I’m excited to share with you a post from my friend, Heather, who blogs over at Finding Our Green Life. Today she is sharing with us her article on how to grow a green kid. Moving to Alaska, we’ve been a lot more conscientious about our influence on nature and the environment around us. And Heather was just the person to ask to write up a great article to help us all learn manageable steps to growing green kids. So without further ado, I’m excited for you to read her article:
Kids, the next generation, the future, the ones who will be taking care of us in our golden years. A lot is resting on our ability to raise a generation of planet protectors. If you have small children, I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself more than once that nothing creates more waste than a kid. Just me? It may seem daunting or nearly impossible but teaching kids to be good environmental citizens is probably easier than you may think.
13 Things You Can Do to Grow a Green Kid
Choose Reusable Products
Starting when they are just babies, choose reusable products over single use. Complete transparency, I used disposable diapers when my kids were young. Cloth diapers were starting to come back into ‘fashion’ (or at least I was starting to hear about them) but I wasn’t very aware of them. Choose a reusable baby wipe like product. Think of all the ways parents use baby wipes, mostly to wipe faces and hands. Something like the Norwex Baby Body Cloth would be my choice. Reusable products run the gamut from cups to eating utensils to bags to straws and beyond.
Spend lots of time taking walks, going on hikes, and playing at the park. Talk about what you see in nature and the important role everything plays – birds, squirrels, trees, flowers, clouds, sun, water, ducks, etc. This will help to grow a green kid from a very young age as it shows them how everything works together.
This kind of goes without saying but make sure to teach your kids that trash goes in the trash can, unless it’s something that can be recycled. If you have a favorite park or walking trail, bring along an extra bag to pick up litter. Kids love to play I Spy! A pair of gardening gloves would be great to bring along for this activity.
Plant a Garden
Kids love to play in the dirt! Take advantage of that and teach them how to grow their own flowers and food. If you’re short on space, pick up a few pots and do some container gardening. Let the kids choose what they’d like to grow. You in turn will be well on your way to growing a green kid.
While you are gardening, set up a compost bin. Teach them how things taken from nature can go back into nature. What kid doesn’t like to watch bugs and discover worms?
Read Books, Lots of Books
I don’t think I’ve met any small child who doesn’t love to be read to. Read lots of books about the environment, trees, where food comes from, animals, recycling, etc.
Go to the Library
Make going to the library a weekly activity. Talk about how you are choosing to reuse by borrowing books from the library.
Box of Junk
Keep a box of paper towel roll tubes, toilet paper tubes, buttons, ribbons, craft supplies, scrap paper, crayons, etc. on hand for those rainy-day activities. Let their imagination run wild and see what they can create.
Turn it Off
Teach them to always turn off lights when they leave a room, turn the faucet off when they are brushing teeth, or unplug devices when they aren’t in use.
When they get a bit older, teach them how to read product labels and look for harmful ingredients. Talk about the impact harmful chemicals have on our waterways and marine life.
Donate Used Items
When they are no longer enjoying a toy, teach them the importance of donating it rather than throwing it away. The same goes for clothes, when they outgrow a piece of clothing, don’t throw it away, donate it (provided it is still in good condition).
Take them to farmer’s markets. Let them meet local farmers and hear about how food is grown from a professional.
Teach Them to Recycle
Teach them how to recycle right. Set up a station of recycling bins in your home or garage so it becomes part of their daily habit. If your trash hauler takes your recycles, great, if not, take your child to the recycling center with you and let them participate in the process.
Visit the Animals
Take them to the zoo, aquarium, marine life center, animal refuge, or anywhere else there are animals. Teach them to enjoy large creatures and the impact our choices have on these creatures. Teach them about plastic pollution and how it impacts marine life.
We always hear the phrase “kids are like sponges.” Just like Santa, they are always watching. If you grow a green kid while they are young, this all becomes part of their lifestyle.
Starting out on your green living adventure and not sure what to do next? Join me and my family on our journey to a greener lifestyle over at Finding Our Green Life and be sure to check out the free printable to help children discover ways to be green kids, as well!