Monday, October 29, 2007

Where Are All the Green Toys At?

The Ramadan Compact seems to have trickled into my every shopping experience.

I went to Target (my most favorite shopping venue) yesterday to buy a gift for my nephew and a few friends who have young children.

As I walked down the toy aisles looking at the selection I had second thoughts about purchasing anything. I looked at all that packaging for just one toy and could not stomach having it go into the landfill.

More importantly, and I have been having this on-again off-again conversation with my sister, what am I teaching the children around me. As an adult I have had to struggle with realizing that happiness and fulfillment do not come from things. I often wonder if I learned this lesson as a child and if I am, inadvertently, teaching the young children in my life this lesson?

Here’s another dilemma. I like giving gifts to kids. It’s just so much and fun and they get such joy out of it.

As I stood among the selection of toys contemplating what to do, a few choice thoughts crossed my mind.

1. I could go ahead and purchase toys. I mean who at the Ramadan Compact would know that I was living out of integrity with my core values.

2. I could not purchase anything and explain the environmental and socio-political impact of purchasing toys to the kiddies. I just have a feeling that would not work.

3. I could give each kid a little certificate that says “A donation was made on your behalf to plant trees” or “save the whales”. That would go over really well with a five year old, don’t you think?

What is the middle of the road answer to wanting to be a responsible global environmental citizen and spoil a few kids with stuff they will play with for a few hours and then forget?

I did buy a few toys. Actually I bought kids craft kits packed in cloth bags with minimal packaging. As a bonus I will stuff the bags with candy. I figure the parents will really enjoy having their kids hyped up on sugar.

With the marvel of the internet I found a great activity. Having the kids hunt for treasure…Argh! I am creating a treasure map and inviting all the kiddies (about five very loud kids) over to my parents place to go treasure hunting. At the end of the treasure hunt they get their treasure (or craft kits).

Sure it’s not gold, or Sponge Bob, or Dora the Explorer paraphernalia. But isn’t the fun in searching for the treasure, sharing the fun, and getting doped up on sugar than the actual treasure. Something like…”it’s the journey not the destination that’s important”.

I’ll let you all know how it goes.

P.S. Some Companies that Make Ethical Eco-Friendly Toys (just found this in an internet search after I purchased the craft kits).


Stu said...

Your essay on Green toys has been nominated for "Hot Stuff Of The Week" by our readers over at GNMParents - Congrats and good luck in the voting!

anilamuhammad said...


anilamuhammad said...


Omaira said...

congrats anila!

Omaira said...

You know what you could do Anila, is maybe give an interactive gift where you give some of your time and knowledge about something. Maybe couple the certificate with a lesson on how to plant a tree and get them a little sapling or something like that...I know my nieces like it more when we do stuff as opposed to them just getting stuff...You can make it a yearly thing where they do something to give back to land on/in which they live whether its planting, feeding the homeless, giving some of their Eid or B-day money to someone not as fortunate...just some ideas...

anilamuhammad said...

On that note I was thinking of getting my nephew to donate a few of his toys to goodwill or something...start them young

Mohamad A. Chakaki said...

here's my question: "where are all the non-plastic toys at?" why is it that we surround our children (let alone what we're surround by) with so much plastic?... in their toys, bibs, chairs, eating utensils, and clothes!

sure it's a flexible, cheap, and largerly safe material (on the consumer side, of course)... but it lacks spirit. there is no life-force in plastic. even in corn that looks like plastic! aren't we robbing our kids of something by surrounding them with a material so cold and lifeless?

i made a visit to a waldorf school once and was amazed by the dearth of plastic. instead the kids were surrounded by fabric and wood. think about it: warm and fuzzy vs. cold and lifeless... what would you rather surround your children with?

finally, what's so wrong with splinters?

salaam :)

p.s. congrats on the nomination anila... you got my vote!

Muslim Hippie said...

I am mother of a one year old, and was blessed with in laws that saved their old vintage wooden toys for my baby girl. So I don't buy tons of stuff for her. When I do, I go in the store aisles like 5 times trying to find something that doesn't have the made in china sticker. Did you notice how there are no toys made anywhere else now except china? Suspicious huh! The thing is China has no laws or regulation regarding their manufacturing code. Anything goes. The one exposed poison in these toys is lead, and god knows what else. May Allah protect our little ones.