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December 2010

A free nature play activity great for entertaining kids on holiday car trips

Are you travelling with kids over the holidays? Before you jump in the car, grab an egg carton. It's all you'll need to play this great nature play activity.

Nature Sorting


Collect at least 20 nature 'things', like rocks, flowers, leaves, sticks, weeds, or whatever is available. Here's a few things I collected from our home and backyard the other day. When travelling, I collect the 'things' during a toilet or meal stop.


Place your collection of nature things in an egg carton and ask your child to sort them into different colours, shapes, textures or any characteristic you can think of. 






or a row of pink and a row of yellow...

..or dead things, living things, hairy things, smelly things, the list is endless. 

For older children you could try leaf shape or inflorescence type

Little eco loves this game and i'm always amazed at where our conversation goes when discussing the various nature 'things'.

I came up with this game in desperation a few months ago when we had to drive 1800km in a week. Little Eco had a few recycled yoghurt containers. Each time we stopped i'd pick up a cup of 'things' for her to sort. Here she is trying to work out what one of the nature 'things' was...


She took a long, deep sniff. You can imagine the look on her face when I told her it was dried kangaroo poo.

For more play inspiration head on over to Childhood 101 for We Play.

Holiday wishes

I'm planning to take a break from this space until the new year so that I can focus on enjoying the holiday season. I might pop in for a few Friday This Moment posts, but otherwise i'm trying to go screen free for the holidays.

Wishing you a relaxed, nourishing, and pleasure-filled holiday season.

Tricia xx

A few delightful eco toys for christmas

I couldn't resist sharing pictures of the two gifts we bought Little Eco for Christmas.


This gorgeous doll is a Little Jenny Wren Doll handmade by Jenny Marshall. I knew this doll was going to be gorgeous as i've long admired Jenny's dolls, however I wasn't prepared for just how sweet she is in real life. She's 100% natural, with cotton skin, wool stuffing, and all natural fibre hair and clothing. 



She even has hand knitted underwear. I felt a little weird taking photos of a dolls underwear, but they are too cute not to share. She also comes with a nightie. 

Yellow is Little Eco's favourite colour. She's going to absolutely love her.

The other gift was an alternative for a not-so-eco toy that Little Eco wanted. She spotted a plastic battery operated cash register in the supermarket a few weeks ago (have you noticed how at this time of year toys get spread across multiple isles so that they are impossible to avoid?). A 'cash register is now all she wants from santa. So I went in search of a timber one, and found this beauty at Honeybee Toys.


This natural wooden cash register has buttons to press, a bell that rings, dials to turn, paper receipts to issue, a place to store coins, and even comes with a scanner and credit card swipe.



I don't think any child would prefer the plastic battery operated alternative.

I love that both these toys could easily last long enough for Little Eco's children and grandchildren to play with them.

Last minute on-line eco toy shopping.

I've just noticed, if you order from Honeybee Toys by today (or by Monday for those of you in metro Melbourne or Sydney) you will have your order before christmas. 

While i'm sharing toy shop love, i'll mention two other on-line toy shops I love: Dragonfly Toys and Spiral Garden. Have you found any other great on-line natural play toy shops?

Just remember, too many toys will simply overwhelm your child

In this frantic lead-up to christmas, just remember, Kids really don't want or need loads of gifts. Just a few carefully chosen gifts is more than enough. We're only giving Little Eco the above two gifts and a christmas stocking. I was about to go on a last minute stocking-stuffer spending spree. Thankfully I stopped myself. Instead i'll be filling Little Eco's stocking with a few small sweets and some craft supplies.

I hope you are enjoying your christmas preparations and aren't getting caught up in the shopping frenzie. I'm avoiding it by simply staying away from the shops.

I'm off to make some gingerbread for a few teacher thank you gifts.

P.S. Isis has finished her Tea zine. I've ordered a copy already and can't wait to get it. It's available from her Etsy store and is full of recipes, tutorials, stories, facts and all things tea. And of course, being an Isis creation, it's made of 100% recycled paper with a 100% recycled cover.

P.S.S Check out the lovely giveaway over at Bambinosteps. It closes tomorrow Friday 17th so be quick. I love her unpaper towels and gift tags.

P.S.S.S. ecoMILF's recent update on a tv free childhood has inspired me to put our TV away AGAIN. Somehow it creeped back into our lives over the past few weeks.

Taking care of my most important eco asset

Over the past few weeks I’ve gained an increasing appreciation for my most important eco asset.

I didn’t realise what it was until it failed me….

It’s not our solar panels, rainwater tanks, garden, or our passively designed home. Nor is it my bike or our public transport system.

My most important eco asset is my health.

The whole Little Eco family caught a chest cold that has left us feeling rotten and exhausted for over a month.

Living a simpler, more sustainable life does take more time and energy. Usually we don’t mind. But when we’re sick it becomes a struggle.

Too tired to ride my bike to work, I’ve been driving. Too tired to cook, we’ve eaten more take-away and packaged food in the past month than in the entire previous year. We’ve also sadly wasted food, with bowls and bowls of cherry tomatoes spoiling before I had a chance to preserve them in some way. Too tired to get to the farmers market, we’ve been buying our fruit from the supermarket.

I usually put a huge amount of effort into trying to make our lifestyle sustainable. Whereas I put little effort into looking after myself.

I've realised this needs to change. I’m going to put my health first. I’m tired of being tired and exhausted.

I want the energy to live the life I want to live.

I’ve started my Christmas leave two weeks earlier than planned and am spending the last few weeks of the year focusing on restoring my (and my family’s) health. I’ve been thinking about the changes we need to make to our lifestyle to increase our health and wellbeing.

I'll share my plan shortly. In the meantime, i'll leave you with some pictures of our Christmas Tree.


We found a few fallen Sheoak branches and placed them in a vase (filled with sand to stop it topppling over).


Sheoaks come with their own christmas decorations.


We've been adding bits and pieces each time we go for a walk. Our Spinifex star was collected during a stroll along the beach.



It's still pretty bare, but we're planning to add more each time we go for a walk. I'd also like to find the time/energy to make some recycled felt star ornaments. Or maybe i'll just leave the stars till next year ;-)