How To Get Your Kids Involved In Green Living
It’s tough to be a parent these days. Not only do you have to contend with your progeny growing up in a world dominated by technology, but also with an ever-growing risk of environmental factors permanently affecting the quality of your family’s life. Thankfully, however, there are options available to the environmentally conscious in helping them reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, these activities can and should include your children, as it affords you the chance to teach them about the importance of caring for their environment and the ways that they can go about doing their part for the greater good. Here are a few helpful hints to get you and your family started on this green journey.
In the throwaway society we have today it can be easier to dispose of unwanted items rather than recycle them. Most local authorities now have strict rules when it comes to what we can throw in our trash can, but there is more to recycling than just separating items ready for collection. Help your children to understand the environmental and economic benefits of using unwanted goods to make new products. Encourage your children to recycle their paper. Cleanipedia.com offers instructions for making fresh paper out of recycled paper (see below). This activity can be done at home on a rainy day instead of getting the crayons out. It is not only fun to make paper at home, but they can also use the paper to draw on it when it is ready. This should give them a tremendous sense of achievement. Most of the items you purchase for this activity will be either suitable for recycling or can be repurposed for other uses, teaching your children how to save products from ending up on dirty landfill sites.
How To Recycle Used Paper Into Fresh Paper
Courtesy of Cleanipedia.com
This might seem quite labour intensive, but it’s a great activity for those with crafty fingers or anyone wondering how to recycle paper at home for kids. After all, it’s educational and messy, with the process you’ll follow mimicking how paper is recycled at waste sorting plants.
For this recycling activity you’ll need:
- An old picture frame (with glass removed
- Mesh (big enough to cover the picture frame)
- A washing-up bowl (large enough to fit your picture frame in)
- A sponge
- An old towel
To begin recycling paper into new sheets that can be used again, follow this process:
- Tape the mesh to your old picture frame to create a screen
- Shred the old paper you want to recycle and blend it with warm water in a bowl
- Once you have a smooth pulp, submerge the picture frame into the mixture
- Pull the frame back out and rest it on an old towel. The mesh should be full of the paper pulp from your washing-up bowl
- Add any decorations, such as dried flowers, or scraps of coloured paper that you like and cover with a little more pulp from your bowl
- Press the sponge across the frame to squeeze excess water from the pulp
- Leave the frame to dry for at least a day, and then peel off your new sheet of paper
Grow Your Own
Not every home has a garden where you can have a vegetable plot, but regardless of where you live, you can grow a few essential everyday foods. You can start a budget-friendly organic garden, a wonderfully inclusive and fun outdoor activity that can educate your children about the benefits of growing your own food with delicious results as a reward. If you live in an apartment you may want to start with growing a few herbs in a window box, as these are easy to take care of and will give you endless herbs for your everyday cooking. If you are fortunate and have space in the garden, you can go to town and start growing many of the vegetables that you use daily in the kitchen, grow salad ingredients throughout the summer and root vegetables which can last through winter when stored correctly.
Much of the water we use around the home is not from rainwater in lakes and reservoirs, but from underground and these resources are being depleted. Teaching your children how to save and collect water makes perfect financial sense, and will, crucially, also play a role in helping the environment. There are many devices available to monitor and lessen how much water we use in the house, and you should also show your children a few simple tricks to reduce water consumption. Some of the techniques include turning off taps when brushing teeth, taking showers instead of baths and washing dishes by hand instead of the dishwasher if it’s only a few and not a full load. Also, show them how to catch water using recuperators attached to drainpipes. This can be used to water your organic garden and lawns. Where possible use a water meter so they can see how much they are using and you can set targets of what they should be using. This can be a fun and educational process to help them understand the amount that does get wasted every day.
Reduce Energy Usage
Electricity and gas prices continue to rise and make up a large part of the family’s utility bills. Encouraging your children to switch off electrical devices that are not in use can dramatically reduce your usage. Ask one of your children to be the monitor that goes around every evening and switches off any unused devices. Explain why you choose to use energy efficient lightbulbs and have the thermostat set to a comfortable but not excessive temperature. Simple ways to reduce your power usage, such as not leaving a refrigerator door open, are easy to learn and will naturally reduce your utility bills whilst helping to reduce your family’s carbon footprint.
There is much to be done when it comes to preserving the well-being of this big, blue, intergalactic marble we call home. While our grandparents and their parents before them might have been less concerned (and less knowledgeable) about all the harmful effects of our industrial progress, today’s generations simply can’t ignore the potential problems we face as a society. Teaching our youngest to be mindful of the environment is our duty and responsibility, further ensuring that one day, future generations will be passing that same green outlook onto their own kids.
Bethany Seton is a recent economics graduate from Melbourne. Before settling in an office, she decided to follow her passion for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.