Raising our kids is an important responsibility that involves educating them, not only in school, but in life as well. This includes being ecologically responsible. They learn from watching the behavior of others, especially what they see demonstrated at home by parents and other family members. By involving our kids in green activities in a fun way, they learn about caring for our planet and building good habits that will stay with them throughout life. Just remember, a little creativity will go a long way!
Recycling – Make It Colorful
A simple way to teach kids how to be kind to the environment is to set up a home recycling system. This does not need to be elaborate, boring or expensive. Since most kids love bright colors, try setting up a colored bin system for different types of items. Something as simple as different color plastic bins will work just fine. Designate a different color for each type of item to be recycled, then let your kids be in charge of sorting. Small children love to help, so when we get them involved in recycling, they learn green habits. They also build self esteem through their efforts.
To encourage your kids to recycle, try setting up a reward system. One example would be to mark each day on the calendar that they successfully complete their assigned tasks. Once they have completed their tasks for a designated time period, provide them with a special reward, such as a favorite meal or an afternoon at the zoo. This will also teach them how to work toward a goal and successfully reach it.
Give New Life To Unwanted Items
To teach kids about conservation, and stretch your budget in the process, instead of throwing unwanted or broken items away, reuse them when possible.
If something breaks, before throwing it out, see if it can be repaired. If not, look for alternate uses for the item or its parts. Many household items can be reused in craft projects, decorating and gardening. A good example of giving new life to an unwanted item would be to use shards from a broken dinner plate to accent a flower garden. It may not be usable on the dinner table, but it can add a lovely splash of color to compliment those spring blooms! The key is creativity. Kids have endless imagination so get them involved and turn it into a family project.
Clothing that is beyond repair, or no longer wanted, can also find new life in many ways. Following are a few examples:
Cut worn clothing into strips to make throw rugs, or cut into unique shapes to make place mats and napkins. You can also design colorful wall hangings or any number of other creative projects to decorate your home. The only limit is your imagination.
For items that are no longer wanted but still usable, donate them to a thrift store or homeless shelter and help the less fortunate. This will teach your kids about charity and helping members of the community in a tangible way.
This philosophy goes for shopping as well! Instead of heading to the mall when you need a new outfit, start at the local thrift or consignment store. Many great bargains can be found at a fraction of retail. It is also an adventure because you never know what you will find. You might even discover designer clothing hanging on the rack for just a few dollars.
As the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Teaching our kids about conservation begins at home. Simple acts such as shutting off the light when leaving a room, or turning off the water while we brush our teeth, sets a good example and reduces the amount of natural resources we use. Applying this same philosophy when we shop will help to reduce what ends up in our landfills. When grocery shopping, look for products with the least amount of packaging. If you have the storage space, buy in bulk. This will save you money and reduce waste.
Get your kids involved. It is a safe bet that they will inspire you while you educate them, and will provide the entire family with a way to help keep our planet green.