Archive | September, 2008

Great Eco Activity For Kids Involving Potatoes & French Fries!

This eco activity isn’t an overnight project, but it’s one your children will enjoy from beginning to end. Actually, the fruits of my son’s (and 19 other children in his preschool class) labour will pay off big tomorrow when they make French Fries in class. Sorry, I’ve skipped ahead; let’s start at the beginning of this project.

♥ Find free tires that can no longer function on a vehicle
♥ Place the tires in a shady spot in your garden and fill with potting soil and plant potatoes
♥ Water and nurture your potatoes for several months
♥ Pick all the potaotoes from the soil in the tires
♥ Discover that potatoes can be made into French Fries from amazing and inspiring teachers
♥ Lastly, talk about nothing else for all of the hours you are awake after hearing the news that you will be making French Fries in class the following day. <grin> Also, make your older brother jealous that you get to do these cool things in preschool, while he is stuck learning all day. <big grin>

What do you have at the end of these steps? A very happy child.  My 4 year old son that helped plant the potatoes last Spring, visited the preschool weekly over the summer to ‘tend’ to the garden and water the tires of dirt. He worked so hard to dig up all the potatoes today and was rewarded with the news about French Fries. He is so excited and will see, taste, and watch his love of planting making it onto the snack table, ready to dip in ketchup. This is his first week at preschool and he loves it! The imaginative teaching and concepts used by his teachers are simply magical and best of all…effective!

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Sprig Toys – New Awesome Eco Toy Manufactured In Canada!

Yesterday, I had a moment where I wanted to open up the nearest window and sing ‘Oh Canada’ at the top of my lungs.  You’ll feel the same way after you learn about Sprig Toys.  The co-founders of this company had an epiphany moment after spending years as ‘toy veterans’ in the industry after realizing the environmental damage caused by how traditional toys are manufactured and packaged – not to mention they all normally require batteries to become very interactive.  They joined together with years of product knowledge and expertise and formed Sprig Toys.  Get ready to see this product line as the next ‘hot’ toy.  Although this company is based out of Colorado, they manufacture their line Sprig Adventure Series in CANADA!  How big is this?  For parents out there looking to source safe products for children and support a local footprint, this is huge.  Want some more facts before I tell you how much a child would love these toys?  I’ve picked up, felt, and smelled these products and a wonderful ordor greets your nose.  The plastic used to make this series is made from Sprigwood™ and is paint free.  The ingredients for Sprigwood™ are reclaimed plastic (margarine containers to be exact) and recycled wood.  You can actually smell the wonderful scent of the wood in the figures and vehicles.  The company’s next shipment of these toys will also include biodegradable packaging that is made from seeds. So throw the packaging into your garden and plants will grow.  This is so cool and a wonderful step for Canada to be apart of!

The Rally Racer, Baja Scout, and Discover Rig all have figures with a built in led-light in their hard helmets that are not powered by batteries, but by the push-action of the vehicles.  They connect to these vehicles via a USB port and the act of children pushing the vehicle, powers the electronic features of search lights (all three vehicles), lights and motor sound (Discover Rig), and dialogue, sound effects and songs (Discover Rig).

The Discover Rig is going to be the ‘it’ toy this Fall. You can attach a push bar (which toddlers would love) or detach and older kids can push this rig because when it moves forwards the generator fuels the lights and sounds.  The adventure guide will take your child on an expedition of the imagination with different stories using different accents when swapping characters!  Too awesome!  If you are having a hard time picturing all these different modes of this series, check out the video on the Sprig Toys site.  You can watch how children power up this eco-friendly wonder with natural kinetic energy by using the push and pump.

Picture Source: Treehugger Site

These are sure exciting times in the toy industry.  Green Toys and Sprig Toys have understood the consumer’s desire to choose from carefully designed and manufactured toys, rather than mass produced junk.

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Saplings – Wow What A Launch!

I’m just back from a magical launch party from the on-line company Saplings. They have sourced an amazing line of kid’s room decor and taken the guess work out of co-ordinating bedding, wall furnishings, art work, even eco-filled stuffies! The fabrics, the concept, and the way their lines of bedding and decor easy works together removes the stress for consumers. Saplings has not only sourced high-end, sustainable room decor, but they have brought in different lines from suppliers that match and seamlessly appear like the ideas were all born from a single designer. They really have taken the guess work out of dressing a room for children so that everything is creative, unique, and fun.

The co-founders Chris and Joanne have created a company that stands behind it’s beliefs. Continue Reading →

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Ultimate Eco Activity For Your Family

Back in April, I wrote an article highlighting an eco-friendly project for kids – Kid Friendly Eco Project.  The activity involved storm drain marking with fish decals to remind the public that water ways lead to fish.  I was very excited to reserve my marking kit with the city, but because of a fish decal shortage, I only received it this week.  I’m wanted to report back on the success of the activity.

Well, my sons and I loved marking the drains.  Actually, there is nothing my boys didn’t enjoy with this project.  I think I feel a paper route coming in their near future because they loved delivering the educational literature to the houses the most.  Of course at the beginning of this adventure, hitting the fish decals with the mallet was pretty fun too.  <smile>

The entire process of storm drain marking is wonderful for a family project. You put on a reflective vest, brush away debris from the road where you plan on putting the decal, then you pour the glue onto the road, peel and stick the fish decal, then pound it with a mallet approx. 100 times.  When you see the roadway bumps coming through the decal, you’ve done a good job.  These decals need 48 hours to completely stick to the road, so I’m really hoping people don’t lift them up before this time.  I guess this is another wonderful thing about having children.  Continue Reading →

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The Gift Of Chirp, ChickaDEE, & Owl Magazines

Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents – want a great reusable gift idea for the little person in your life?  This gift arrives in the mail to the lucky recipient every month and we know kids love to recieve their own mail! Remember Chirp, chickaDEE, and Owl children’s magazine subscriptions? I still remember the excitement when my chickaDEE magazine would arrive.  I’ve purchased the Chirp magazine for my boys and the memories of this great little magazine came back.  The wonderful age appropriate jokes, games, and facts are very well written and really holds kids attention. My boys are now at the chickaDEE age and this magazine will be on their wish list for sure.  For the $30 price point, you can’t beat the fun, educational bundle of an ‘Owl Kids’ subscription.  Here’s what this month’s issues look like for Chirp, chickaDEE, and Owl from the Owl Kids site:

Chirp Magazine (Ages 3 to 6) This month’s Chirp is all about weather! Find out what makes thunder and lightning in Look &amp; Learn, and keep track of the weather with Chirp’s handy pullout calendar. Rain or shine, you’ll have fun with this issue of Chirp! 

chickaDEE (Ages 6 to 9)  Burst into school with a great guide on how to make recess fun. Check out the 16 pages of cool puzzles and games to play! Meet Mish, Mash and Mush on the Mish Mash joke page. Also, learn how to pack a healthy lunch.

OWL (Ages 9 to 13) Back to school issue. Train your brain for school with a challenging math maze. Punk up your sneakers for class and learn how wells are built in Africa.

Enter to win this month’s contest at Mommy Footprint. The prize is a wonderful 3-tier stainless steel carrier – perfect for back-to-school or packing a lunch for work.  Read this article for contest details: Laptop Lunchbox Contest Ends. 3-Tier Carrier Contest Begins!

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