Eco Tips & Ideas, Sharing

Fishica » STEPS » Sharing » Eco Tips & Ideas » Green Children

Green Children

As many of us in the world become increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of our everyday actions, our children want to know where and how they fit in? This up and coming green generation can start incorporating green practices into their daily routines from a very early age, therefore helping to foster a lifetime of naturally “thinking green”. Some of the following ideas may help in educating children and get them thinking and actively participating in taking care of the Earth…while having some fun along the way.

Older children are likely to think of some of the best ideas for going green themselves and we can potentially learn as much from them as they can from us so ensure they are given opportunities to voice these ideas and where possible are given the responsibility for implementing them.

Recycle

Have children help set up an at home recycling station, something that is easily accessible for everyone. We have several tubs under our kitchen sink for plastics, tins and glass. Paper and cardboard gets sorted separately and used on our garden (great for under mulch – worms love it!) or as packaging for my at home business (Fishica)

Our large recycling bin is easily accessible by our back door and my daughter loves helping wheel it up our driveway on collection days.

Re- use

So many things can be re-used…it’s a good time to get imaginative…

Bottles, cardboard tubes and egg cartons make great craft items. Puppets, box creations…we even made an egg carton cubby which is still used daily two years on!

Books – while it is nice to have a new book now and again, more often you can find a great read by borrowing from friends and family, going to the local library or trawling second hand bookshops. Sharing books is a great way to reduce waste and reuse.

Toys – buy toys that last! Toys are made directly or indirectly from natural resources. Choose toys that won’t break easily, can be used in a variety of ways for extended periods of time and passed on for younger siblings or other children to enjoy.

When you drink bottled waster, reuse the bottle before recycling it or better still don’t buy bottled water at all and invest in a long lasting, easily cleaned stainless steel bottle that you will get years of use out of. Not only will you and your children be helping to ‘green the planet’ but you will save money also.

Reduce the use of disposables

Use stainless steel or other re useable materials for snack containers, lunch boxes, drink bottles, picnic sets etc and where possible re useable wipes & handkerchiefs (they really are kinder on noses!)

Water

Turn off the tap while brushing teeth rather than let it run unnecessarily for the duration.

Hand wash dishes or only run the dishwasher once you have a full load. Use an eco-friendly washing up liquid and/or dishwashing tablets (I like Method, Smarty Dish)

Ban all drips. If you have a dripping tap in the house replace the washer inside it. If you stop a tap from leaking one drop each second, you can save literally hundreds of litres of water each year.

Energy

Turn off lights and appliances when not in use

This is one where we really need to lead by example as children are naturally not cost or energy conscious so won’t think of turning lights, televisions and other appliances for this reason. They need to be taught about wasting energy. It’s a tricky one to explain. My daughter went through a stage where she would cart a stepping stool around and reach up to turn every light on in the house, only for me to follow soon after and turn them all off. She struggled to understand as she thought it was fun and all the lights looked pretty…but we are slowly getting there now and often she is the first to suggest the TV needs to be turned off or we have missed a light.

Reduce TV and computer time

Play games, read books, get outdoors; build a cubby, get creative…anything to reduce time spent watching TV, playing computer games etc. Help reduce energy and have fun away from the technical gadgets.

Food

Have children help set up and maintain an organic vegetable garden. If possible give them a small plot or some pots that they are solely responsible for. They can help with all aspects if you give them mini versions of real tools. My little girl loves digging, planting seeds and watering…and often puts me to shame with her weeding!

And nearly all children love the picking & eating once their home-grown harvest is ready.

Our next project is to make a “Hay Lady” (apparently a less scary girl version of a Scare Crow)…I’ve just got to find an old pink dress!

Talk about where food comes from and make trips to the local shops, green grocers, or local growers markets fun as well as educational. Try when possible to buy regional organic food that hasn’t traveled huge distances to get to you and that hasn’t been unnecessarily covered in pesticides or been artificially ripened.

Use veggie scraps to help create a compost heap (and/or feed chickens). Let children add to the compost, turn it etc. And most will delight in finding worms!

Trees

Plant a deciduous tree to help keep your house cool through the summer months and let loads of light in during winter.

Plant a native garden using natives found in your area…the local nursery should be able to help with suggestions and advice. With my limited knowledge of gardening I have found that seedlings actually seem to fare better than larger plants long term so you don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money. Just be patient – especially if you share your garden with kangaroos as we do!!

Spread the Word

Celebrate Earth Day. On April 22, celebrate by starting a new Earth-friendly habit. Spread the word! The more people who treat the Earth well, the safer all its inhabitants will be.

http://www.earthday.org

Children today have an advantage over us adults… they are being raised in an environment and within communities that are already aware of the consequences of not being green…With a little help from parents who care, children today can change the world we live in for the better!