Living “green” isn’t always easy, and can feel even more challenging when you have kids. However, it doesn’t have to be! According to a February 2017 study, kids who play outside regularly are more likely to cherish and protect nature when they become young adults. This is why it is important to teach your children how and why to protect the environment starting at a young age. If you’re lucky, their good habits will rub off on their peers! Here are four simple eco-friendly lifestyle activities to incorporate into your family’s routine.
Plant a Garden
Being able to eat food that was grown on your property is becoming a bit of a rarity. Learning how plants grow can be truly magical for you and your little ones! Show your kids the basics of gardening, and how to grow plants without using chemical sprays to get rid of bugs and weeds. A great place to start is to read about which fruits and vegetables are in-season in your area. Based on what you learn, have your kids pick out which seeds or plants to grow at your local gardening store.
In a world where virtually any food item is readily available at a grocery store, this will help your kids form healthy eating habits and learn about maintaining sustainable lifestyle choices. Don’t worry if you don’t have the outdoor space for a garden, whether it’s in the ground or a raised bed. Community gardens are a great place to start growing your food while connecting with your neighbors! You should be able to find one that’s close to your home.
Along with planting a garden, start a compost pile. Composting is the last component in the planting and growth stages, bringing together the full lifecycle. There are many ways to create a compost pile. You can get as elaborate or keep it simple. Whether it is easier for you to compost inside or outdoors, there’s a way to do it. You can then use your compost soil to help your new garden grow. Think about how much fun your kids will have getting their hands dirty between the time they spend gardening and composting–they will thank you for it!
If you don’t already have a recycling system in your home, now is the time to start. Explain why cardboard and plastic bottles (among other items) should be placed into the recycling bin instead of the trash can. Find a well written book or article that talks about the negative impacts you have on the environment when you choose not to recycle. Create a fun game that teaches your kids how you can live a zero waste lifestyle. Ideas include remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store and deciding not to buy plastic water bottles. There are many reusable water bottle options, such as HYDAWAY Bottles that come in many different colors. Find one that matches your kids’ personalities.
Take Your Kids Out in Nature
The best way to get your kids excited about caring for the earth is to take them out into nature. Even though schedules tend to be busier during the week, make time to go on a walk before or after dinner. Additionally, make it a requirement for your kids to play outside everyday for at least thirty minutes. You’ll find that your kids’ style of play will be more creative and imaginative when they interact with their surroundings. On the weekends and during vacation time (weather permitting), take your kids on a camping trip or on local hikes to look for local animal and plant species. Teach your kids about the many fascinating features that make up our planet, so they know why it’s important to protect.
Provide your kids with the knowledge and tips they need to become advocates for protecting the environment. If the thought of adding these habits into your life is a little overwhelming, don’t panic! Start with one small change and go from there. Remember, little steps make a big difference.