Environmental devastation is no laughing matter. The threats go far beyond a question of “being warm” or merely uncomfortable. And homes are more than the walls and roofs that make up their physical space. They’re supposed to be a family’s safe harbor, a secure and safe place for those who reside within those walls and under that roof.
Fortunately, with some awareness and education, you can also turn your home into an eco-friendly classroom and help preserve the earth’s environment while helping your children stay engaged and entertained.
Make Your Own Playdough
Did you know some brands of playdough include borax? They can also have other ingredients, some of which you might prefer to keep away from small hands—and mouths. With just a few simple common household ingredients, you can avoid all that and help your children’s creativity blossom. You can find various recipes on the web, but most include some mix of flour, salt, water, oil, and cream of tartar. Add some vibrancy and color with natural dyes.
Create a Home Composting Center
With all the food waste we produce annually, anything that can help put that organic matter to use is a worthwhile endeavor. Enlist your kids to help create your composting center and then put them in charge of monitoring its use. They’ll get very enthusiastic about how to reuse stuff they’d previously just thrown away and learn the value of composting. As an added benefit, the compost will help your garden!
Plant a Garden
Between the soaring price of groceries and the inherent costs involved in maintaining that supply chain, there are some powerfully good reasons to start growing your food and herbs. Kids are the perfect helpers for a bit of food or seasoning garden since it’s pretty repetitive work whether you’re planting, tending, or harvesting. With some guidance and training, they can help out in the garden quite a bit. And wait until you make the first dish using the harvested goodies from their garden! You might finally convince even picky eaters to eat their vegetables.
Put On an Art Show (With Recycled or Reused Materials)
Remember the three “R”s? We tend to talk a lot about reducing our use of resources and about how to recycle them once we’ve used them. That third “R” stands for “reuse,” and that’s what we’re recommending here! So many things around your home that you might well toss in the garbage with barely a second thought can be reused as raw materials for fun art projects. For example, here are just a few suggestions. Search the web for these or other projects to get started:
- Have them repurpose old clothing, papers, and art projects creatively.
- Smash up old CDs and create colorful mosaics.
- Use old artwork and school papers to make creative and colorful origami.
- Refashion old clothing into new items – jeans into skirts, for example, or an old dress into a new purse.
- Turn old socks into puppets.
- Transform empty toilet paper rolls into dolls, mobiles, or anything else with some string and eco-friendly, child-safe paint.
Challenge your kids to think of old things in new ways and develop as many ideas as possible. They’ll get a kick out of turning something old into something fun and unique.
Play Environmental Detective
For older children, playing detective to discover how you and your family can reduce your impact on the environment is a great way to tickle their brains and help them understand how human behavior impacts our natural surroundings.
For example, you can task them with calculating your home’s carbon footprint or ask them to identify places in your home that are using unnecessary energy, or that could be made more environmentally friendly with some changes. They can also try to guess how much trash your family creates a month; don’t forget to ask them to pinpoint ways everyone can help lighten that load.
It’s Easy Being Green!
With some guidance and planning, your children can become environmental rock stars, and you’ll have a safer, greener home. As a bonus, home buyers may find an eco-friendly home especially attractive these days, whether listing your home for sale the traditional way through a real estate agent or seeking house-buying companies on your own.
Your kids probably won’t take to every activity on this or any other list. That’s OK. The important thing is to keep trying until you find an activity you all enjoy and to keep trying to do a little more to help the environment every day.