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10 Ways to Teach Your Kids to be Green

Sometimes it seems to me that kids are more involved in keeping our planet clean than we are. That being said, there is always room for growth. Here are a few ideas for ways to help your child be more environmental aware:

10 Ways to Teach Your Kids to be Green

1. Toy Swaps: We all know how quickly kids outgrow their toys. In order to reduce waste (and save a little $$ in the process) organize periodic toy swaps. Have all of your parent friends bring toys their children have outgrown and swap out for new, more age appropriate toys. If you can’t do a toy swap, find a consignment toy shop in your area. No need to keep producing new toys when there are so many already out there! As we know, kids learn from the examples we set.

2. Environmental Club: Help junior start an environmental club at school. Most schools require you to contact the principal and find a teacher to lead the club. This will teach your little one about the environment, activism, and community – a three-for-one!

3. Green Birthday Parties: Think of all the waste a typical birthday party creates: paper plates, utensils, balloons, junky favors, invitations, and wrapping paper. Try sending Evites, if possible, using reusable plates and utensils, and get creative with decorations and favors. Have the kids do an art project out of recycled materials to take home instead of a plastic bag full of trinkets and candy.

4. Grow a Garden Together: What better way to teach sustainability than through teaching your child how to garden. This can be a great bonding experience and teaches about science. Most importantly, it will set in motion a habit which influences our environment in many ways.

5. A Little Civics Lesson: Sit down with your little one and write a letter to local politicians in support of the environment on issues such as global warming, renewable energy, auto emission standards, endangered species, and other important issues.

6. Be the Best You Can Be: Kids develop habits early on based on what they see and experience. Set an example by eliminating the use of products such as paper/plastic bags and paper plates, using environmentally safe cleaning products, biking instead of driving, and buying local and/or recycled products. Better yet (because I know you’re already doing all of those things, right???), explain to them why you make the decisions you do, which will encourage them to use the same thought process in their daily life decisions.

7. Teach Toy Consciousness: Teach your kids to examine the toys they want, and to choose things that are PVC-free, made from wood, use minimal cardboard packaging, and limit the number of batteries. (Check out http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/kids-toys/kids-toys-resources.html for ideas on where to find eco-friendly toys)

8. Make Music Together: Use household items to make musical instruments. A cereal box and rubber bands makes a great guitar; coffee containers make superb drums; toilet paper tubes filled with beans and sealed off with a little wax paper held by rubber bands are awesome shakers.

9. Unplug: Who doesn’t love technology? (Heck, you and I are both using it right now!) But reducing the amount of energy we use by just a little, we can make a big difference. Explain to the children the impact of 24/7 TV watching and computer use on the environment, and sit down and read books together. Color, go outside – I don’t care what you do, just turn it off!

10. Play Games: Check out the links below with your child. They include video games and more fun activities which teach environmental awareness.

http://www.kidsbegreen.org/

http://www.eere.energy.gov/kids/

http://www.epa.gov/kids/

Comments

This is a very nice post. 

This is a very nice post.  You know, my sister asks me to look after his son when she goes to work. For sure my nephew will love doing these! :)

Green crafts

Crafts out of recycled materials are great.  Coffee cans, toilet paper rolls, shoe boxes,  packaging material, newspaper, old magazines, cartons, etc.

Once crayons are too small to use, you can melt them down and either make candles or new crayons out of them.  (You can even use cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes!)

 

Re: Green crafts

Some great ideas.  It's amazing what you can make out of recycled materials if you put your mind to it. 

Decorating shoe boxes and jars and using those to sort and store toys and school supplies instead of buying a made-in-China piece of plastic is another things you can do.  (plus it's a fun rainy day activty)

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