The world will belong to our kids someday, so it’s essential that we teach them how to properly care for it. There are tons of fun, educational activities you can do with your kids to help them learn about the environment. KidsHealth.org states that the best way to teach children “is to be a good role model yourself”.
Show them the importance of caring for the planet with these green activities and crafts:
1. Start a garden
If you don’t have a garden in your yard, it’s time to start. If you live in an apartment, start an “indoor garden”. Today.com has a list of the easiest house plants to care for. Have your child pick out some seeds of flowers and fruits that he or she likes, and get the supplies you need for gardening. When the plants have grown, take some pictures of the garden and display them in nice picture frames! If you’re looking into starting an organic garden and need some help, see our organic gardening basics.
2. Create your own reusable grocery bags
Most shopping plastic bags are not recycled, and paper bags aren’t as environmentally-friendly as they’re made out to be. The best solution is to simply shop with reusable bags. Why not teach children how to make their own? All you’ll need is a sewing machine, a few old pillowcases, “old” fabric from shirts or towel, and straps. Stitch the bag together with the straps and you’ve got yourself a bag. Use fabric markers or patches to personalize.
3. Make paper mâché art from old newspapers
It’s important for kids to learn that throwing old newspapers away isn’t the answer. Instead, they should either be recycled or put to good use, such as creating a work of art. For a paper mâché project, gather the old papers up and tear them into strips that are approximately 1-inch in width. If they are any thinner, they will be difficult to work with. Make the paste with 1-cup flour and 1-cup water (it’s okay to add more water if it the paste is too thick) and mix with a spoon until the lumps are gone. Let the paper strips soak in the glue for a little while before using. Cover the artwork surface (balloon, recycled cardboard, molded figure, etc.) with only two or three layers, then let it dry completely before adding more layers (if needed). Once dried, paint or decorate as desired!
4. Teach your kids to recycle
The earlier you teach your kids about recycling, the better. You can start by having them go through their old clothes, toys, magazines, cans, and any other items they no longer need or want. Set up several recycling bins, one of each type of recyclable material. If you’re not sure how recycling is sorted in your area, find out before you begin. Label each bin accordingly. If any of the items won’t be accepted by your recycling center, take them to the nearest salvation army station and donate them.
5. Start going on family nature hikes – Kids tend to spend way too much time indoors these days. Encourage yours to start going outside more often. Once a week, schedule a family hiking trip. Use a site like Trail.com to find trails near you. You can also use this opportunity to encourage your child’s photography skills – or work on your own! Get frames from Frameology to display the beautiful images taken during the family hiking trips.
There are plenty of simple things you can do to help your children become more environmentally-friendly. Make sure everyone in the home gets in the habit of turning lights off before leaving a room, change or clean filters regularly, try to spend less time in the shower, etc.
If you need more inspiration, check out our other green parenting ideas: