While most art supplies for children are tested for safety, many products still include toxins like lead, silica, dioxins, and arsenic that are potential health hazards. Today many companies produce green (or environmentally friendly) art supplies for children.
For example, their crayons may be made from soy instead of petroleum and colored pencils may be made from made from recycled wood instead of destroying new living, growing trees. If you decide to make the investment in environmentally friendly or green art supplies for use in your childcare center, consider purchasing them from the following companies:
Stubby Pencil Studio: Stubby Pencil Studio offers non-toxic, recycled, fair trade, educational, sustainable or environmentally responsible products. Here you can purchase aprons and tools, crayons, chalk, colored pencils, office supplies, molding clay, graphite pencils, paints and paint brushes, and sketch books. Stubby Pencil Studio also offers environmentally friendly craft kits. Order online or by phone.
Kidbean.com: If you’re looking for environmentally friendly finger paint, KidBean.com offers natural help finger paint. Livos SALIS Natural Hemp Finger Paint Set for Kids is biodynamically grown, lead free, and VOC free. KidBean.com also sell unnatural dyed “play dough” made from food grade ingredients as well as Green Field hemp sketch, drawing, and watercolor paper.
Eco Choices: One of the best products sold by EcoChoice in their EcoArt Works division is their soy rock crayons. These soy crayons are made of soft soy wax and tinted with mineral powders. EcoArt Works also sells Eco dough, Eco finger paints, natural modeling dough in a variety of scents and colors, drawing books, face paint, and fairy tale wool. All products are earth friendly and non-toxic.
Nuno Organics: Nuno Organics is a green crafter’s dream. They offer non-toxic play dough, modeling beeswax, wooden beads, bee wax coloring blocks, beeswax crayons, colored pencils, face painting pencils, nontoxic finger paints, and Lyra Wax-O-Glas Window Crayons. The products sold by Nuno Organics are those that meet European standards for organic certification in Germany and Holland.
Also check out the “Guidelines for the Safe Use of Art and Craft Materials” published by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. This guide helps childcare professionals, like those who are licensed daycare providers, select safe arts and craft materials for children.
If you have the time and the means, try making your own natural, eco-friendly art supplies. Nature Moms is a great website which provides you with loads of free natural recipes for play dough, finger paints, bubbles, and silly putty.
Remember that there are many seemingly harmful art supplies that may contain hazardous chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, turpentine, or xylene (a neuro, kidney, reproductive, and respiratory toxin). Do some research to find out what toxins may be in the art supplies you are using, and consider switching to healthier, environmentally-friendly supplies. Better safe than sorry!
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