Now that it’s summer vacation, why not spend some time with your kids learning how to keep our planet healthy? After all, it’s theirs to inherit from us — and for their children to inherit from them. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
- The great outdoors. When you’re at the beach, park, or playground, point out garbage that you see on the ground. Discuss how trash can affect wildlife, who might eat the trash and get sick, or hurt by sharp edges of cans or tangled up in loose string. Have on hand some bags and plastic gloves so you can clean it up.
- Recycling. Kids love to sort things, so why not put them in charge of household recycling? Letting them decorate recycling bins can make the activity personal and fun. They can draw a picture on each bin for the item that goes in (depending on your local recycling), so that even the youngest can help. Explain how recyclables must be sorted properly so that they can be processed easily at the recycling facility. If possible, take a field trip to your local facility for an up-close look at how it all works.
- Stories. The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, is an environmental classic that can give kids an idea of why taking care of the earth is important to everyone. In addition, there are many other titles that are fun and informative. Visit your local library and ask your librarian for suggestions (librarians love when you do this, and they are experts on their book lists).
- Look around the house. We usually think about the kitchen as being the hotspot for finding recyclables, but there are many items throughout the house that can be reused or recycled. Are there old stuffed animals or plastic toys (think birthday party goodie bags) that are no longer actively used or in working order? Instead of throwing away that small paper tube when the toilet paper is used up, put it in with the paper recycling. Old clothes and toys can be donated (in fact, even clothes that aren’t usable can often be recycled into new fabrics). Be creative!
- Make recycling a game! There are plenty of ideas for making recycling fun. Check out rethinkrecycling.com, sciencekids.co.nz, and epa.gov for cool activities and crafts.
With a little planning and a little imagination, you and your kids can not only
have a lot of fun going green this summer — you can do the planet some good. Happy recycling!