Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Natural Wooden Toys

Hi mama and papa readers, don't we all parents always look for the best things for our kids? We try to choose best possible food, child-care, education and so on. But finding best toys is equally important too, I am sure you all will agree with that.

My Son's Favorite- Fire Truck

But what are best toys? They should be stimulating for younger kids, educational, should promote some thinking or creativity in our child and toys should be SAFE! Yes you heard it right, there should not be any sharp edges, corners and mainly toys should be non toxic, VOC free, chemical free, made of nonhazardous materials. Otherwise prolonged use of toys made of toxic material can create health issues in our children.
What I have seen is, in case of babies, we generally give more attention to toy selection because they put toys in mouth. So we avoid tiny objects to protect from chocking, we buy BPO free teethers etc. But truth is we need to give attention to quality of toys all the time. Specially kids spend most of their time with toys, till they start going to school.

Natural Wooden Toys
All this discussion we had, because I have been giving toys to my son which fulfill all above criteria and are easily available here in UAE. Harmony House toys are hand-made out of natural wood, painted with nontoxic paints and are safe in every way for our kids. Kids love these high quality, practical toys and they are durable too. These toys are so eco-friendly that they are made up of FSC wood from Europe and are not bleached or treated with any synthetic chemicals. This is the reason not just my son but even I love these toys too!

Recently when I met with Gabriele, the founder of Harmony House in Ripe market where she puts a stall of these toys; I could actually show her how many of the toys we already have at home! You can buy these toys online here and toys are delivered through out UAE. They have whole range of toys for babies, toddler and preschoolers. These wooden toys can make great green gifts too!

Educational Stacking Toys


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Win Handmade Cotton Bag and Say no to Plastic Bags!!!

Hi all, here comes our April's Green Giveaway!

Win a trendy handmade over the shoulder cotton bag with zip and pockets. Girls can use it for college or mums can use it as much needed diaper bag or ladies, you can use it in malls for shopping! This bohemian style bag is so cool, you can carry it anywhere and still look fashionista!

By giving away a cotton bag, Green Living in Dubai is promoting to say no to plastic bag this month!
This giveaway will end of 2nd May and winner will be announced on 3rd May.

To enter the draw complete form here and like our Facebook page and Subscribe to our blog. you can refer your friends to increase the chances of winning.

All the best!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sustainable Doha

Since few years I am travelling to Doha mainly for work. There are many sustainable projects (green building projects) in Qatar. While I worked mainly on LEED projects in Doha, they also have their own sustainability rating system called GSAS/QSAS. But since last year I am visiting Doha for pleasure, while my dear husband works on sustainable projects over there :-).

Souq Waquif
My favorite spot in Doha is Souq Waquif, it is must for me in every trip! This old souq has a different charm. The narrow allies and hidden staircases, cobbled paths, handicraft and souvenir shops and nice restaurants. This place is always full of energy. The recent addition of art galleries, old markets of birds, animals and what not, this all makes it a place cultural and traditional hub of Doha. This time we spent an evening in Souq waqif but also explored rest of Doha, the newly developed places and I came across many sustainable design examples in all of these places.

Toborochi (baobab) Tree, Egyptian goose, Olive tree (clockwise)
Having a constantly running toddler with me, visiting a park was on top of our list. So we visited one of the best park in Doha, Aspire Park. The summer just started in full swing after many cycles of sand storms last few month, so it was considerably hot. But my son was very happy to get such a large open space for himself as compared to staying in a cool hotel room. He ran, showed me many birdies, ran behind them, wanted to wake up slipping ducks in shed to cuddle them and played in a nice play park till his heart was content. Meanwhile I couldn't fell to notice different types of trees planted in the park and different species of birds who made Aspire park their home. Because of this, for older kids visit to this park can be educational too. The lighting in park is solar powered. In Middle East where there are not many natural plantation, these kind of vegetated open spaces are very useful for residents. Though these park consume many gallons of water daily, but the parks are essential to make cities livable for families. Only thing was there were less trees in park so adding some shading element will help to create more shade in park. This park must be great fun to visit on cooler days.

Sustainable deign elements in Katara
Another place which we visited and would like to mention here is Katara cultural village. It is a huge complex placed next to sea and beach and has traditional local architecture consist of many sustainable design features. Many one or two storied traditional house like buildings are connected with narrow lanes. These narrow lanes create wind tunnel effect, which helps to cool down the temperature a bit. All these open public spaces were shaded making it comfortable to walk through this complex. Here people can come together even during the hotter time of the day. There were falaj-like small waterways on both sides of the lane along the buildings, which I think mostly for cooling effect. Generally traditional falaj are used for irrigation purpose. Most of the Qatari cultural authorities have offices in Katara.

There are many upcoming and work in progress projects which are going to make Doha even more livable city. Some of these projects are Rail, Downtown Doha etc. Qatar is developing faster for world cup 2022, but I am happy to see they are giving enough importance to sustainability as well.

Katara cultural village, Pigeon towers 

(Note: visit our Instagram page for photos of trees and birds)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kids Having Fun on Dairy Farm in Dubai

A social club in Dubai named Hands on Club who arranges educative and fun activities for kids announced a dairy farm visit few weeks back. How can I miss this kids eco-activity, so me and my son joined many other kids and their moms to visit Marmum Dairy farm situated close to Nad al sheba. We all travelled through mini school buses, we got to spot camels in dessert on the way. All older kids were very curious and had few interesting ideas about cows like 'cows drink milk first before giving us milk' and 'do cows eat chocolates to make chocolate milk?' :-). You could imagine how entertaining it must be to be there with those smart kids!

Marmum farm allowed us in after their routine cleansing procedures. From a viewing gallery we could see automated cow milk extraction procedure. There was a informative presentation arranged for our group by Marmum. Where they explained many facts about cows, dairy farm activities, procedures etc. Older kids were happy to know real answers to their curious questions, but not my toddler. He wanted to 'go out' of that hall and he announced it almost as soon as the presentation started! To avoid disturbing others, me and my son wandered around, the main attraction was calves kept nearby. My son wanted to feed them lot of things like dried leaves and dried sticks of trees. But he understood after I explained that like all other babies calf need milk too, because it is cow's baby. Of course we returned to hall when old MacDonald song started at end of presentation, it is our one of favorite song!

Marmum arranged calf feeding for kids. Kids fed the calves milk through large bottles. It was definitely highlight of the visit. Kids were happy and shouting and gathering around calves. One of the calf set itself free from that cage like shelter and jumped around, it made kids scream even louder and poor calf got scared even more. The farm staff caught the calf and kept in it's safe zone. Many mothers told their kids not to scream and disturb the calf further. I found that incidence educative too, our kids need to make aware that they are disturbing animals in their excitement. Which can irritate those animals and they might harm us (of course not in this situation, the poor calf was frightened and was trying to get away from the crowd).

Marmum provided us with lots and lots of bottles of milk, juices, laban. It was a hot day and cold strawberry milk was much needed for us.

It was a fun filled, educative activity and all kids enjoyed it thoroughly. My son now knows where the milk comes from. And I know many things about a cow which I didn't even given a thought to.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Earth Hour 2015 Celebrations!

Green Living in Dubai's first Eco Event took place yesterday. We organized 'Family Fun Earth Hour 2015 celebrations' and I am glad to share with you that it went well :-).
DIY Paper Lantern and Recycled Tin Lantern made by me

John Giving Talk, Paper Lantern making
The theme of our Earth Hour 2015 celebrations was 'Reduce Reuse Recycle'! (You can find more about 3Rs and DIYs on our blog under Green Home section)

Highlight of our celebration was talk about local recycling service. John Van Zuylen from Keep It Clean delivered the informative talk about their recycling system created for every household in UAE, Homecycle. Our guest found it very useful. Guests asked questions about it and even said they will try this service. I talked about my experience as Homecycle user. Check out the review of Homecycle on our blog under Green Directory section

As promised to our guests we had eco activities for kids. Not just kids but even parents and adults liked our eco activities! We made paper lantern with kids. Older kids enjoyed making it on their own. Younger kids enjoyed decorating waste plastic bottles (juice and milk bottles) to make educational toy. I call it 'shapes and color discovery bottle'. This educational bottle toy was created to teach kids how we can reuse items to make something useful out of it instead of throwing it away. Also I displayed and explained how to make lantern out of tin box. The one showed here created out of formula milk tin box.

Shapes and Color Discovery Bottle made out of plastic juice bottle
(Recycled Educational Toy for younger kids)

At end our guest were given eco goodies, consist of paper car bag, Mr. bin paper trash cone for beach by Keep It Clean and Glass jar with goodies by Green Living In Dubai, which I made out of babyfood jars another example of reusing waste bottles.

I would like to thank John and Michelene from Keep It Clean for sparing an evening for our event and providing valuable information about how to recycle in UAE from comfort of our home and giving eco goodies to our guests. And lastly thank you to all of our guests who attended 'Family Fun Earth Hour Celebrations'. I am sure you had fun! All of these lovely people made our first Green Event successful!

Checkout few more photos of the event on our Facebook page. Keep checking our blog for future Eco events...
Kids showing Paper Lantern and Discovery Bottle made by them