Invaluable Resource: The Green Guide for Families

green-guide-for-familiesI love to read, and always have at least 3 books on the go. Something fiction, something non-fiction, and something parenting. I also always have a stack of at least 30 (and sadly, I’m not exaggerating) books in my “waiting their turn” pile. The Green Guide for Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents from National Geographic Books sat in that pile for a long time because it just kept getting buried. The poor thing. There were just so many series that came up in the meantime that I just had to finish. (Millennium trilogy, anyone? Begin with ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ and see if you get any parenting books read before you finish all three!)

Now that I’ve finally read it cover to cover, I’m recommending it to everyone I know with a family. It’s extremely well organized and is filled with practical advice and great ideas. It addresses all of the key environmental issues faced by parents of young children today, and takes a straightforward approach to things like lead-painted toys; vaccinations, antibiotics, vitamins, plastics, managing food allergies, avoiding fat and sugar filled snacks and SO much more. It’s just an awesome book that is sure to become dog eared as you reference it for years to come.

The author, trained scientist, seasoned writer, and mother of two small children Catherine Zandonella combines both knowledge and experience as she helps parents guide their children through a society that doesn’t always make green lifestyle choices easy and offers advice on raising children to “think green” from the start.

Play and Learn Toys ~ The Way It Should Be

play-and-learn-toysAt times in the Canadian prairies it’s tough to find those great natural & open ended toys that many of us believe in(toys that allow children to play…and learn…without getting overstimulated or ingesting nasty chemicals)without paying insane shipping charges and customs fees. We recently discovered a northern Albertan company, Play and Learn Toys, that solves that problem for parents all over Canada. Owner Narissa Singh, a UNB Business graduate, has lived in northern Alberta for nearly ten years and struggled to find Canadian sources for quality toys for her own children. She has chosen to offer a super array of products from some great manufacturers known for their quality & safety, and runs her business out of her home since her tiny town doesn’t have retail space for a store.

Play & Learn Toys carries many products that I’ve seen on European sites and been curious about, so I was thrilled to see that they’re available in Canada now – and being from a mom-run business makes it even better!

My children are absolutely loving their new Stepped Pyramid ($54.99) from Grimms. It consists of a square wooden base filled with blocks in a variety of colours, sizes and versatile shapes. With an open ended toy like this, the possibilities for learning are endless. We now use them daily for imaginative building play and they’ve been castles, rocketships, dragons, post offices, houses and so much more. That’s the thing with great toys – they don’t do the imagining or noisemaking for you, so they can be anything at any time. Grimms’ products are made in Germany of wood and non-toxic colourings.

Another super product the Play & Learn Toys carries is Contina by Bamboo($29.99). This is not just another sets of blocks. Contina includes a rainbow of colors, black and natural finishes on 100 bamboo sticks which are small and lightweight for children 3 years and up. Combine colors, create a rainbow, stack lengthwise like dominos or pile them high for tons of creative fun. The possibilities are endless with Contina. It’s no wonder that Contina won the Best Toy award from Child’s Magazine.

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