Earth Day – the kid’s way.

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Earth Day is fast approaching and all month long we have seen people, businesses and organizations showing their support and efforts in different ways. Teaching our children about the responsibilities we have for our planet can be fun and educational at the same time. Here are a few fun ways to teach them about “reduce, reuse and recycle” in a kid-friendly way.

1) Growing plants in up-cycled containers. For a “how to” guide on how to make these fun and individual planters, click here>

2) Looking for a family friendly science experiment? Try this “Oil Spill Cleanup” scenario and launch a hands-on cleanup effort with your kids. Click here>

3) Do you have a builder and inventor at home? Build this wind powered car together – made from recycled materials – and see where their imagination takes them next. Click here>

4) And here is another vehicle powered by an “alternative energy source”. For this Rubber Band Racer, click here >

5) Take a closer look at Mother Earth by making one. If it’s for a party or to decorate a room, here is how you do it >

6) To appreciate nature we need to get outside. Have your kids collect things they find beautiful or interesting and then turn them into neat little treasures with these “nature prints” made from air dry clay. This and other fantastic ideas are featured in the book “The Garden Classroom” >

7) This has to be one of my favorites, because it combines crafts and science and results in a decorative masterpiece (sort of). Try it for yourself >

8) Paper-making is an ancient art and the perfect excuse to get your hands dirty. Here is how to do it > And for additional “earthiness” add flower or plant seeds to the paper and watch the creation grow. Wheat grass seeds are great, because they grow so fast, even an impatient toddler can stand the wait!

Earth Day – we are glad you are back again in 2016!

April is a fun and busy months for most of us. There is Spring Break and Easter (most years) and there is the hint of warmer days and Summer, which takes us outside for BBQs and bike rides in the park. But then there is also Tax Day – eek – and Earth Day, too. Earth Day is no doubt a very important addition to the yearly calendar of awareness days – but it also comes with a lot of guilt and anxiety to do better, to reduce our waste and to be more conscious of the world we want to leave for our children. It’s serious business but can get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life. Where to begin?

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 10.05.37 AMReducing plastic waste has been a big part on our agenda at home lately and there are so many good reasons to do so. Not only is plastic and other disposable waste having a devastating impact on our Earth, but it’s also bad for our health (think damaging ingestion of BPA, for one).
This short video narrated by Jeff “The Dude” Bridges sums it up nicely:

So what can we as parents do to “reduce and reuse” while living our busy lives? Here are a few of our favorite products in the market place, and a short explanation on why they made the list.

LifeFactory_No more plastic bottles with Life Factory
Plastic bottles have a place at large family gatherings and birthday parties. But when it comes to the daily consumption of water, there are so many great options for reusable containers to carry water, coffee and juices for the little ones. Check out Life Factory for their collection of reusable bottles for adults and kids as well.
Added bonus: take your reusable coffee mug to Starbucks and get a discount on your daily brew.

BALtote_Re-usable Tote Bag by Bebe au Lait
Yes – we make one, and so do many, many other companies. There is no reason to accept one-time-use plastic bags in the grocery store, or any other store. Grab a handful and keep them in your car at all times for those impromptu dashes to the store.
Added Bonus: If you bring your Bebe au Lait Tote bags along you are guaranteed to get a few compliments on your “cute grocery bag” AND many grocery stores will give you a small credit for each bag you bring in.

weangreen_Glass Containers by Weangreen
Switching from zip-top bags and plastic containers to these glass containers has been great for our family. Ditching the zip-top bags has been an easy way to reduce our daily use of plastic and aluminum foil. We used them for everything from left overs, to lunches and packed snacks for a daily outing.
Added bonus: Leftovers can be heated up straight inside the container. No additional dishes needed.

bambo_Environmentally friendly diapers by Bambo Nature
Feeling that sting of guilt every now and then when using disposable diapers? You are not alone. But like most things it isn’t all black and white and we can all only do what we can… If cloth diapering isn’t your thing but you are looking for the more environmentally friendly option, give Bambo Nature a try. They have a monthly subscription that makes these diapers more affordable and comparable in price to other “environmentally conscious” brands.
Added bonus: the subscription means you won’t need to lug diapers home from the store anymore.

 

 

 

Are you fooling anyone?

Playing an April Fools’ joke on the kids is tricky. You want it to be clever but not mean, childish but not silly, funny but not messy. And above all, when it comes to my kids, I try to make them laugh and not cry.
Sounds easy but if you have an emotional and sensitive 5 year old at home things can go sour quickly. From experience… hiding his favorite stuffed animal, not a good idea. Dying the dog blue would probably end up with some hearty belly laughs but is out of the question because of the mess.
If you are like us and are still looking for some crafty, tear-free ideas here are a few that are sure to provide some harmless fun on April 1st.

2016_AprilFools