I haven’t met many children that don’t enjoy art and crafts in one form or another. For a while I thought my son was the exception but he has since proved me wrong. Now I find myself searching for craft inspirations on the internet late into the night. The thing is, we strive to be good stewards of the environment and this desire affects almost every aspect of our lives including arts and crafts. Eco-friendly arts and crafts means making choices about the type of materials we use and how we use them.
|Crayon rocks from Clementine Art|
Purchasing good quality art supplies for my children is a priority because the supplies last longer and are less wasteful. Of course, these materials are more expensive so I don’t buy as much. Instead I teach my children to care for their supplies and to use them carefully. I have found that investing in quality material also helps foster art appreciation in children. Children are less apt for getting frustrated with materials that don’t work or break and they feel special for being entrusted with materials that are normally reserved for adults. Not only that but children marvel at the beauty they can create when using good art supplies.
When children enjoy arts and crafts there is always some experimenting that goes on. Some impromptu face and body painting is bound to happen. I choose non-toxic art supplies so that if anything is ingested or applied to the skin I can remain (somewhat) calm. Also, when cleaning up after art time there is always the possibility of some product being washed down the drain. To check for toxicity you can check to see if a product is AP (Approved Product) approved by ACMI. If you find an AP seal it means that the product does not have material in sufficient quantities to be toxic to children and adults.
Using natural art products is another way to ensure art supplies are non toxic, but buyer beware just because a products claims to be natural doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic. Make sure to wear your thinking cap and do a little research.
I don’t keep every single craft my children make. A few special crafts might go into their time capsules but the rest are recycled. It’s important that whatever my children make can be recycled or composted when it’s time. If something can’t be disposed of in an eco-friendly way I don’t purchase it. Having this criteria prevents me from purchasing certain types of craft supplies, like foam and plastic bits, but it also encourages us to look to nature for supplies. Rocks, twigs, leaves, flowers, wool and so many other things in nature make for fun art supplies. Half the fun is finding them and then they can be composted or returned to nature after being used. Using things from the recycling bin is also good because they can go right back there.
Linking to Your Green Resource.