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Fun, Eco-Friendly Learning Projects for Your Kids
Teaching children about the environment is an important part of their education. Since living, and learning, are so interwoven in their lives, taking the time to plan games, activities and learning adventures will impact a child for the rest of their days. A similar program will impact an adult only a few months. There are many ways to help children become eco-friendly.
Remember that they are always watching and emulating their parents and the adults around them. What you do today will be imitated by your children tomorrow. Be aware of the message that you are giving them. By showing them that the environment is important to you and sharing your thoughts with them they grow an appreciation for the things you care about.
1.One of the best ways to build an appreciation for nature is to experience it. Camping is an incredible way to have a nature adventure that will impact your child for a lifetime. If you can't get away try pitching a tent in the back yard. Spending night outside, listening to tree frogs, owls, and other night sounds is a great way to build memories with your kids. Roast marshmallows, sing songs, identify the constellations- whatever you do will be remembered for a long time.
2. Get a book on wild food foraging at the library and spend an afternoon foraging wildfoods with your child. We forget that for thousands of years people survived on the foods that nature provided rather than from packages from the grocer. Be sure that your child knows not to eat anything without your permission and if you are not sure that something is edible don't eat it!
3.Plant a vegetable garden and allow your child to choose some of the vegetables.
4. After a rainy night go early in the morning and see what tracks you can identify in the soft mud. Creeks and ponds are good places to look for tracks.
5. Build a butterfly house, a bird house or a bat house. Better yet, build all three! Attracting birds and bats to your yard will help cut down on pests in natural way.
Indoor Activities for Kids
Sometimes getting outdoors is just not possible. Why not try a fun activity inside?
Turn a cereal box into a magazine holder by cutting the sides on an angle and covering with decorative paper, gift wrap, or comics from the newspaper.
Recycle dryer lint into play clay by mixing 3 c dryer lint, 2 c water, and 1 c flour in a saucepan add 1/8 tsp vegetable oil (or so). Mix over low heat until smooth and it binds together. Use to create sculptures or to make into ornaments using candy molds.Let dry 3-7 days and paint.
Make a drop spindle for spinning from an old cd. Use 2 cd's, a 12 inch dowel and a small metal hook. Push the Cd's carefully onto the dowel, about 4 or 5 inches from the top and screw the metal hook in the end of the dowel. Find instructions on hand spinning on the Internet and use it to spin some wool into yarn
Reading is an important way to interact with children. Read interesting books like, Stellaluna, Owl Moon, Thornton Burgess Animal Stories, and anything by Sam Campbell you can find!
- Make a recycling center at your home
- Learn to make jam or jelly homemade
- Make soap
- Make a solar oven with aluminum foil, a cardboard box, and plastic wrap or a sheet of glass and cook lunch in it on a sunny day
- Use old fabric scraps, torn up clothing etc. and make a crazy quilt to donate to a local children's shelter or hospital.
Encourage Simple Living
Living simply is just not very popular yet it is one of the best ways to impact the environment in a positive way. The less we consume, the less needs ot be manufactured, which means less waste, less fossil fuels, less packaging. Kids are encouraged in many ways to be little consumers. Cartoons are divided by blurbs about the newest toy. The kids at school or in the neighborhood are the first to point out what the cool kids have, and even a walk through a grocers is dangerously full of temptations.
To combat this make sure that your kids understand that other children have needs. Make them a part of giving away outgrown toys and clothes to homeless shelters and your local Salvation Army or city center. Shop at thrift stores yourself, not just to save money but because it helps support a worthy cause. Choose toys on the basis of longevity and interest as opposed to what is hot this Christmas. Again, lead by example. If you are buying the designer stuff be assured your kids will too.
Most of all, help your children to learn to enjoy the world around them. Make energy savings, sustainability, and organic common words around your home. Make the choices you want your children to make, now and in the future.