with their toys and books. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy more. Take a trip to the local library to find something new. Most communities have a toy library as well, so you can rotate things and the fun never ends. Save new toys (and your money) for birthday and Christmas gifts.

8 ) WALK / BIKE: to the grocery store, to the park, to the pool or post office. Stop using the car so much, support local businesses, get some exercise and teach your kids the value of this – not only for their health, but for the health of the environment too. Live local.

9) WATER: Water restrictions may not be as severe as a few years ago, but we should all remain conscious of wasting water and doing our part to conserve. Installing rain water tanks and recycling bath water for the garden, etc. will save money and this valuable resource.

10) SOLAR – The Australian government has offered homeowners incentives for installing solar panels, and depending on the size of your home, you can even sell solar credits back to the grid. A great way to reduce energy bills and your impact on the environment. For more information, visit the Australian government website on solar rebates and assistance.

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SPECIAL OFFER

Itty Bitty Greenie readers can enjoy a further 15% off the already low prices of second-hand baby clothing at Petite Repeat until the end of the year by including the coupon code: ittybitty at checkout (unlimited)! Click here to start shopping.

 

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.

 

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.

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!