Green Kids’ Art Supplies

Written by contributor Amy Thompson of Progressive Pioneer.

Our family picks and chooses which art supplies we search out green sources for and which we pick up at our local box store.  Ideally we”d buy only green art supplies, but they are a tad pricier, so we try to invest in healthier versions of those things that pose more of a risk to our kids, like play dough.  No, seriously.

Hardly a day goes by that our son isn”t up to his elbows in clay.  While the homemade stuff if great, I don”t always have the time, so we love the Eco Kids Eco-Dough.  Another one we”ve tried and liked is Clementine Art, though their clay has a bit more of a household cleaner smell than the Eco Kids line.  Although that didn”t stop my nephew from eating it…  No one panicked however, since their labels read more like a a recipe than a scientific formula.  Modeling beeswax is also a great, non-toxic alternative to regular play dough.

Our son isn”t much of a finger painter, preferring brushes and stamps to direct contact with the paint, so we buy the grocery store stuff.  If your kid is more of a hands-on painter, try this luscious paint set made with natural vegetable dyes.

Have you ever known a kid that likes to bite the tips of markers and crayons? I don”t know what it is, but there seems to be something irresistible about it.  If you know one of these little chompers, you might consider investing in beeswaxor soy-basedcrayons and some all natural markers.

A few more favorites are this German-made blackboard chalk, these colored pencils made with plant extracts, and these fun .

Do you bother buying your kids “green” art supplies? Which have you tried and loved?

by Amy

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16 Comments

  1. Sofia's Ideas

    I started making some of our art supplies when my children were diagnosed with autism. We went on a very strict gluten and caseine free diet which meant that they couldn’t even come into contact with the stuff, let alone chemicals, dyes, etc. I started by making the play clay (with soy & rice flours, dyed with fruit & vegetable juices) in big batches so that we could have some at home, and keep some at school. From there we moved on to finding alternatives for crayons, paint, etc. It wasn’t easy back then, but it wasn’t impossible!

    • Kika

      Hi Sofia, I just checked out your blog hoping to find more information about your experince with using healthy eating to help combat autism. Have you blogged about this somewhere?

      • Sofia's Ideas

        Hi Kika! Thanks for going over to Sofia’s Ideas! No, I don’t blog much about our children’s autism at all, but I have been getting plenty of requests. I’ve been thinking about a more appropriate setting to share that part of our lives… I will keep you in mind and if I decide to do something along those lines, I will certainly contact you. Does that sound ok?

        • Kika

          Sounds good.

  2. HereWeGoAJen

    We have those Stockmar beeswax crayons and they are fantastic! My toddler does like to bite crayons. The standard Crayola type crayons crumble in her mouth when she bites them. But when she bit these beeswax crayons, her little teeth barely made a mark. I was so impressed. (Plus, being beeswax, the crayons smell really good.) They are a lot more expensive than “regular” crayons, but they have been used a lot so far and you can’t even tell. They are going to last for years and years, so I suspect they’ll end up being cheaper in the long run than replacing lots of cheap sets.

  3. Nicole

    These are such great ideas, Amy. I hadn’t really thought about the play-dough at all, but that might be something to think about for my daughter!

  4. Alicia

    I’m happy to have discovered your blog through this! Thanks for the list. I’ll check some of these out.

    It doesn’t have to be that hard to make homemade, though. I love cooked playdough but when I don’t want to bother I make hand lotion play dough, which is just flour, salt, hot water and a couple of TBS of hand lotion (makes it smell and feel lovely and you can use natural stuff). You can even dye it at home with natural dyes like beet juice, turmeric, walnuts…

    We also make our own paints like watercolors (liquid and dry cakes) and such. My greenest art investment has been our multi-set of food coloring colors to make our own art supplies. 🙂

  5. Alok Appadurai

    Isn’t it amazing what art supplies children are freely allowed to play with, yet there is little thought to what might be in them? People have come to think that unsafe products only come from China, but that simply isn’t the case! Thank you for this post. It directs parents to excellent alternatives! I am going to tweet this article to my readers. Much appreciated from Arizona!!

  6. Sara McGrath

    How embarassing. I am an artist with a 2 year old daughter and try to be an environmentalist. Do I have any eco friendly art supplies? No. Maybe I should start doing so. Thanks for ever inspiring me!

  7. Dorothy

    My 2 1/2 year old son just got his first set of stockmar block crayons in his stocking this year. The high price tag kept me from purchasing them sooner, but whenever I gave him a traditional paper-wrapped crayon, he was much more interested in breaking them than anything else. So far, he has enjoyed actually coloring with the new crayons, but he also is loving stacking them like blocks. We also gifted him with a set of P’kolino markers. They come in a nice cardboard cylindrical container which I filled with plaster of paris and nestled in the ends of the caps. Now, when he is done coloring, the markers just go back into their caps secured in the container: no more hunting for missing caps.

    We also go through a lot of chalk since his craft table in the main living space is coated in chalkboard paint. We use sidewalk chalk because it is less breakable and is also a bargain at Hobby Lobby.

    For us it has mostly been a lot of trial and error in finding art supplies that match our desire to live sustainably but can also stand up to our destructive two year old without breaking the bank.

  8. mikelis

    If your son liked the eco-playdough, you should definately try to make homemade playdough! espacially the recipes with Kool Aid or peanut butter! 😉

  9. Patrick Newlyn

    Interesting article, you might want to check out this site for some tips onart supplies. 🙂

  10. Belladante@on666

    This certainly stimulates the creative juices! Your posts are informative & encouraging, & I can’t wait to get started. Thanks.
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  13. hermes constance bag

    Wonderful job. thanks for sharing. Will come to visit again. I love the cute kid.

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