These days, with the force of the Labeling Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) child related art supplies are tested for safety. But, that does not mean that companies have to take the harmful chemicals out of their products before they put them on the shelves for us to buy. Oh No, it is quite the opposite, by law companies are not even required to list all the ingredients! This means that many art items still contain all kinds of health hazard toxins like lead (pencils/paint), acetone (instant glues), benzene & hexane (rubber cement), and arsenic (pigment in paint). Products labeled as ‘non-toxic’ tend to be misleading because they refer ONLY to the immediacy of the poisoning if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. This means that they Do Not explain any long-term danger by using the product.
Children are especially vulnerable to toxins because of their small size, faster metabolisms and their still developing immune systems… this is why it is so important to use extra care with the products we give them to use.
We are now fortunate that there are companies that are making safer, eco-friendly products for our Little Munchkins. For example, crayons are being made from soy and beeswax instead of petroleum, and colored pencils are being made from recycled wood instead of killing beautiful, happily growing trees.
Generally speaking, it is more expensive to buy environmentally friendly art supplies, but if you invest you will have a piece of mind knowing that you are doing something better for OUR children’s future and well-being, as well as for OUR Earth.
A Wonderful Art Project for your Little One.
My Son, at 2o months old, is of the age that he can now express himself through art, which is really exciting! Last week upstate NY at the wonderful love baby inspired store Waddle n Swaddle I took him to his first toddler art class, and he really created something beautiful! I was so impressed that I took it straight to have it framed (I mean, good possibility I am being a bias Mummy here so take it with a grain of salt).
This is a simple enough project that can be replicated at home on a rainy day, or outdoors on a nice day. Word of warning though, be ready for the mess. We were both covered in paint by the time we finished up. I literally had to rinse Miles Storm in the bathroom sink before we headed over to the car.
For the project below I have listed some of my favorite green products -
You will need -
- A drop cloth to put on the floor – I suggest Ecodrop biodegradable plastic drop cloth.
- Paper 18 by 24 – I suggest Strathmore Recycled Paper.
- Masking tape – I suggest Scotch recycled masking tape
- Crayons – I suggest biodegradable all natural handmade Earth Grown soy crayons
- Pencils – I suggest eco-friendly colored pencils by Stubby Pencil Studio
- Letter/Number Stencil - I suggest the ABC Creakit Wooden Stencil Set
- Paint brush – I suggest a Bamboo Paint brush from ecotoys.com
- Water Paint – I suggest Water Color Paints (with bamboo brush) from Stubby Pencil Studio
- Finger Paint – I suggest Eco-Kids Finger Paint made by a Earth Loving Mum in Maine
- Dress accordingly! Like bare feet, nappy and a tank top.
- Set the drop cloth down on the floor
- Set the paper down on the floor
- Rip pieces of masking tape off the roll and stick them randomly on the paper.
- Somewhere on the piece of paper, stencil your child’s name and age with a pencil.
- Trace your hands and your child’s hand on the painting, you can also have them lay on the painting and trace parts of their body.
- Using pencils have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
- Using crayons have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
- Using water paint have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
- Using finger paint have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes. This is a great time to encourage other methods of expression like stepping on the art-work in bare feet
- Slowly tear off the pieces of masking tape from the painting.
- Let it dry.
- GORGEOUS, go and get it framed!