Wheatgrass Playdough

Well, our Easter wheatgrass is growing way faster than we expected!  It was time to give it a mow, so the children grabbed their scissors and began clipping.  We then used the grass to dye our own playdough!

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Recipe:

  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • wheatgrass juice (or other natural dyes)
  • peppermint extract

In a pot over medium heat, mix the salt in the warm water.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Add the wheatgrass juice.  Continue stirring as the playdough forms in to a ball.  If it is sticky, keep heating.  Remove from heat, add a few drops of extract and knead (but be forewarned…it is hot!)  Store in a closed container (and in the fridge for longer life).

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St. Patrick’s day

So you dug up that funky green shirt from your kid’s grandma and convinced him to wear it to school. One more holiday checked off. But is there more to it?

There can be. It’s not easy being green, but the story of St. Patrick holds lots of potential inspiration for fun with the kids. For starters, how about pirates, snakes and shamrocks?

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

Legend has it that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. These days, some snakes are considered endangered in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. Use that as a launching point for exploring ideas about habitat, species interconnectedness and conservation.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Finding a four-leaf shamrock amongst a sea of 3-leaf clover is said to be good luck.  Did you know the odds of finding a four-leaf clover on a first try are approximately 10,000 to 1? Or that there are actually five leaf clovers too?  In fact, the record for most leaves is 56.

Clover is a great, eco-friendly alternative to grass.  It requires very little water to stay green, and doesn’t need mowing.  Bees love its flowers, and people love clover honey.

Check out our pinterest board for some great ideas for shamrock arts and crafts.

TOYS YOU CAN TRUST

Another little known part of the St. Patrick legend has it that he was kidnapped by pirates as a young boy. That’s bound to set any young child’s imagination going. Grab a play silk and dress up as pirates and set sail on an adventure!  And what about letting the kids experiment with finding natural sources of green food colouring?  Make green play dough by dying it with spinach, kale or asparagus.

And remember, there’s a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.

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A Green Easter

Easter is fast approaching.  With advanced planning it is possible to make this holiday eco-friendly and socially conscious.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Ditch the plastic Easter basket grass.

  • Use play silks. They are fun, reusable and beautiful.
  • Grow your own grass. Plant wheatgrass seeds in a bowl, basket or other container a few weeks before Easter.  Not only does this make for a beautiful basket, but the process is a fun and inexpensive activity for the kids to do.  When Easter is over, add the wheatgrass to your smoothies!
  • Empty your shredder.
  • Use Raffia.

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Use natural food dyes instead of commercial food dyes that are full of chemicals by using natural colours to dye your eggs.

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SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

  • Buying Fair Trade chocolate is getting easier.  Shop your local organic food stores for Fair Trade, organic, and/or Vegan chocolates.  (Green & Black’s, Cadbury Dairymilk, Camino)

TOYS YOU CAN TRUST

Toys that make traveling easier

When planning a vacation, it is easy to overlook packing toys, but having the right entertainment for your children can be a sanity-saver.  Besides being small and light, it is important to find toys that can engage for more than a minute at a time. 

Here are our top 5 toys of the travel season:

  • Magnetic toys are perfect for car, plane, train and boat rides.  Unlike balls, cars and markers, magnetic toys don’t simply roll out of hands and out of reach.  The magnetic figures and magnetic design sets from Mudpuppy provide engaging, portable fun. A hinged tin holds 4 illustrated background scenes on 2 double-sided cards plus 3 sheets of interchangeable magnets.  These toys are phthalate free and printed with nontoxic inks, but more importantly, unlike sticker books, they are reusable.

  • Older children love the Grimm’s wooden magnetic sets.  These sets provide endless imaginary play. Great for travel, this toy comes in a closeable magnetic tin. Kids can keep the magnetic blocks on one side of the container while they create their pictures on the other side.  Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Design uses mostly European alder, cherry, maple and lime wood to craft their toys and puzzles. Toys are finished with water-based dyes and natural oils.

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  • Drawing is a past-time enjoyed by many young travelers.  With a scrapbook or notepad, Stockmar beeswax block crayons can provide hours of entertainment.  The rectangular shape not only allows creativity to take over, but stops the crayons from rolling away.  Unlike other brands, which are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax, Stockmar crayons are made from natural beeswax.

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  • The Pocket Disc by Phd is a toy that is handy to have when you least expect to need one: when waiting in line for a ferry, taking a stretch at a road-side stop, in the hallways of the hotel on a rainy day.  Portable and extremely fun, this fairly-traded toy is made by a collective of women in Guatemala.  Available in two sizes and a choice between non-toxic dye and all-natural plant-based dyes, these crocheted frisbees can fly!

  • Compact and so much fun, the Mobile Home by Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Design is a perfect travel toy.  This cleverly designed doll house is handmade in Germany out of solid, natural wood using water based dyes.  When the puzzle is disassembled, the toy becomes a cradle, bed, deck chair, oven, sink, partition, regal, table and chairs.  The felt cover becomes a carpet, blanket or table cloth.
  • For more ideas, please see our TRAVEL TOYS section.  Happy travels!