10 Eco-Friendly Art Supplies You Can Feel Good About Giving Your Picasso-In-Training
One of the most rewarding parts of parenting for me has been seeing my little ones create their own artwork. There's something so magical about watching them graduate from scribbles and circles to stick figures, rainbows, and "who knows what that is, but they sure are proud of it" creations. However, I often think about the safety of the products they use, and how they may be damaging the environment not only through the product's manufacturing, but also in the waste that's created. Thankfully, there are options available for eco-friendly art supplies that will still allow your kiddos' imaginations to run wild while also making their "masterpieces" safer and friendlier for the Earth.
The first time I really thought about the environmental impact of art supplies was a few years ago when I learned about The Crayon Initiative, an organization that collects discarded crayons from restaurants, schools and homes across the country in order to melt them down and re-manufacture them. Those "new" crayons are then donated to art programs at children's hospitals. How amazing is that? As explained on their website, each year "more than a half-million pounds of crayons are discarded, turning into a waxy sludge that clogs our landfills and never biodegrades."
Not to be a buzzkill, but climate change is a big deal y'all (despite what our President might say), and anything you can do to reduce your family's carbon footprint is going to make Mama Nature very happy (check out some tips on NASA's Climate Kids website). Why not start today by picking up some of these eco-friendly art supplies? If your kids are going to fill your home with art projects, at least you'll sleep better knowing these will be gentler on the environment. Especially (and I can say this from personal experience) when you sneak out at night and put some of them in the recycling bin because there is just no more room.
1. Recycled Star Crayons
Creator LuAnn Fonty figured out a way to turn crayon trash into your kid's coloring treasure. She takes the discarded ends of crayons, melts them down, and then pours them into fun star molds. (You can try the same trick at home with old crayons, too.)
First introduced at a farmers market back in 2008, this popular eco-dough from the company eco-kids is made with ingredients such non-GMO flour, salt, cream of tartar, soy oil, organic rosemary oil, vitamin e oil, and essential oils keep that keep the dough pliable. You don't definitely don't have to worry about your kid accidentally eating this dough! Which is not to say that consuming it should be encouraged, of course.
3. Green Energy Discovery Box
This Green Energy Discovery Box teaches kids all about renewable energy through crafts and STEAM activities. Plus, the boxes are 100 percent recycled, and they plant one tree for every box purchased, according to the company's website. You can order a single box or sign up for a Green Kid Crafts monthly subscription on their site.
4. Organic Sidewalk Chalk
These thick, easy-to-hold sidewalk chalk sticks are made from organic plant-based ingredients such as spinach, turmeric, paprika, and hibiscus. They're even vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free (though, again, one shouldn't actually eat them on purpose). Reviewers also note how bright and fun the colors are compared to traditional chalks.
5. Eco-Art Pad
We use a massive amount of paper in our house to do art projects, so I love that these eco-art pads are made with paper certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). They're also printed using soy inks, according to the company's website. Each pad comes with 50 9x12 pages.
6. Non-Toxic Glue Sticks
7. Colored EcoPencils
Non-toxic and made from reforested wood, this pack of 27 colored EcoPencils is a favorite not only for its reduced environmental impact, but also because it includes three duo skin tone pencils so kids can create portraits that represent a variety of skin colors.
8. Natural Earth Paint Kit
Complete with six packets of hand-crafted, powdered, vegan paint (just add water), a set of six biodegradable mixing cups and lids, one bamboo paint brush, an an Earth Art booklet with instructions and nature-based activity ideas, this kit from Natural Earth Paint has everything your little one needs to create an eco-friendly masterpiece.
9. Biodegradable Glitter
The first glitter to receive a third party certification verifying its biodegradability, this bio-glitter is made from eucalyptus instead of plastic (which makes it softer and easier to clean up). It's available in a wide variety of gorgeous, shimmering shades colors and consistencies, too, from fine to a more confetti-like texture.
10. Sustainable Stamp Set
From certified "Green Business" Hero Arts, these adorable stamps are made with North American honey white maple wood and all-natural rubber from sustainably-managed forests. No toxins, chemicals or solvents are used in the production of any Hero Arts products. This super-cute set includes two ink pads and 18 stamps featuring the following designs: bugs, balloon, flower, apple, cat, happy face, dog, dolphin, heart, candle, dragonfly, star, fish, ladybug, note, turtle, butterfly, and dog print.