5 November 2012
By: Tanya Fyfe (BEng(Environmental))
Reuse everyday household items to jazz up your baby or toddlers bath time
My nearly 2-year-old son has a bath full of bath toys, but we have never bought him one. There is a smattering of commercial bath toys that we have been given, mainly as hand-me-downs. But most of his favourites are items diverted from the recycling bin.
Some we have discovered are:
- empty plastic drink bottles – various sizes, some with a skewer hole near the base for smoother pouring
- empty body wash and shampoo bottles – pump tops are extra amusing, and double as durable straws for blowing bubbles
- plastic food containers – eg margarine – some intact and one with lots of skewer holes in the bottom to make ‘rain’
- unused cups, and scoops from laundry detergent.
These items can be used to practice pouring, making things float or sink, blowing bubbles, making an assortment of noises and our current favourite, making a ‘tall tower’… followed by a ‘huge splash’!
About the Author: Tanya Fyfe is an eco mum and environmental engineer and lives in the WA Goldfields with her husband Andy and son Billy. The family's aim is to live sustainably and for Billy to grow up understanding where food comes from and how it is produced. They generate solar electricity and have an organic vegetable garden and modest orchard irrigated entirely with grey water.
16 June 2012
Eco Nino organic cotton change mat covers are now available in four gorgeous block colours to compliment the popular stripe range. Choose from charcoal, navy, red or sagebrush to add the finishing touch to your baby's nursery. Proudly made in Australia, they are great value at $34.95.
16 February 2012
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Enviro), MSc(Enviro Chem))
Changing our habits and rituals is difficult and is best done incrementally. Rather than going for change ‘cold turkey’ we can up our chances of sustained change by gradually modifying our behaviour.
I’m a big fan of the Federal Government’s Swap It, Don’t Stop It campaign. Targeting Australia’s obesity epidemic, this campaign promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles for all Australian’s by suggesting small and relatively easy food and exercise swaps. Individual swaps are easy to make and quickly accumulate to build momentum into sustained behavioural change and a healthier lifestyle.
The theory behind the program easily transitions into the environmental sphere. It is here where the focus shifts from changing our consumerism-based and waste-intense lifestyle to an existence that is more simple and sustainable. The benefits of making simple eco swaps are profound on our health, wallets and the health of our environment.
Using the Key Four Pillars of the Swap It, Don’t Stop It campaign, here are a few simple eco parenting and lifestyle changes you can make:
Swap Big for Small
• Rather than buying your children a mountain of presents each birthday, purchase one quality item that will last
• Drive a car with a smaller engine and hire something larger for occasions when you need it
• Close internal doors so you’re not heating/cooling the entire house
NB: You can also swap small for big by purchasing items in bulk (saves packaging).
Swap Often for Sometimes
• Introduce a vegetarian night into your household each week
• Swap single-use disposable nappies for cloth or only use disposables when travelling
• Have a go at making your own infant food and children’s snacks rather than buying commercial and heavily packaged varieties
Swap Sitting for Moving
• Walk or cycle into town instead of driving
• Get active in the garden and grow your own vegetables and herbs. Read why gardening is great for kids here.
• Use local parks and the pool to entertain your child rather than the TV
Swap Watching for Playing
• Plan one activity per day to do with your child. Activities such as constructing a nature collage or baking some biscuits together are easy, enjoyable and free!
• Get your toddler involved in your daily household tasks such as picking up their toys and watering the garden. Toddlers learn by mimicking adults and they thrive on helping out around the home.
• Involve your children in food preparation and they will learn vital skills that will help them live a healthy and sustainable life.
Change is a continual process and even the greenest of us can improve. Here are a couple of eco swaps I’ve made recently to further reduce my family’s environmental footprint:
- Using reusable fruit and vegetable bags at the supermarket rather than the thin plastic bags on offer (am loving the Aussie made Greensacks)
- Switching from eco cleaning detergents to Enjo products to further eliminate cleaning products from our household (their bathroom gloves in particular are the best!)
- Using everyday household items such as bicarb soda, vinegar and eucalyptus oil in the laundry rather than detergents.
What are some of the eco swaps you’ve made recently or plan to make soon?
Note: This article has also been published at connect2mums.
About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in Roxby Downs with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
13 February 2012
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental, MSc (Environmental Chemistry))
Watch your toddler or pre-schooler delight in using their natural environment for inspiration and materials as they make their own nature collage.
Most pre-schoolers love craft activities, however there's no denying that they can make a huge mess! With just a few minutes of planning, it is possible to combine craft with the outdoors and set the stage for your child to create their own nature collage.
Nature collages have many benefits for both parent and child, which include:
- indulging children's love of craft without destroying the house,
- educating children about their natural environment,
- not costing you a fortune in craft materials
- having minimal environmental impact!
Requiring minimal effort to set up, nature collages are the perfect craft activity for children over two years, however are simple enough for toddlers to also enjoy. Simply follow the steps below and your child will be creating their own nature craft in no time:
- Set up a large sheet of paper and glue with paintbrush on a flat surface outside
- Explain to your child that they can collect any items in the garden to glue onto the paper (of course, if you don't want your prized pansies included you may need to say so)
- Take the opportunity while your child is collecting their "craft materials" to explain what they are, where they come from and/or why they are in your garden
- Watch your child enjoy both gathering the materials and constructing their own nature collage.
Last week my son Matthew made a nature collage using materials from our backyard. As you can see from the photos, he really got into the activity and enjoyed collecting (and pouring) the sand and gathering feathers from our chicken coup!
As we live in Outback Australia, our garden composition varies greatly to many other homes in Australia. I'd love to hear what items your child used in making their nature collage, or even better, see their collages! Feel free to post photos of your child's colourful creations on our Facebook page.
About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental), MSc (Environmental Chemistry)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
8 February 2012
Image source: Global Exchange Fair Trade Blog
This month we're giving you the opportunity to WIN a $200 Sustainababy gift voucher simply for telling us your best eco tip. Regular Sustainababy followers tune in each morning for our daily eco parenting tip published on our Facebook page but we'd really like to hear what tips you have for living more sustainably.
For your chance to win, simply email your eco parenting or general eco living tip to email@example.com before 5pm EST Monday 27 February 2012.
Tips submitted will be published on our Facebook page from 1 March 2012. The winner will be judged by how many combined likes and comments their eco tip receives so be sure to tell your friends to get behind you.
We can't wait to hear what tips you can share with other like-minded environmentally-conscious people. Good luck!
Competition Terms and Conditions:
- Open to Australian and International entrants.
- Tips can be of an eco parenting or general eco living nature.
- Tips are to be a maximum of two sentences long in length.
- A maximum of three individual eco tips will be accepted per entrant. Combined eco tips will not be accepted and you will be asked to choose your best three.
- In the event of duplicate eco tips being received from separate entrants, the first submission will be published and subsequent entrants will be notified of the duplication.
- Duration of competition will depend on the number of eco tips received.
- Votes for each eco tip will be tallied at 0730 AEST the day after being published to allow each tip the same voting period (i.e. tips posted at the start of March will not be advantaged over tips published towards the end of the competition period).
- No correspondence will be entered into following announcement of the winner.