Friday, August 1, 2008

Kids Crafts vs the Environment

When I was a kid, we used reams of paper. Reams. My best friend's mom sold Amway but gave it up so we had order forms, receipt books (with "new" NCR paper!), and various and sundry other cool paper products for our use. They were already printed with specific information so they couldn't be reused, not that anyone was thinking about that then. But I think about it a lot.

One the one hand, there are all kinds of developmental things that come this wasting of huge amounts of paper. The creative aspect: the coloring and gluing and cutting and more gluing and all that jazz. The pretend play aspect: the order forms for pretend items, the menu for the pretend restaurant, the game pieces... I could go on forever (...if I was a kid. My adult brain functions at a lower level. A much lower level.). The tactile stimulation, the permanence of it, the sheer fun of making a HUGE mess. It is all so lovely.


On the other hand, the Earth is dying because we don' t care for it. The friends I have with kids in day care complain bitterly about the veritable hailstorm of paper they get on a daily basis. The friends I have with kids in school mostly say the same thing. Should a toddler really use more than his weight in paper every month?

I can't really figure out how to balance these things. I tend to err on the side of the environment. We do a lot of dry erase stuff, and play a lot of Magna Doodle, and play Playdoh. Down sides: pen only, no gluing, cutting, ripping. Upsides: it takes less prep and creativity on my part, it teaches impermanence (Look, a spiritual level! Didn't think I could get there with this post, did you?), no reams of paper to deal with. Yeah, yeah, I know, I am seriously lucky my kid is not that crafty.

My partner brings home printed paper so we can use the other side for scrap, but plain white computer paper only goes so far. How do others deal with this dilemma? What is a green mama to do?

No comments:

Post a Comment