Your child can grow to be a greener person too. Here are six activities to help educate your child on becoming green.
It’s never too early to instil care for the environment in a child, and you are your child’s best teacher. By modelling responsible behaviour towards the world around us, you teach your child that every choice he makes affects everyone else around him. The following are things every family can incorporate into their routines.
- Start a compost pile
Every very young child can help in this project. Compost is household and garden waste that has been decomposed and can be recycled as fertiliser for the garden soil. If you have a space, dig a hole in your garden that is about three feet by three feet. Every day, let your kids help you collect vegetable and fruit scraps, fallen leaves in the garden, twigs and more and put them in the compost pile. The compost will have to be turned once in a while, and older kids can help with that. If you don’t have the space, get a compost bin from the local garden centre. Doing this will make the kids think about how much waste is generated in the household. You can talk to them about reducing waste and come up with ideas of things they can do.
- Have a no rubbish day
You can choose one day a week for this. For this one day, everyone in the family will generate as little waste as they can, and the winner get prize. Talk to your kids about ways they can reduce waste. For example, a fast food meal will generate a carton for the food, a paper cup for the drink, a straw, a plastic bag to hold everything in, and little wrappers for sauces. That is LOT of waste. Your kids can make the decision whether they will eat fast food, or choose something else that will generate less waste. Even when cooking, talk to them about using fresh produce versus packaged food. If you use a lot of fresh vegetables in your meals, instead of canned beans and such, you would have generated less waste. And vegetables scraps can be used for the compost pile! This simple activity gets them thinking about the choices they make.
- Make recycling a daily habit
Prepare recycling bins at home for your kids. One for paper, one for plastic and one for tin. Kids generate a lot of waste when they scribble, draw and write. When they are done with paper (make sure they use both sides), have them throw it in the paper recycling bin. At then end of the day, have them help you sort out the rubbish in the kitchen and separate the recyclables accordingly. Once a month, cart the whole stash to your nearest recycling centre with your kids. This routine will stick with them as they grow, and when they are independent of you, they will still continue recycling.
- Spendthrifts be gone!
Kids learn spending habits from their parents. If their parents are always buying stuff, the kids pick up on this. What you end up with is a house full of things that probably won’t get used anyway. If this sound like your family, stop now. When you buy unnecessarily, you are cultivating a throwaway culture, and worse, a hoarding habit. You buy without regards for cost and space. The first thing you need to do is declutches. Take stock of everything you have in the house, and get your kids involved. Have them sort out books and toys that they don’t need anymore, and arrange to have these donated. Let them see you sort out your belongings as well. This may take a while, from a few days to a couple of months, depending on how much you have. Once you have finished clearing out the unnecessary, you will feel much better. The next step is to curb your spending. Every time you purchase something, think about whether it is necessary and whether you have space for it. Your kids will pick this up from you, and hopefully grown up to be responsible adults who always weigh their choice carefully as they know the consequence of their actions.
- Visit a waterfall
Water is a very important resource that kids must be aware of. From the time they can understand you, show them how they can save water. When your kids start brushing teeth, teach them not to leave the tap running. If you harvest rainwater in your home, tell them why you do it – to reduce wastage of water. The rainwater is used to water your garden. When they take a bath, turn the shower off when you are shampooing and soaping them, instead of leaving it running. Bring them to natural sources of water, such as rivers and waterfalls. Tell them where water comes from. Kids are inquisitive by nature, and if you show them the whole life process of water from source to tap, they will understand it more and learn to appreciate it.
- Art with scraps
Kids love art. Whether they are painting, drawing or cutting up stuff to glue together, it is their favourite thing to do. Instead of always giving them art paper, let them use other materials. Give them old T-shirts, fabric scraps, cartons, paper towel and toilet rolls and even newspaper. Show them that art can be made from all things. This will not only foster creativity, but it will get them thinking about re-using things. Bigger kids can work with things like a discarded cabinet, chipped ceramic and such. Get them to redesign something that others deem as junk.