Teaching your children to tread lightly and leave as small of a carbon footprint begins when they are infants. Your examples will do far more to teach your children about green, eco-friendly living than any words of wisdom you will impart to them. Begin teaching them about green living by giving them green gifts and eco-friendly toys. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to go green with your kids – – from the Christmas tree to every surprise under it. However, these tips for green gift giving will help you teach your children about green living all year long.
1. Buy organic toys, clothing and gifts – Pesticides and fertilizers sprayed on crops contaminate the soil and water systems in addition to creating a hazard for your child. Chemically treated fabric is terrible for your child and for the environment. Search for organic products made from naturally dyed and organically grown cotton, bamboo and wool when buying toys and clothes. In addition, when you are buying toys for your children, make sure they are free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for toys that use water-based, low-VOC or no-VOC paints to protect your children and the environment.
2. Opt for sturdy wooden toys – Toys made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) should be avoided like the plague. PVC releases toxins into the environment from the manufacturing stage through disposal. Many of these toys also contain phthalates that is linked to cancer. Instead of harming the environment, and possibly your child, with PVC toys, opt for wooden toys made from sustainable wood. Look for wood toys that are FSC-certified to ensure they are made from wood that has been forested responsibly. Wooden toys are more durable, last longer and can be recycled, up-cycled or donated to other children to be enjoyed for years. An excellent example is the Green Dollhouse available at Discovery Store. The entire house is completely eco-efficient to teach great lessons while having hours of fun.
3. Buy organic toys and clothing – Pesticides and fertilizers used on crops contaminate the environment including the soil, air and water systems. Chemically treated fabric and fibers then make their way into the toys and clothing you buy for your children. Shop for organic and naturally dyed fabrics such as cotton, bamboo and wool. Also, read the labels of stuffed animals to check for materials used as the stuffing. Browse the organic toys at Eden Home for suggestions.
4. Do forget the batteries, please! – Electronics are the hottest toys; however, are they the best toys. Often toys without batteries encourage the use of imagination, creativity and physical activity. Chose toys that will get your kids outside and moving or playing with other children. Musical instruments, art supplies, board games, sports equipment or outside toys and pretend play toys are great examples of toys that require no batteries at all for hours of fun. Try one of the Horizon Fuel Cell Cars or the Discovery Paper Recycling Studio to teach kids about green living without batteries. For older children who must have the latest and greatest electronic toys or gadgets, Santa should also give them rechargeable batteries and a charging station to teach them about going green.
5. Avoid toys with VOCs – Paint containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are sometimes used to decorate toys. Search for toys that are manufactured with water-based, low-VOC or no-VOC paints to keep your child and the environment safe.