Every time I visit a big box store, or even a grocery store, I make a beeline for the HBA’s. In retail talk, that’s Health and Beauty Accessories. I look for organic, eco-friendly brands that I can find in other places. I always hope that the one store will have a special little niche that has exactly what I’m looking for- at hopefully decent budget friendly prices. But then I blame Missouri. Not that I should- it can be really great at times. But since we’re literally in the middle of everything, it takes awhile for trends and most brands to make their availability known here if they’re not sold at Walmart. (Thank goodness for Target!).
I feel so lucky to have the availability to ship whatever I want from online sites. Luckily, EcoMom does a heft of work as well- by gathering all those organic, wooden, cloth, natural rubber, and earth happy products and putting them on their site. They’re motto is “We do the research, so you don’t have to.” Unlike a few other green sites that do the same thing, Ecomom has product reviews readily available (you can even volunteer for that). They include upscale make-up for moms, books, kitchen gear, organizing tools, perfect giftsets, and even giftcards! I’ve only ordered a few things so far, as I slowly replace each few plastic toys in our house with something better, but the quality is awesome so I really recommend them. Where do you find green products?
Isn’t that how the saying goes? God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt. Luckily, living in the midwest provides for lots of dirt, rocks, clay, mulch, and other natural fun landscaping for Sillyboy. But when you add in two 70 lb. dogs who love to dig (a LOT), wrestle, and wreak havoc in your backyard, it’s tough for good clean kid fun in the dirt. So we went with the good ol’ sensory bin, after graduating up from smaller containers on the kitchen floor in his preschool age (good busy task when I’m making dinner or washing dishes), and went with a plastic under-the-bed container.
One bag of potting soil was added in and spread out to dry for a day. The soil comes pretty moist out of the bag, but since we store our bin in the garage, I didn’t want various critters making a home in it. We added some diggers, shovels, and beach toys and it keeps him entertained for hours. Every time. We drag the bin out into the yard (hey, no clean up!) and let him play to his heart’s content. Plus, if he’s had a good day, I let him pour a pitcher of water in the bin to muddy it up and create even better dirt play.
He’s realized if the dirt ends up outside the box, it’s less he’ll have the next time he plays. And he looks forward to getting hosed down himself if needed. So besides the no throwing rule, it’s all fair game. When we’re done, we leave it out to dry in the shade. On a warm Missouri day, it only takes an hour or two, and back into the garage it goes. What’s your favorite sensory bin? And have you had to create bigger, messier ones as your kids grow?
With the second kid’s arrival, little bambina had a plethora of toys leftover from sillyboy’s stash a few years back. To keep things green, I planned to reuse most of his toys. There were many stuffed animals, a few good wooden ones, and many plastic ones. I cleaned them all with some Clorox Anywhere Spray and inspected them out for wear and tear. The small plastic toys looked fine from the general look of them, but when looking even closer, I found that there were little cracks and parts that were almost near breakage. Not cool for bambina. Enter the new triple threat of toys- that we take everywhere:
First left toy: The Winkel from Manhattan Toys. Yes, it’s plastic. But it’s colorful, playful, easy to grasp loops are perfect for little ones figuring out the hand/finger combo to pick things up and gum them. Easy to clean, hard to break apart, and there’s a little rattle in the center cube. (It also attaches to anything baby with Linkadoos, so you don’t worry about it dropping on the floor).
Second toy: Jacques the Peacock from Lamaze. Tons of colors, fabric textures, crinkle sounds, a rattle, a mirror, and easy to gnaw on. Also has a clip for anywhere on the go, and pops in the washer for any extensive cleaning needed.
Third toy: Not really a toy, but as an homage to pacifier clips, this is the Wubanub. No clip needed. Every baby and parent seems to have a different preference for the binky. Ours is used much like a fire extinguisher, for those “break in case of emergency” situations at 3am, or public areas full of people scowling at the screaming baby. The Soothie by First Years is sewed into a beanie-baby type of animal, and is pushed away easy even by a newborn who has no interest. Easy to clean and easy for holding.
I scoured Amazon for most of the reviews (these 3 all have 4-5 stars) instead of just heading to the toy store. So what’s your favorite top three toys? Are they actually toys, or other items re-purposed for a toy?