Published 26 November 2019 ● Last Updated on 16 July 2020
Our guest author this week is Radhika Mayani, the Founder and Creative Director of Left-Handesign. Inspired by simple joys, her creations give her brand a unique aesthetic. In this world of easy-to-get plastic knick knacks, buying a gift that the child will appreciate and so will Planet Earth can get a bit tricky. So, we asked Radhika to share with us the right places to shop at and here’s what she had to say…
It is always a good idea to teach our children how to live a sustainable lifestyle from a young age so that it becomes the normal way of living instead of something that needs ‘extra effort’ as they grow up.
As I look back on childhood days, I recall my friends and I had our parents as our Number 1 Zero Waste Enthusiasts who always told us to close the taps tight, switch off the lights, reuse paper, make toys out of abandoned things, not waste food and many more instructions (or rants!) which we had to follow even if we didn’t take them seriously!
Fast forward to today, and I look around us wondering – where are we heading with the choices we are making and what kind of future lies ahead for our children to grow into?
Being an eco enthusiast myself and founder of Left-handesign (a sustainable stationery & lifestyle brand which supports a social enterprise in India), I couldn’t stress more about making environmentally responsible choices. It is about educating ourselves and our children, a part of which is ensuring that we purchase right when we reward our children with gifts. There are many eco-friendly products out there, how does one make the right choice? My guide is to ask yourself questions – What is the creativity behind the brand? What process is used to make their products? Which materials go into making them? How ethically are they produced? Do they support other social missions? So many things to look into when we want to choose “right”!
As a starting point for other parents, here is a compilation of my favourite eco-friendly and socially-conscious brands that offer gifts, services or party favours for children of all ages. When you engage in any of these local businesses from Singapore, not only will it make you feel good but it is also meaningful as you are supporting a bigger cause!
Ellybean | Personalised Name Crayons
One can never have ‘enough’ crayons, kids love colouring and their stash of colouring materials. So, these name crayons are a great personalised gift option for any occasion – be it a birthday party or in the Christmas stocking or even hidden in the Easter egg hunt!
The crayons are large-sized, which makes them easy to grip for the young ones as they put their thoughts into scribbles.We’d suggest the non-glitter crayons as most glitter nowadays is usually plastic-based. (P.S: If you are in India, then they have lego block shaped ones too!)
The combination of creativity and personalisation makes Elleybean’s products great gifts for children as it makes them feel special. Moreover, with every item that you purchase the company donates 5% to Feeding India – a program that focuses on reducing food wastage and ensuring a meal for the poor.
To buy personalised name crayons, click here.
Momo + Bubs | Swaddles
Wondering what to get for a new born baby? I would recommend the swaddle sets or even the Hello Baby Gift Set from Momo + Bubs.
These swaddles are made using 2-ply muslin which is soft and breathable – a fabric that is as gentle as a hug on the baby’s skin for them to curl up in. It gets better – the fabric is made using 100% Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certified organic cotton – it means that the supply chain right from the raw materials to the finished products is environmentally friendly. They also ensure that no formaldehyde is used in their prints or dyes to keep is safe for the little snugglers.
And like a new baby represents new beginnings, the company donates $10 from the sale of each of their swaddle sets to the Singapore Children’s Society to support their work in helping needy children of all races in Singapore. Momo + Bubs hopes to raise $5000 and more in 2019 to donate to this meaningful cause.
To buy swaddle sets or the Hello Baby Gift Set, click here.
Wah So Simple | Earth Friendly Crafts Workshops
This may not fit into the ‘traditional gift’ idea but if you’re a parent then you definitely know how much kids enjoy making something – gift them an upcycling workshop! Be it a birthday party or maybe a community get together, Wah So Simple is happy to conduct workshops for kids where they learn to upcycle as well as care for the environment.
Starting off with passion to create, Wah So Simple has conducted over 5000 craft experiences from corporate events to crafting with adults and seniors and also kids. Their crafting with children section has many options to choose from. Keeping in mind the eco friendly aspect, I would recommend the Earth Friendly Crafts – choose from recycling plastic or paper, reusing cloth and Clean & Green.
To learn more about the Earth Friendly Crafts Workshop, click here.
To get in touch to host a workshop, drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Canvass | Children’s Classes
The Children’s Classes conducted by Canvass encourages them to use both body and mind – a complete development package where they get to physical as well as mental exercise. I recommend their award winning programme – Movement, Art, Mindfulness for children as it is a combination of ‘stretching and sketching freely’ that helps them improve on non-verbal skills as well as bring about inner balance and self awareness.
Located at Binjai Park, Canvass offers classes for kids and adults to promote a healthier body and mind connection. Irrespective of age, each session is designed for holistic well being and connecting with one’s true inner self. A part of their donations for community classes and some products are used to sponsor education and living expenses at the Tibetan Children’s Village in India.
To book a children’s class, click here.
Left-Handesign | Plantable Stationery BIJ
Everybody loves stationery, especially for those days when you feel like penning (or pencil-ing) your thoughts down in a book! And Left-Handesign offers a very special kind of stationery, the type that can be planted once it has been used and watch new life emerge from them.
Aptly named BIJ – the sanskrit word for seed, the collection comprises pens, pencils and notebooks that contain seeds from various plants – tomato, chilli, indian basil, spinach, okra,mustard seeds, morning glory and marigold. All you have to do is plant the seeds or the paper in soil, give it water and sunlight – a bit of love and watch it grow! These make great eco friendly gifts for any occasion, and while you are buying gifts do take a look at our plantable gift tags too!
How do we give back? For every purchase of $30 and more, we plant a tree in your name – a program that we run in association with Grow Trees. Each customer is given an ETree certificate with details of the tree planted. You can check on your the tree using the ETree number provided. A great way to carbon offset!
To view all the plantable stationery, click here.
Amazing Tots | DIY Learning Kits
In 2017, Amazing Tots was founded by Lilian to lend a helping hand to busy parents to make and customise learning resources according to their child’s needs. While she started off by designing and creating sensory play items and learning resources for her own children, she soon realised that her creations could be beneficial for other children too.
With the demand for purposeful and practical gifts rising, Amazing Tots began to receive requests to personalise gifts to be given as birthday gifts or party favours. They offer a wide range of products – flash cards, match the pattern sets, rainbow rice and pasta, Pom pom play set and much more.
To purchase the learning resources or sensory play sets, click here.
Hunter and Boo | Organic Kidswear
If you’ve been looking for eco friendly kids clothes, Hunter and Boo is a good place to start with. Started by sisters Beth and Sarah Medley in 2017, the company’s products comply with 2 important things – kid friendly and environment friendly!
All their products are made using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and Okeo Tex 100 Certified eco dyes. They try to use recycled packaging for their products. More importantly, their factory in Sri Lanka is accredited with Garments Without Guilt ensuring that their workers are paid proper wages and work in a safe environment.
To see all their products, click here
4M | Green Science Toys
Since 1993, Hong Kong based toy company 4M has been creating products with 4 core principles – imaginative, creative, inspiring and fun. One of their most popular and award winning products are the Green Science Toys – STEM toys that inspire interest in sustainability through play. These toys have one the internationally recognised IF Design Award in 2018 among many others!
Perfect gift items to develop the curious minds of the little geniuses!
Take a look at all the Green Science products here.
And that’s a wrap on my list of thoughtful and eco friendly gifts for kids, all of which are available to us living in Singapore. Some of these brands, I personally am aware of all the hard work that goes in behind the scenes for them to offer us these better choices.
Hope you have enjoyed reading through and you leave inspired!
Light & Love
Photo Credits: All photo credits belong to respective brands.