How do you teach your children about conservation, sustainability, and recycling? Those are big words that young children can grasp if presented to them in the right way. Instilling green habits is about teaching children positive ways to cook, craft, garden, and explore the world around them. Earth Day is a great time to think about some ways you can instill green habits in your household.
One of the most powerful ways to influence children is to set an example. If you talk about eating veggies, take your child to a farmer’s market and plant your own garden (most children love helping with all aspects of planting a garden). If you talk about enjoying the outdoors, take your children on a hike. If you recycle, have your children take part in the recycling process. Children love to sort.
A great hands-on way to introduce children to the idea of re-using and upcycling items around your house is by creating eco-art. Using items around the house that you might otherwise throw away like plastics that you can't recycle or fabric scraps and create art with them. Some eco-art examples are: Toilet paper rolls and old red tissue paper to make trees, corks and foam to create floating sail boats, take old milk jugs and make whales or masks out of them, use old CDs and feathers to make dream catchers.
Green your school lunches. Brown paper bags and throw-away plastic baggies add up to a lot of trash. Buy a lunchbox free of lead and, if they don’t already come with it, reusable sandwich bags, cloth napkins and a thermos. Just by eliminating all that daily wasted plastic and paper, your child could save 67 pounds of garbage a year. And don’t forget to lead by example and start taking your own lunchbox to work.