Unfortunately, the youngest respondents' involvement in environmental protection is very low - those under the age of 18 and in the 18-24 age range. In the context of the media publicity that Greta Thunberg and Youth Climate Strike are gaining, it seems incomprehensible. This may indicate the low level of environmental education in Polish schools and how much the popularity of certain phenomenons in the metropolitan area culture does not translate into the knowledge of the entire society. There is still much work to be done before parents and teachers.
Eco-parenting – new trend
Research shows that having children forces parents to reflect more deeply on environmental protection and care for the future of the planet.
While a few years ago ecological parenting was perceived as an eccentricity, today it is a conscious choice of an increasing number of people. More and more parents are worried about the world in which their children will live. They pay attention to the problems of environmental protection, and want to teach their children environmental awareness. That is why they look for sustainable products for children.
Biodegradable diapers or wipes, glass bottles, steel water bottles, dishes made of bamboo or corn, as well as ecological toys are becoming more and more popular. On the one hand, parents look for toys made of ecological, biodegradable and natural materials, and on the other hand, they return to the toys they played with as children: simple, without unnecessary electronics, serving for several generations. The most environmentally educated parents try to provide their children with fun without toys bought in the store, creatively using what they have at home: different boxes, bottles, pots, pillows, etc. Ecological toys are not only toys made of certified safe materials, but also those that support an ecological lifestyle and contribute to minimizing waste in everyone's home.
Toy trade for ecology
Toy producers also care about the environment and sustainable development, investing in the production of ecological toys: they optimize the production process to be energy- and material-saving (Alexander, Wader-Woźniak). In many factories the production of plastic is waste-free and recycled. The materials of manufacture are from reliable sources and certified suppliers.
The producers of toys come to parents' expectations and offer toys made of wood, bamboo, rubber, paper, cardboard from recycling, even plants (brands: Pilch, Tarnawa, Bajo, Woodenstory, Kooglo, Eco Toys, North Shape). Plastic-free board games made of wooden or cardboard (Granna, Alexander), dolls made of fabric and plush (Talala, Kate4Kids, Maylily), books made of recycled paper, cardboard creative sets, for which scissors and glue are not needed (Cardblocks, Wszechkarton, Tektorado) - manufacturers do a lot to avoid plastic.
Play to learn
But it is not the only way when parents can feel they are protecting the environment. There are toys teaching children about nature and its principles, e.g what animals and plants live in the garden, forest, water, how the seasons change and what is the significance of it for nature etc.
There are games and toys that pay attention to ecological solutions, such as doll houses with solar panels (Hape) or garbage segregation (Jawa, EkoFabryka), objects for observing plants and animals: magnifiers, insect houses, press for drying leaves and flowers, albums with animal voices, (Puls-Art, Froebel.pl). Charts, mock-ups, boards and creative interactive games as well as original imitations of mammals and birds are an attractive idea for education at “forest schools” – new but more and more popular idea of school for youngest children: located in real forest, all lessons take place outside in a natural surroundings. This can be real hope for future generations.