by Hilary McGuckin
For any parent that has had a birthday cuppa, or a slice of toast in bed from a beautiful little youngster wanting to please, don’t you think it would be great if your kids were doing nice things like this for you every day? And what if those little things they did were actually positive behaviours that will shape them into responsible, ethical adults? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well it’s not! Read on for some sustainable tips for even the stubbornest of kids!
Getting your children involved in sustainability at a young age is incredibly important and it’s easier than you think. Let’ be honest, they might not be interested in it or fully understand it, but you can get them started on positive habits for life if you show them the way now. And bonus, it will make life a little easier for the busy grown-ups of the house!
Honestly, knowing where to start is the hardest part. That’s why we’re here!
First things first, we need to help our children understand what sustainability is, however broad the concept to them. If all they can manage is the idea of sustainability being jobs they do for mum and dad that make the earth a cleaner place, then that’s a good start!
From recycling to gardening, being resourceful with products and reducing food waste, there are a great number of things your little ones can tackle now for a more positive future for everyone.
Here we have provided a list of 10 activities and tips that will teach your kids about sustainability and give you a much-needed breather:
Get your little ones to create labels for a couple of different recycling bins in your home. Involving them in this way will ensure they never forget what goes where.
PUTTING THE GROCERIES AWAY
As well as helping to carry the goods in to the house, now is a great time to teach your children what packaging can be separated and put in to recycling before food gets put away. Cardboard wraps around little yogurts are a classic example! You can also show them which food items have too much packaging, and those items that use recycled materials.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Now that you have your recycle bins and the children are merrily filling them up, you also have a ready supply of craft materials! Set your little artists sustainable art challenge!
PICK UP RUBBISH
Encourage your little eco warriors to tackle the garden with a bucket and gloves. Their mission is to find as much rubbish and broken plastic as they can! Then ask them to out anything recyclable into the right bins.
MAKE YOUR OWN SUDS
Kids love mess and making potions, whether it’s in the bath or in the garden. Why not teach them to make homemade detergents for cleaning up the muck from their clothes? A quick google search will reveal a multitude of recipes to try.
REDUCE FOOD WASTE
A common sight in many households is an over-abundance of food on the dinner table. Instead of encouraging your children to eat another helping (you know the line…so it ‘doesn’t go to waste’) why not encourage them to separate left-overs in to containers for the next day’s lunch? Fish finger sandwiches just might be a hit!
SORT THE WASTE
While it’s great to reduce food waste, sometimes it’s just not possible to save leftovers. Teaching little ones that food waste goes in a particular bin for composting will get them thinking about feeding the earth with fertile soil…and might just save you a fine from the council where errant food items make their way into the wrong bin!
PLANT YOUR OWN
Teaching your kids to grow their own organic food helps save on the distance food has to travel to get to you, and gardening is proven to have a positive effect on mental health. So, while your kids are busy getting muddy, growing delicious veggies for your table, you can put your feet up with a cuppa.
Getting your kids away from the TV and personal tablet devices is an uphill battle, but this simple activity goes further in the teaching of sustainability than you’d think. Not only does it encourage an appreciation for being outside, it also instils a sense of sharing, comradery and empathy. Add to that the fact they aren’t using any electricity from coal burning generators and they’re sure to enjoy their contribution all the more.
COLLECT THOSE PRECIOUS DROPS OF RAIN
Challenge the children to put out as many containers as they can find to gather rain water and then get them to use it to water your plants! They’ll love the activity as much as you’ll enjoy the break.
Do you have any sustainable tips for kids? We’d love to hear about it in the comments box below!
Want to read more about sustainable tips for your kids? Read our guide on how to go plastic free in the school lunch box
Thanks for reading!