Category: For kids

Where we shop for natural toys (no plastics!)

natural

Alexandros turned 3 years this weekend! Few weeks before I asked him what he’d like for his birthday. This is how our conversation went:

— Me: “Ale, what would you like for your birthday?”
— Ale: “Garbage track! Yellow one. No, blue. No, white. No, red!”
— Me: “But you already have 2 garbage tracks…three actually.”
— Ale: “I want GARBAGE TRACK!” Big beaming smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, we got him this big beautiful Fagus wooden garbage track from Wooden Wagon.

wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
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Zero-waste and non-toxic baby care

nontoxic baby washing and baby care

These three products, or their variations, are all that we use. No shampoos, no fancy lotions and special baby things…none of it. It saddens me to see all the chemically laden, plastic wrapped so called baby products all over the internet, magazines, not to mention supermaket shelves. Parents are made to believe that they need those to take care of their most loved little ones. But in truth our children need none of that. And with these basic products they could be cared for in a healthy, simple and sustainable way. ๐Ÿ™‚

This isn’t a sponsored post. These products are just the ones we are using. You could use other similar ones. There are many small businesses offering great natural care products. You could also make your own.

No shampoo is needed. E.V.E.R.

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Alphabet chart DIY

alphabet chart DIY

A few months ago I came across these charming alphabet cards. I particularly liked them as they introduce both capital and small letters in a very associative and visual way. Ale already knows many Russian and English letters as we often talk about them a bit while reading our bed time stories. But the idea that same letter can have two different versions was rather confusing for him. And while in Montessori approach it is recommended to only introduce small letters at first, I found this to be impractical as all the books have both letters on their covers and naturally the subject of small and capital letters would always come into our discussions when we would start reading our bedtime stories.

So in these cards a small and a big version of the same letter is very nicely tied together through the same animal โ€” the grown up one for the capital letter and a baby one for the small letter.

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How does my garden grow

How does my garden grow by Gerda Muller, children's book

As the spring season is just around the corner I wanted to share this wonderful children’s book. This book was our favorite for many months when Ale was about 1 year old. We love gardening and so it was very relatable to him. And in its turn the book would make gardening activities and garden creatures even more interesting for him and offer him new knowledge about the garden’s goings.

As all Gerda Muller books it is exceptionally beautiful with very charming, realistic and detailed illustrations. And like all her books it is very informative for the little readers. One thing I especially love about Gerda Muller’s books is that due to the wealth of detail and information we can go back to them later again and again, each time discovering something new or re-discovering already known facts in deeper detail.

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Beautiful animated films: Snow Queen

I decided to start a little series about beautiful animated films for children. Although I’m against children spending time in front of a screen and would rather have them running around and exploring the world around, I found myself using the iPad on a regular basis to keep Ale (our 2.5 year old little wildling ๐Ÿ™‚ ) quiet when his little brother is asleep. So, it became important to find quality content for him to watch. Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful children’s animated films from the Soviet era that he can watch and that I don’t object to as they are very artistic and have always a great positive story. Recently I found some of them to be also translated into English and thus this little series of beautiful animated films for children. I hope you enjoy them just as much.

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Sustainable guide to Holiday gifts | Children edition

wooden children toys nontoxic handmade

[ On the photo: Gnomes from Mama Owl; Ostheimer wooden animals from Wooden Wagon ]

How beloved is the beautiful tradition of decorating a tree, lighting the lights on it and waiting for the magical winter-y man to bring us some sweet gifts under the tree! This tradition has survived the rises and demises of kingdoms, cultures and religions. It has changed the name from Yuletide to Christmas and even became a New Year tradition in some countries. Yet, the tradition itself has barely changed in centuries and all of us big and small are excited every year to light up the tree and unwrap our gifts when the time comes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Raincoat made from 100% recycled plastic bottles

non-toxic children rain gear
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change… Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean. The Guardian

Which is why I’m particularly excited to share with you these beautiful coats by Lea & Jojo that are not only non-toxic (no PHTALATES, nor PVC, nor PFOAโ€™S / PFOโ€™S, nor AZO DYES, nor NONYPHENOL ETHOXYLATES), but are also made form 100% recycled bottles!

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West Coast Wild

children book about nature alphabet

It seems like Ale’s world is so much about tracks these days — our kitchen is plastered with track stickers, floors are strewn with legos, we watch garbage track every Monday and go to bed with a tractor. So having this beautiful book as one of his favorite bedtime stories makes me particularly happy! He calls it the book about eagles — his favorite animal.

We don’t actually read the book. Instead my little eagle joins Mr. Bear as he digs for mussels under the rocks on the shore and then follows him into the woods to eat together some huckleberries (because that’s what the eagles do, right? โ˜บ๏ธ) We ‘fly’ over the ancient forest and listen to the wolves as they howl to each other down below. We watch orcas play in the ocean and we share fish with mama whale. We listen to the rain and watch cougar emerge from the woods at sunset. And as the sun sets over the ocean and sky becomes studded with stars my little eagle lays down in his nest, I cover him with a blanket and we listen to some wolf howls and eagle calls on my iPhone as he is falling asleep. ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’• (scroll to the bottom to listen to the wolves howl!)

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Organic clothing: where to buy

Here is Part 2 of my Organic Clothing series (read Part 1 on why organic clothing matters here). In this post Iโ€™m sharing all our favorite brands that make organic childrenโ€™s clothes and stores where you can buy them. While there are many other brands and stores out there, these are the ones we’ve used and had just great experience with! ๐Ÿ™‚ (See also this post on our favorite shoe brand – Pololo)

While some of these brands sell directly from their websites, others sell through dealers. I’m providing a link where you can get each of the brands listed. But also at the bottom of the page there are few links to online stores where you can find all of these beautiful brands and much more!

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Organic clothing: Why it matters

organic baby clothes and organic children clothes

On the photo: Organic wool fleece jacket from Engel, organic wool overalls from Disana

I started writing this blog post several times, but always ended up tossing the draft away. It is such an immense and important subject that I found it difficult to make the post informative and useful without turning it into a long and boring doctorate essay :). So here I’m trying again and I thought first just to give a short version:

Reasons to go organic (short version)

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Absolutely the best children shoes!

I am very excited to share with you these incredible find! When Ale first started walking I went through quite a process of finding the right shoes for him – something that is comfortable, flexible and can survive all the abuse such as dirt, rocks, sand, water, dust and so on and so forth. ๐Ÿ™‚ I first tried Uggs – they were cute and comfortable, but they did not last due to poor design. Honestly, it was a waste of money. We then also tried few other cheaper brands – some shoes fell apart after 3-4 weeks of use, even though they were lightweight and comfy, others were made of such cheap and synthetic materials they were making baby feet smell! And that to me was a very bad sign as far as materials used, so I discontinued using those shoes.

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Our latest favorite: not your usual Goldilocks story

One of the latest additions to our library became another Gerda Muller’s book and yet again it turned out to be a total hit! Even though we’ve loved all the books of this author that we own I was hesitant to buy this particular one. The thing is I don’t like the kids stories where animals are portrayed as mean-spirited, vengeful and alike. In all honesty those are human traits, yet as children grow up learning about animals in this way they form an opinion of animals being often mean and evil which is simply not true. There are countless stories of biologists who spent extensive time near a family of wolves or following a particular bear where you see that those animals actually rather tolerant of other species, often fiercely loyal to their family, brave and intelligent. So, if we aren’t teaching children real animal behavior, let’s not teach them negative falsehoods either.

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Woodland animals IKEA Latt table hack

A few months we got Ale his first table and chairs. I had many beautiful (and expensive!!) children furniture pieces bookmarked in my Pinterest boards. But considering what children’s possessions can go through in their exploration of the physical universe I knew that in the real world I needed some furniture pieces which Ale could comfortably sit on, eat on…draw on, bang thing on, climb on, spill things and so on and so forth ๐Ÿ™‚ So IKEA Latt table + chairs set was a perfect choice. Just $25!! And it is made from solid wood, with the exception of table top and chair seats, both of which you can replace with real wood to eliminate any off-gasing ingredients.

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Books: Our first favorite books

On the photo: Gerda Muller board book series – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.

You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a mother who read to me. โ€” Strickland Gillian

We introduced Ale to books probably on the second month of his life. Our very first book was a cloth book where he could touch and squish different pages. I was trying to find something beautiful and organic at the time, but without much success. Now, I’m thinking it’d be a fun DYI project ๐Ÿ™‚

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