Going green with kids is a refreshing change. Viewing the world through a child’s eyes is to see a place of beauty, fairness and possibility. Children are curious about nature and genuinely compassionate toward animals and plants, but they are also easily distracted and sometimes imprudent. Thus, a parent’s role is to harness that enthusiasm into constructive activities that help develop respect for others, respect for self and respect for places, including planet Earth. By connecting kids to the outdoors at an early age through activities they enjoy – nature walks, playing outside, riding bikes, planting a garden, building a chicken coop – it can be easy to shape their interest in nature into stewardship of Earth.
Many schools are addressing the issue of environmental awareness through learning activities like green teams and recycling. Wolf Lake Middle School has a recycling club as part of the science lab. Children help the school recycle all paper, cans and plastic bottles. However, the rubber really meets the road at home. Send kids to school with a waste-free lunch kit, which not only prevents disposable products from ending up in landfills, but could save about $450 that would otherwise be spent on plastic wrap and baggies. Equip kids with a reusable stainless steel water bottle. That could save $1500 on bottles of water, which not only fill landfills with tons of bottles each year, but can actually leak chemicals into your child’s drinks.
Parents’ actions and attitudes toward the environment have tremendous influence on the behaviours of our offspring. No matter where you are in your own green journey, ecoparenting is simple parenting if you stick to the fundamental three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle-and add in some Recreation. From that premise, you can easily incorporate ecopractices into every actions.
Turning off lights, unplugging video games or turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth are simple habits that really add up. To increase your water conservation at the bathroom sink, Install a faucet aerator, which can turn a 2.5 gallon per minute faucet into a .5 gallon per minute faucet. Keep track of your savings, and use the money for a fun family activity. And when it comes to the shower, many kids can spend 20 minutes n there and still not come out clean! To save energy and water, put a 5 minute shower timer in the bathroom and see if they can still pass mom’s inspection.
Instead of buying books, use the local library, which is a great resource for learning about plants, animals and the environment. Your kids can better understand the concepts of sustainability and re-usability if they learn to give items to others to reuse, and if they use items that come second-hand. To that end, start a clothing. toy or book swap with a friend or neighbor.
Help your kids turn trash into treasure. Organize a neighborhood or park clean-up and take all the bottles and cans to the local recycling center. Let the kids keep any money they earn. Around the house, use bottle caps, magazines, or tin cans for art projects or to create homemade toys. Have older kids take apart a small broken appliance and make something new.
Take the kids to the farmer’s market in Mount Dora where they can explore seasonal and sometimes quite novel produce. By supporting local farmers, you lower the carbon footprint of produce being shipped from out of state or out of country, plus you get the nutrient-loaded benefits that come with fresh picked produce. The act of planting a garden with your child will result in many benefits. Whether it’s a full organic vegetable garden or just a few peppers and tomatoes in containers, involve kids in planning, planting, tending and cooking and you’ll make a complete journey from garden to plate. Let the kids collect the food scraps, create a compost, and complete the natural cycle. In recent years, composting has evolved from the chick wire wrapped pile of leaves in the back yard to under the sink, odor-free, worm-free models that can become a learning too (and a fun responsibility) for children.
While turning on the television may seem to be the antithesis of green, sometimes circumstances call for a family movie night. Select a film with an environmental message such as “Happy Feet,” “Hoot,” “March of he Penguins” or “Wall-e” and them discuss it afterwards. bring the message home by banishing one-use batteries from the television remotes. But don’t stop there! Switch all your battery-operated devices to rechargeable batteries to save hundreds of pounds of toxic waste from entering landfills, and to save tyou thousands of dollars over time.
My son Garrett has taken on the project of a chicken coop. He has torn down our old barn, and redesigned it for his very own chicken coop. It has taken several weekends for him to complete it. We should be painting it sometime this week. Yes “Red”. He started out with an idea and thinking carefully he discussed the details with his dad and me… He went online and did his homework, learning everything he needs to know about raising chickens to produce eggs. This was a great project…and it will be both eco friendly and a great learning experience.
There is an old Kenyan proverb that states: Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children. The best way for us to protect the world they will inherit is to teach them how to care for it while they are young. Habits they learn at an early age will stay with them for life-and, hopefully, will be passed on to their own children.
by: Tesha Daniels For more information on this article, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org