“Green” Holiday Gifts for Child Care Providers

She diligently watches your child — and her water use. She helps your toddler outline his growing hand in crayon, but makes sure her home’s carbon footprint isn’t too big. What do you give your “green” child-care provider for the holidays that shows appreciation for her wonderful nurturing of the earth as well as your little one? Here are ten eco-friendly gift ideas listed on thekindleschool.com for that special nanny, babysitter, or day care teacher:

1.) Soaps, lotions, and other relaxation-promoting goodies made in an earth-conscious way. Some companies take great care to make products in a way that doesn’t harm animals or the environment. First, be sure your sitter’s not allergic or ultra sensitive to certain smells, or stick with something mild and fresh-smelling if you don’t know her fragrance preference. Gift certificates to an eco-friendly product maker also make great presents.

2.) Sierra Club gift membership. Synonymous with eco-friendly, the Sierra Club is the perfect organization to link to your environmentally conscious babysitter. For a limited time, gift membership includes a Sierra Club Expedition Pack.

3.) Eco-friendly toys. Perfect for home child care situations, a basket of new eco-friendly toys – made with sustainable and/or organic materials – would be a terrific way to supplement your provider’s current offering of playthings. Your gift may even inspire her to convert all her toys to “green” ones.

4.) A book on her favorite environmental subject. Is your nanny passionate about recycling, rain forests, energy conservation? Check out places like Amazon, or join Paperbackswap.com for a book on the topic.

5.) Send her a fancy organic food gift basket or arrange for fresh, organic locally-grown produce delivery. You can find and order an array organic foods, some of them a bit pricey but beautifully presented, from online establishments; do an Internet search or visit localharvest.org for options in your area for locally-grown fruit and veggie delivery.

6.) Organic clothing. Find the perfect outfit (hemp skirt, anyone?) for your child care provider at online organic clothing retailers. You can also do an Internet search for stores in your area that sell organic clothing if you’d prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar establishment.

7.) Help her start a simple organic garden. Supply your sitter with everything she needs to start an organic garden, from the soil to the seeds. Add a fabulous gardening book (“You Grow Girl” by Gayla Trail is a great choice). Place everything neatly in the plant container she’ll use for the garden. Dress up your “box” with environmentally friendly gift wrap.

8.) Make a donation to her favorite eco-friendly organizationor cause. Don’t know what your day care teacher supports? Try the local chapter of the Sierra Club or the National Audubon Society.

9) Give her a membership to a food cooperative. Go to Localharvest.org to find food cooperatives in your area When you sign her up, your nanny can become a member/owner with all rights and privileges therein (depending on the co-op).

10.) Adopt an endangered animal or have a tree planted in your child-care provider’s name. Visit the Web site of American Forests or find a local organization that supports tree planting and green space; go to World Wildlife Fund for info on symbolic animal adoption