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Eco-Mama: Toys!

As the holiday shopping season officially starts this Friday, there is an important item that is in every one's shopping basket. Toys! And...as I think about what to tell people to buy my little Siena...I came up with a few specific brands and guidelines.
Almost every mother will tell you, "I hate plastic" or "I hate that toy, but my child loves it". How do we find ourselves in these predicaments so often over all plastic or other un-natural toys? What does a toy's function serve as? How can one make that an eco choice? Do we buy our children every new toy on the market, or stick with a combo or some toys and other "normal" household items?

I have the philosophy installed in me that all things natural are what's not only best, but most natural to our earth and to human core existence. Secondly, a toy is a piece made to spark imagination, joy, pleasure, challenges...etc. When we look around us at the world, do we not see hours of imaginative objects without having to go for the plastic super-duper-ten-colored noise maker with pull strings and wind ups and...you get my point. As much as children need and want to explore, they can do it in a more natural way. Just this morning my daughter wanted nothing to do with food or her other toys, the bulb syringe was utterly amazing to her. I took it away and she started wailing. and although it is not an eco object, it was serving a very fascinating purpose.
I had wooden blocks and trains as a child. I had handmade dolls and stuffed animals that were constructed from beautiful fabrics. I loved all of them. Now, I did not have natural in every single toy...some of the furry animals were synthetic...and their eyes may have been plastic, but I did not have any hard all plastic objects.

I really like a German toy company called HABA. They have toys made from wood. The colors are bright and natural looking. Their slogan is: "inventive playthings for inquisitive minds" which I find to be a key element in a company. There are about 10 pages of toys, and other sections include Christmas, Games, Grocery Store, Jewelry, Outdoor, and Children's Room. Some items are constructed from cotton and polyester mix.
Siena has 2 toys from Haba. One is a wooden rattle with 4 flowers, like a bouquet, attached by elastic so they can be poked and moved around. One flower has a reflective surface and there is also a bell. The other toy is a ring of 6 different colored wooden triangles. It is also held together with strong elastic, which allows for the triangles to be arranged in a varying pattern by flipping them over. Might I add, she really loves these toys.

Other favorite toys are the hand crocheted Organic cotton monkey, hand crafted by women in China. These are sold to the us by a company in Amsterdam called Anne- Claire Petit accessories. (I purchased said monkey at Mini Jake kids store in Williamsburg Brooklyn)
I also love a soft miYim bunny rattle made from 100% organic fine knit cotton.

So in closing, I want to remind everyone to please reconsider that latest toy or gadget for your little one, or grandchild. We don't want to teach our children to further the deconstruction of the earth, but rather to nurture it and find just as much joy and inspiration from handmade or natural toys. We are teaching them balance and harmony as well, so by not bringing that loud fake voice plastic thing into the house, we may be teaching them to hear the birds sing, or the leaves rustling in the wind. Not only is that easy on the environment, its easy on the parents wallet too. So get out there and rake a pile of leaves together! Make it fun, cover baby with the leaves and play peek a boo! Let her crinkle the leaves in her hands.

take care, stay in touch and perform one green thing a day
your Brooklyn Eco Mama
mariah

1 comment:

Missy said...

Here, here!

Though I don't have kids now, I have lots of nieces and nephews. And they are those kids that are media, television, computer focused. It's ridiculous. I'm watching their little imaginations being numbed and not used at all.
A couple of them enjoy a good book but more often it's TV or gameboy or plastic toys. I will say some of them are cute. But many of them are so disposable though. As soon as they are not cool, the kids don't care anymore.

I'm hoping that by the time I have kids eco-toys will be more readily available. And it won't be such a battle to raise what I call lovelingly, hippy children.