Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Make Everyday Earth Day with Kids

Earth day is a day to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Here are some ideas and changes that we have slowly made in the way we live that I believe will make a positive impact on the environment. 
Everyday is earth day

Taking good care of our planet is a habit you can start from day one. Start when the kids are small and you will create good recyclers. Teach them the three R’s of the Environment: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and our world will be the better for it. Putti has seen us doing these ourselves and we keep telling her about the same often. She now has gotten used to most of it and does not need remainders any more. Here are some of the ways that we encourage eco-friendly attitudes in her:
 1. Enjoy the outdoors:
Earth day with kids 

  • Spend as much time as you can outdoors with your kids. 
  • Outside = anywhere, so they can feel the sun, the wind,  the breeze or the rain and maybe snow too. 
  • You don't have to travel everyday to enjoy outdoors, just a walk around your community can be so much FUN and help you connect with nature.
  • Go on nature walks, bird-watch, go on scavenger hunts,  check out the stars at night. 
  • Make these a routine and you will see how much your kid enjoys them.
  • Go for a walk in the rain, jump in the water puddles or go for a bike ride in the rain.
  • Creative Family fun shares 10 ways to make walk more fun.
  • If your kids already enjoy beaches, nature trails, and the little creatures found in nature, convincing them to adopt eco-friendly habits will be much easier
    Everyday is earth day with kids 
2. Model and discuss your choices:
  • Practice eco-friendly actions that your children can see, eventually understand and practice themselves!
  • Don't keep the water running while you're brushing your teeth, shaving, soaping dishes. 
  • Take shorter showers and fill the tub just enough to immerse your kids feet, they don't need a whole tub of water to enjoy bath time.
  • Dump left over ice on plants instead of down the drain.
  • Fill a 2 liter plastic bottle with water and place it in your toilet tank. It will reduce the the amount of water filled in the tank with with each flush. And in a year, it will keep 5,000 gallons of water from going down the drain.
  • Walk, ride your bike or carpool to work, school or stores when ever possible. 
  • Keep hot water use to a minimum.  We switch off the water heater after all our baths in the mornings and turn it on only when needed again.
  • Instead of turning up the heat in winters, put on a sweater or use an extra blanket. 
  • Bring your own bags to the stores. You may run into the “whoops, I left my bag in the car” a few times until you get into the habit of using them.
  • Use reusable containers and bags for  packing your lunch. Avoid Ziplocs and brown paper bags.  
  • Try and buy used books, toys, games etc. Also try to donate your old toys, clothes, toys and appliances!
  • Have them count how many paper towels are used in a day at home, challenge them to find ways to reduce the consumption.
  • Request bills, statements, newsletters etc. to be sent electronically.
  • Use green cleaning products, buy organic and local as much as possible.  
  • Shred paper for packing materials or compost. Use old envelopes for scratch paper or notes, or save scraps for craft projects around the house.
  • Styrofoam is not biodegradable. Minimize its use. Next time, get your coffee to go in a reusable coffee mug or thermos.
  • Paper towels and napkins are wasteful of forest resources and landfill space. Minimize their usage. A better alternative is to use cloth napkins for mealtime and rags and sponges to clean up.
  • Most disposable plastic utensils are used once and thrown away, rather than recycled. Since they are not biodegradable, they will live on forever in the environment. Consider washing and reusing plastic utensils, or stick to regular cutlery.
3. Upcycle/Recycle:
earth day recycled kids craft 

  • As much as I love to encourage and do crafts with my daughter, I try to upcycle and recycle materials for our crafts.
  • Instead of buying more paper for kids artwork, try and use what is already available. Remember kids art is all about the process.
  • I have always given Putti one side printed paper for her artwork/scribbles/writings, which I collect from her dad's office. 
  • She even loves painting on newspapers and old phone book pages
  • I encourage her to write/draw on both sides of the paper when she is using a blank paper.
  • For practicing alphabets, numbers etc a chalkboard or slate work better. And for older kids, slipping the tracing sheet inside a sheet protector and using a dry erase marker saves a lot of paper!
  • We strive to turn trash into treasure.  We have a recycling bin/box at our house. We call ours a 'Treasure Box' where we save toilet paper rolls, coffee tins, tin cans, wrapping paper, empty tissue box, lids etc
  • Challenge kids to create art out of something before throwing it away.
  • Using such day today material encourages children's creativity and imagination and you will be amazed with their ideas!
  • Teach Mama shows How to use Recyclables with kids. You will be amazed at all the fun, creative and learning ideas she shares.
  • Hands on as we grow has made a list of 32 recyclables to upcycle with kids. 
  • The Seeds network has an amazing list of things to reuse.
  • Stop throwing away batteries. The mercury in old batteries will eventually leak out and poison the water it runs into. Try dropping them at your recycle center or Buy rechargeable alkaline batteries.
  • Start recycling religiously. Stick a note on ur fridge door reminding you of what can be recycled. 
4. Take action:
  • Kids learn best when they do things themselves. 
  • Garden with your children and encourage them to lead upkeep of the plants! Even toddlers can help tend a garden 
  • Shop with your kids at a local organic farm. 
  • Involve kids when you participate in park, beach, or trail clean-ups. 
    gardening with kids earth day

5. Read Books about Earth and Environmentalism: 
  • Reading books and stories gives the children language to understand and express complex concepts.
  • The EARTH Book by Todd Parr and Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington are tow of our favorite books.
  • A list of Earth day books for kids here.
  • Do an activity to extend the meaning of the book read. Stay tuned for a blog hop with Earth day books and activities coming on April 8th.
    earth day kids activity
    These steps are simple and with very little effort you can actually employ them in your everyday life and pass on the habits to your children too. It's easy -- and fun -- to green your routine.
How do you celebrate Earth day with your kids?
Do you a tip to add? Let me know in the comments.

Linking to all places mentioned here

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Great list! It's so important to model Earth friendly behaviors for our kids.

This is a fabulous list! Thanks so much for linking to my 10 Ways to Make a Walk More Fun post! I'm honored to be included!!

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