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How to teach your kids to go green

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

Greening the next generation

Children are never too young to begin to learn about the importance of going green and keeping our planet healthy. Use these fun tips and teach your kids eco-friendly habits that will help keep our Earth a beautiful place for generations to come.

Mom and daugher recycling

Teach your kids about the 3 R's

No, we're not talking about reading, writing and arithmetic (although, obviously that's important too!). We're talking about the new green mantra that everyone should follow: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Your children will love learning about different ways your family can be earth-friendly by following these three simple rules.

1


Reduce

Help your children understand the importance of not producing too much waste by taking them to visit a landfill. They will quickly understand why it is essential that we don't fill up the Earth with trash. Talk about different ways that you can create less waste in your own family.

Install a water filter rather than buying plastic jugs. Take shorter showers. Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth. Walk and bike around town as much as possible, rather than using your car. Grow a family garden and start a compost bin. Teach your children to love the outdoors and appreciate nature. They will be much more inclined to care about the Earth if they are spending time outdoors regularly, rather than cooped up inside playing video games.

2Reuse

Teach your kids the value of reusing household items, rather than buying disposable things. Make it fun! Having a birthday party? How about talking to your kids about how you can make reusable decorations, rather than buying a bunch of paper and plastic products that will just go into the trash afterwards? You can have a lot of fun sewing cloth banners, tablecloths and napkins that can become a tradition to use each year at all your family parties. Concerned about giving away cheap party favors that will just end up broken or in the trash within hours? How about designing your own eco-friendly party favors? Get creative and make your own rainbow crayons by melting old ones in muffin tins or craft your own colorful play dough and give it to guests in cute reusable containers.

Don't throw away those cereal boxes and egg cartons yet! Collect them and use them for a fun family craft. Donate old clothes or upcycle them into other household items. Turn your children's favorite baby blankets into a gorgeous full-size quilt. Not sure what to do with all your kids' artwork? How about using it as wrapping paper for birthday presents? Collect random items around the house like lost buttons, old boxes, broken lampshades, etc. and watch as your children transform them into an intergalactic space station or undercover spy robot. Almost anything can be repurposed into something new with a little resourcefulness and imagination.

3Recycle

Set a good example in your own home by having a recycling program that is easy to use. Have different colored bins for glass, plastic, metal, paper and cardboard. Young children love to help! Give your kids the daily chore of sorting out the items into their appropriate bins and they will begin building good habits that will last a lifetime.

Look for ways to help promote going green in your own community. Does your children's daycare or school throw away an extraordinary amount of paper? How about starting a grassroots recycling program? Get the students involved and make it a project in which everyone can participate. If we all work together, we can keep our planet clean and beautiful for years to come.

More ways to go green with your family

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