Be a Friend to the Environment (Indoors)!
Kids love to learn. And they love to be outside and play, ride their bikes and spend time with mom and dad. So why not combine all these activities into one and teach your child to love Planet Earth at the same time? Setting kids on a path toward reducing, reusing and recycling is not only being a great, responsible parent, but also setting up your child to be a respectful, environmentally-aware adult. Now who can’t be proud of that?
Some things a kid can do start right in the home. Children don’t even have to set foot outside their doorstep to make a difference. Here are some great ideas to start saving the Earth indoors:
As The EarthWorks Group suggests in 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, you can have your child become a “water leak detective.” Make it a game. Together with the child, inspect for leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms and washroom. The EarthWorks Group says, “hidden water leaks in our homes waste millions of gallons of precious water every year.” Send your kid on a mission to find the leaks!
Explain to your child how heat and air conditioning escape through any openings in doors and windows. When you let hot or cool air out of your house, you are wasting an enormous amount of energy. Have your child check for any air gaps around windows or doors. Shop together to find filler materials and fill the gaps together. This is a great way for a child to complete a project from start to finish and spend quality time with you!
As Al Gore says in An Inconvenient Truth, all it takes is shutting off one light switch to make a difference. Keeping lights on wastes energy as does keeping on appliances when not in use. Make this a fun challenge for your child. See how many unnecessary lights he or she can turn off in a day. Then the next day. The number should keep decreasing as the child remembers to switch off lights when he or she leaves the room. If the child accomplishes the goal, have a small eco-friendly prize ready. Perhaps a small tree to plant or a small indoor plant to take care of?
Help Save the Earth (Outdoors)!
The activities a kid can do outdoors is unlimited. There are so many fun, exciting ways to help the environment while getting fresh air and playing with mom and dad. Here are some outdoor activities for eco-minded kids and parents:
You can start by planting trees and flowers. Explain to kids about the greenhouse effect. When you plant trees, you give the Earth the good gases it needs to stay the right temperature. Make a day of it. Go to a nursery and pick out trees, bulbs and seeds together. Purchase fun-colored flowers and different types of trees. And then plant together.
Encourage bike riding. Bike riding is a great way to get around. Go on a bike ride with your child and explain how biking helps the environment by minimizing harmful emissions from cars. Besides being green, biking will also help you both stay in great shape! (Remember to wear helmets!)
As The EarthWorks Group suggests, “adopt a stream.” Or river, lake, beach or even a small pond in a park. You and your child can be gatekeepers of the water and make sure to pick up any garbage on shore. Bring bags and wear gloves and make it at least a monthly activity to show the child consistency and the importance of clean water and land. Even if you just clean just a small section, it will make a huge impact on kids.
Sign up your child for Earth Day volunteering. Every April 22nd the entire world celebrates Earth Day, so should you! Join in on Global Days of Service - only two days out the whole year to save the Earth. Make it a fun holiday. The US Environmental Protection Agency has an Earth Day “Take-Home Kit” for both parents and children to do fun activities to celebrate the holiday.
Use these tips to make eco-friendly practices fun, cool and exciting. And you can teach your child that protecting Mother Earth is important every day!
The EarthWorks Group. 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Environment, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1990.
US Environmental Protection Agency – epa.gov
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