Earth Day is a fun holiday to teach your kids about being more eco-conscious, but every day can be a great opportunity to green your kids. Here are 10 of our favorite tips to raise an eco-friendly family.
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Conserve water with your kids
Saving water at home is another easy way your kids can be more eco-friendly. You can even make saving water a "family mission." Tell the kids their roles are to not let faucets run when brushing teeth and to take shorter showers, while your role is to only run the dishwasher and clothes washers when full. Making it a family affair – or game – will keep the little ones interested in being green.
Children are innately self-centered, but you can help them become more concerned for the earth – start with wildlife or the local animal shelter since kids have an affinity for animals – and help them develop eco-conscious values. Whether it's volunteering their time or donating their blankets to the local cat rescue, the more your kids get involved with eco-friendly causes, the more likely they will become committed to being green.
Plan family vacations that help your children learn about the earth
Kid-friendly vacations are often the most focused on nature. Given the choice, your kids would likely rather visit national parks and beaches, take camping trips, and bike across country than visit another art museum. Immersing your family in the great outdoors is the perfect opportunity to connect your kids to nature that isn't in your own backyard. It gives them a bigger picture – and appreciation – of the many natural wonders planet Earth has to offer.
Incorporate outdoor activities into your family's daily routine, even if it's just to explore your front yard or the local park for insects, animals and plants or to find nests and bird-watch. Reinforce your children's outdoor experience by having them write nature stories or keep a nature journal. If the weather is too unpleasant to go outside, tune in to National Geographic or check out the eco-friendly movies and books at your local library.
Bring nature indoors by doing crafts that include earth elements. For example, collect sea shells, rocks, bird feathers, and driftwood on a beach walk, then let your kids fill a clear vase with their coastal treasures. You can also help them glue baby pinecones to a plain picture frame. Earthy décor in your home can be a beautiful daily reminder to your family of the beauty and value of nature.
How to make compost
This how-to video by the nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International shows you step-by-step instructions for successful organic composting.