‘The environment’ is a real hot topic at the moment and, in fact, has been for a number of years. The current trend is the war on plastic, with calls for bans and limitations on the use of single-use plastic products such as plastic drinking straws and cups. We see heart-breaking photos of plastic washed up on once-beautiful beaches, or killing wildlife, and it does tug at our conscience.
So, what can we do about it? Lots, actually. If you do a ‘Google’ search, you’ll find countless articles on reducing waste. But, I think we need to also educate, and, who better to start with than children?
Children have an amazing capacity for being passionate about a project, especially if it involves nature and wildlife. If we can educate them now about the harm that plastic is causing to our environment, they’re much more likely to carry that knowledge through to adulthood and, just maybe the world will be a much cleaner place by the time our kids have kids of their own. Here are some easy ways kids can help the environment.
9 easy ways kids can help the environment
1. Get on your bike! One of the easiest things most kids can do is to walk, cycle or scoot to school. Even if we ditched the car for just one school run each week, it would have an impact on the pollution in the environment. And, there’s the added bonus of extra exercise for everyone!
2. Recycle – we’ve all been doing it so long it should be second nature, but how often do you still chuck that cardboard packet or tin can in the bin? Why not make it into a game for the younger ones to sort out the recycling each week? Bung everything recyclableble (I can’t never say it, let alone spell it!) into a bag or box (as long as there’s no sharp edges) and let them sort it out into the right bins. Get them into the habit at a young age and it really will come naturally to them.
3. Compost – And, while you’re there with the recycling, why not teach them about composting too? As well as being environmentally friendly, composting is educashunal, don’t you know? Teach the kids about how their food waste turns into beautiful rich compost (google it, if you don’t know!) and then make some of your own and use it to grow your own veg! Which brings me on to…
4. Grow your own veg! – Ha, didn’t see that one coming, did you?! Growing your own fruit and veg is a brilliant activity for kids. Again, it’s highly educational – children can learn about how plants grow, how they pollinate and all that stuff, but while you’re growing your own spuds, tomatoes and strawberries, you’re not buying it packaged in pesky plastic at the supermarket. Nor are you using your smelly car to drive there. Brilliant!
5. Use packaging for craft activities – of course, going completely zero waste is a huge challenge, so it’s fairly inevitable that we will be left with packaging from products we buy in the shops. Instead of recycling it straight away, why not use it for junk modelling and craft activities with the kids? Then bung it in the recycling when they’re not looking a week later…!
6. Join the library – another way to be environmentally friendly is to borrow books instead of buying them. Make a library trip part of your weekly routine – just remember to walk there if you can instead of taking the car and undoing all your hard work!
7. Number one? Leave it alone! – This one happens in our house because kids are kids, but when they go to the loo, do they absolutely have to flush every time? If it’s just a wee, save water by leaving it until the next time. Maybe don’t leave poo sitting there though…
8. Turn the lights off! – Anyone else’s kids seem to light up the house like Blackpool illuminations every time they go upstairs? I’m forever turning off the landing light, the bathroom light, the bedroom lights… If we can encourage our kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room, we’ll save electricity which is, in turn, fab for the environment.
9. Unplug chargers – I’m as guilty of this as the kids, so I’ll be taking my own advice. Leaving your chargers plugged in while they’re not actually charging anything is an awful waste of electricity. When they take their phone/tablet off charge, make sure they switch it off or, better still, unplug it completely.
So, how many of these easy ways kids can help the environment do you think your children can manage? Why not aim for all nine in the next couple of weeks and build them into your routines? Do you have any more ways to be environmentally friendly? Let me know in the comments!
Kelly is a mother of two – her son H and daughter Tink. H is home educated, Tink is autistic. Kelly is a self-employed Virtual Assistant… Life is busy!