Earth Day is April 22! That means now is a great time to talk to kids about the importance of helping to save our planet. Luckily, there are so many little things even the youngest kids can do to help, from conserving water and energy to recycling and reusing. Here are 10 ideas:
- Turn off the lights. Remind kids to turn lights off when they leave a room, as well as the TV or radio when they’re finished watching or listening.
- Don’t waste water. Place a measuring cup in the sink while your child is brushing her teeth, then show her how much water she used. Next time, have her turn off the water while she brushes so that she can compare her water usage. That will give her a visual idea of how much water she wastes when she leaves the sink running unnecessarily, which will encourage her to turn the water off in the future!
- Reuse. Pack your child’s sandwiches and other lunch items in reusable plastic containers instead of baggies. Have him carry them in a fun lunch box or bag instead of a paper or plastic bag. Set a good example by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. You can also buy your child a reusable water bottle instead of giving him plastic bottles.
- Recycle. At the end of each meal or activity, discuss with your child which waste items—bottles, cans, magazines, newspapers, pizza boxes, etc—can be recycled. Then have her place them in the appropriate recycling bin.
- Borrow. Get your child a library card! Instead of buying him loads of books he’ll only read a few times, have him borrow them. Then buy him copies of only his favorites. It’ll save money—and trees!
- Refuse. Have your child say “No, thank you” to plastic straws at restaurants, extra napkins at concession stands, plastic bags at shops, etc.
- Get creative. Got a little artist? Use toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, and other waste items for fun art projects! Kids can cut pictures and words out of old magazines to make collages, build houses out of popsicle sticks, and more. The possibilities are endless!
- Have a green thumb. Help your child plant and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your backyard. Look for fun recipes to make with them when they’re ready, and have your child help cook them. He’ll be more likely to eat them—an added bonus!
- Don’t be a litterbug. Teach your child to never throw trash on the floor. Instead, she should hold onto it until she finds the nearest trash can or recycle bin.
- Get out in nature! Take your child to the park and point out various birds and animals. Hike a local trail and teach him about the plants or trees along the way. Go out in your backyard to catch butterflies, ladybugs, or fireflies (before setting them free, of course). The more your child learns about nature, the more he’ll grow to appreciate all living things—and the more he’ll want to help protect them.
Do you have any other ideas on helping kids protect the planet? Share them here!