Jen lives in Ottawa, Canada where she handcrafts natural kids gear and decor for SewnNatural, the shop she shares with her mother. In the fleeting spaces in between mothering, she shares musings, recipes and eco living tips on her blog, the SewnNatural studio.
The artisans of Etsy’s Natural Kids Team are committed to creating all-natural, ecologically sound gear for children as one of the ways we put into practice our ideals about taking care of our planet. We acknowledge that Earth Day is every day when we choose toys, dolls, clothing and accessories for children made from wool, natural woods, organic cotton, upcycled sweaters and other renewable resources.
Our creations are free of chemical-based polyester, toxic PVC, plastics and other chemicals and finishes that touch our children’s skin and eventually leach into our landfills.
Organic cotton dolls and quilts made in an artist’s studio are of a higher quality and provide long-lasting satisfaction in a way that commercial versions cannot compare. At the same time, natural toys can be easily composted and returned to the planet once again. You can buy them on Etsy with a good conscience, as they are also sweatshop free!
The Natural Kids Team artisans have joined together to offer nurturing and natural tools for play and living — toys that help connect kids to nature and spark their creativity. A child can take a simple wooden stacking toy and use it as a village, play food, and a barter system.
Children need a few simple toys in their world of play and imagination — playthings that help them grow and learn about the world and themselves (what Mister Rogers called “the work of childhood”). Wool-stuffed toys have the amazing property of feeling more alive as the wool holds warmth and familiar smells. Rattles made from sustainable woods are warm and inviting in a way that plastic versions are not.
Just as we know and sense differences between synthetics and natural materials, so do babies. Natural playthings respond to a child’s deep need to be connected to living things. Think back to a few favorite childhood memories. Was it caring for a pet? That time the power went out for three days straight? Camping in the wild or BBQs in the backyard? Our memories rooted in the natural world are both evocative and powerful.
My daughter loves to ask, “Who made this, mom?” Choosing natural dolls and clothes can help teach kids about making conscious consumer choices and learn about where their “things” come from. How we spend our money impacts the world around us, and teaching the importance of buying handmade at a young age is a wonderful lesson.
The Natural Kids Team is having a team-wide promotion to celebrate Earth Day, with over 55 shops offering discounts, giveaways and sales on natural kids’ gear. You can find the promotion items here or by searching for “naturalkids team earth day.” Be sure to visit the team blog to find out how to pick up a free idea-packed book about connecting kids to nature and making simple toys yourself.