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!
I know this is totally being picky…I love the eco-friendly posts, but they are very hard to read without paragraph breaks.
Not picky – I agree! It is hard to read a big block of writing — and the font could be a bit bigger … or am I getting older???:)
Hey guys-We’re experiencing technical difficulties on the blog tonight. So the fonts are a little zany right now! But the paragraph separation is up to each writer’s personal style. However, she saw your comments and will adjust to your liking:-) Jen P
Homemade edible playdoughEqual parts creamy peanut butter, honey and powdered milk. Knead it to the consistency you like (I add a little flour) and they can eat it, too. Start with a 1/2 cup of each, makes plenty to start with.
Finding art supplies that are the exact fit for every artist can be a tall order, but at Trekell we are committed to the quality of our products and have been offering our customers the very best in fine art supplies and art brushes for decades.art supply
Dana,This is a great list! I didn’t even know that eco-friendly crayons existed. Also, you mentioned that one of your twins has SPD…my son does as well and I wanted to share a great tip with you that I learned from a Therapist. Before you begin any hand play, take just a minute to rub your child’s hands together to sort of ‘wake them up’. I couldn’t believe the difference it made the very first time I tried it—my son actually put his fingers into the Playdough–something he wouldn’t even consider doing before! Karen Smith
Hi Karen, Thanks for the tip! If you have anymore suggestions I would love to hear them. Glad to hear you have had some success with interventions regarding SPD! By the way, the Crayon Rock soy crayons are wonderful. We just received them in the mail today. They came in a little velvet like bag that the boys loved carrying around. What I was most impressed with is how the color just glided on the paper. There was a definite difference when I compared it to their Crayola crayons. Thanks for the interest in this post!
Does anyone know how the Lyra products stack up ecologically? They are German & sold at Looby Loo in Blakeney. They are very high quality, I just couldn't find anything out online about the makeup of their supplies, but it would be nice if we had a local spot to get some ecologically friendly supplies…
I couldn’t find anything online regarding the actual composition either. I talked to Looby Loo and he said they were environmentally friendly. I also saw something online that stated the Lyra and Stockmar products were of the highest quality and environmentally conscious. Looby Loo said they hope to get the Lyra products back in this fall. I guess there has been some delay in orders shipped to the U.S. The owner was definitely aware of green products and has an interest in bringing some of these into the store. So hopefully we can buy local in the fall! They also carry Haba toys which are wonderful. So until then, I it looks like I will be ordering online……
What if you are child are allergic to soy? Allergerns are far less likely to be in fats and oils than they are in the proteins and carbohydrates. Nevertheles, soy might be a problem for some.
Why are Crazy Crayons not on here? They are the only 100% recycled crayon out there yet you don't have them on this list??? crazycrayons.com