How we can educate our kids to become more eco-friendly from an early age

Posted by Sean Johnson on

Little Helper has teamed up with Jennifer Ian, a freelance writer and full time eco-convert.  She loves finding ways to live more sustainably and encourages her children to do the same.  

Here, Jennifer gives us some hints and tips...

Tips for Finding Environmentally-Friendly Items for Kids

Global consumers think that it is very important for brands to be eco-friendly, as reported in a recent study by IBM. The poll, which surveyed around 19,000 consumers from 28 countries, found that around 69% of those surveyed are willing to pay premium prices for recycled products, and over 50% of them would be willing to change their buying habits in order to have a positive effect on the environment. If you have a baby or child in your family or social circle who has a special occasion coming up, how can you keep them delighted and entertained while making choices that will help lower their (and your) carbon footprints?

Choosing Items Made from Eco-Friendly Wood

Many children’s items are made from wood, as this is a soft, appealing material that looks beautiful on everything from learning blocks to pull-along wheeled toys, toddler climbing frames, and kids’ toy furniture items like wooden toy kitchens. Choose items made in eco-friendly, sustainable wood that is sourced from socially and environmentally responsible forests. Materials like bamboo and pine can be good choices as they grow quickly, meaning that forests can be replenished without waiting (unlike oak or other hardwood trees).

Practical Items Needn’t Be Boring

You may be surprised to find that the first item you buy for a baby is chosen before they are even born. Today, parents who are expecting are already expressing their wish for sustainable baby shower items, many of which have a practical purpose. One study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that although people tend to give gifts that will inspire awe in recipients, those that actually bring the greatest satisfaction, are often practical items.

If you have an upcoming baby shower and you are stumped for ideas, think of items that will have a real value and that will be used often. These can include glass bottles with patterned silicone coverings (which do not contain BPA, as many plastic bottles do), reusable baby food pouches with cute prints on them (such as unicorns, cacti and superhero themes), and organic ‘training toothpaste’ to clean pre-teeth gums. 

Non-Toxic Art Supplies

Nearly all children love creating art so ensure that those close to you have non-toxic supplies that are packaged sustainably as well. Top choices include eco-friendly watercolour paint, recycled paper, and eco-friendly maize. The latter is made from safe, edible cornstarch in a wide array of vivid hues. You can create an array of objects - everything from trucks to cute figurines - by simply wetting each piece and sticking it to other pieces. 

Encouraging Outdoor Play

In order for the environment to matter to children when they are adults, it is important for them to learn to value nature from an early age. You can contribute to fostering values such as this by purchasing them outdoor items - everything from wooden furniture and climbing structures to sand pits with non-allergenic natural sand which are sourced from sustainable wood. Children develop both gross and fine motor skills when playing with sand and you may find that once your child starts digging and placing the sand into buckets and other accessories, they may never want to come back inside.

Consumers are becoming more sustainable on a global scale, with many willing to pay higher prices for sustainable items. If you have a pregnant friend or a child you’d like to delight with something special, make them doubly happy by giving them something that is kind to the planet as well as practical or entertaining. From glass bottles to cute outdoor sand pits, there are so many eco-friendly items to choose from you may find it difficult to settle on just one present.

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