Okay, now I am not saying to go and throw out all your Crayola crayons but I did want to supply you with some information that might make you consider it! I have been on the pursuit of some eco/child friendly options for art supplies and thought we all could benefit from this research.
Now I know we all have used Crayola crayons and we are still breathing but there are other options out there. Traditional crayons are made from petroleum by products. Why not use soy or beeswax crayons which are less yucky and from a renewable resource? There are natural versions of many items we use with our kids while having some creative playtime. I have found a ton of homemade play dough recipes online and they are wonderful. My kids love it. If making your own is just too much work then you can order organic and natural play dough. The only problem is that I couldn’t find any local stores to purchase these supplies. I went to Cheap Joe’s art supply store off Monroe Road because when I called they said they had soy crayons. It turns out they do not carry any of these products. I also went to Michael’s and again, no dice. I then checked Office Depot and Office Max. They carried other Prang items but not the soy crayons. Although I came up empty-handed on finding a local retailer, I did want to alert you to some cool products I found online. Now these products are a bit more expensive than your conventional brands but that seems to be the case with most organic/natural products. It’s just like buying organic groceries is more expensive than conventional. I hope that if these products become more mainstream, then they will become less expensive. I think these products are truly a great find. I have been researching this because I want to use safer products for my children and ones that will be more kind to our environment. Another reason that I will be using a lot of these products is due to the fact that one of my twins has a mild form of sensory processing disorder. It has been recommended that we try all kinds of crafty type activities to help him overcome some of these issues. For instance, he can’t stand to have his hands dirty or sticky. So finger painting is a great activity for us. I have found some finger paints that are petrochemical free and hemp based using natural dyes. We try to come up with ideas such as encouraging him to play with whipped cream at the table. We do this to assist him in getting accustomed to different textures. Not to mention, it tastes pretty darn good! I have also ordered the soy Crayon Rocks which are easier for his little hands to hold. These are recommended by teachers and occupational therapists to develop fine motor skills. Here are my Smarty picks for eco-friendly supplies:
1. Stockmar Beeswax crayons
Crayons made of pure beeswax and made in Germany.
2. Prang crayons
Crayons made of soybean oil and are brighter, lipstick smooth and flake less than traditional wax crayons.
3. Crayon Rocks
Small rock shaped soy crayons designed to assist small fingers and hands develop handwriting skills. These crayons are colored with natural mineral powders. They are also made in the USA!
4. Mary’s softdough
Family-based company in Eugene, Oregon.
5. Ecobaby Organic Playdough
Made with 100% plant based colors and scents.
6. Kidbean natural finger paints
Petrochemical free, natural hemp based paints. The colors are derived from all natural vegetable dyes or mineral pigments. Here are some fun craft ideas from Kidbean’s website:
* Make homemade cards by painting sturdy blank cards made from recycled paper.
* Make your own gift wrap by cutting open brown paper grocery bags and painting them. Allow to dry, then use to wrap gifts.
* Decorate your own picture frames by painting blank picture frame mattes. Insert a special photo of your child, add a cardboard back or insert in a larger frame, and you have a unique and memorable gift!
* Cut some thick paper (like Hemp Heritage Watercolor Paper) to fit the inside of a shallow sturdy box (like a cigar box). Place a small amount of paint (one or more colors) on the paper in the box. Let your child place one or more marbles in the box and roll around to spread the paint.
7. Faber Castell 12 jumbo triangular eco pencils
100% FSC certified reforested wood guaranteed.
Here’s a recipe for homemade play dough from Kinder Planet if you are interested!
You will need:
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 cup flour
* 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 cup water
* food coloring
What to do:
Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time. When the dough has a good consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool.
Let’s encourage creativity with our kids, be safe and support a movement in the right direction. Please comment on any ideas or products you would recommend!