Smocks: Smocks can help preserve clothes, and reduce skin contact with chemicals from art supplies. Make sure the smock you choose is the safest: CHEJ recommends using fabric smocks to avoid PVC. Instead of buying a smock, you can use old shirts and clothing. Or if you're feeling crafty, try this DIY smock tutorial or this no-sew towel smock.
Markers: Skip the scented markers! According to the Environmental Working Group, the chemicals in marker fragrances aren't listed, so you don't know what you're inhaling when you get a whiff of scented markers. And fun packaging and smells encourage kids to sniff. Choose unscented markers instead. Also avoid permanent and dry-erase markers, which contain solvents.
Polymer clays: Polymer clays, the kind that stays soft at room temperature but you can harden it in the oven, often contain toxic PVC and phthalates. Luckily, there's a fun and easy fix: You can make your own clay out of simple kitchen staples. Here are a few clay recipes that you can try at home:
Wash your hands: Children are much more vulnerable to ingesting chemicals from art supplies through their hands, either by touching or putting their hands in their mouths. Make sure to enforce frequent hand washing while using art supplies, and save snack time and beverages for after craft time: Eating while using art supplies is another easy way for kids to ingest chemicals from their art supplies.
Recycled crafts: Incorporate recycling into your craft projects! Your recycling bin can be full of unexpected craft materials. Here are a few recycled craft projects to get you started. What recycled or upcycled craft projects have you tried? Leave your craft ideas in the comments!
- 24 Incredible Tissue Box Crafts
- 20 Things to Do With Toilet Paper Rolls
- What Can You Make From an Egg Carton?
- Polymer Clays are a Handful of Phthalates on Healthy Child, Healthy World
- Kid Friendly Crafts with Recycled Materials on Groovy Green Livin
- How to Find Natural and Non-Toxic Art Supplies on National Geographic