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Fun, Eco-Friendly Learning Projects for Your Kids

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

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.

Source

Outdoor Activities

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.

Let your kids be outside in all kinds of weather!
Let your kids be outside in all kinds of weather!

Indoor Activities for Kids

Sometimes getting outdoors is just not possible. Why not try a fun activity inside?

Recycle

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

Read

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!

Create

  • 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.

Children can learn to respect all living things
Children can learn to respect all living things

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.

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    • TeachableMoments profile image

      TeachableMoments 5 years ago from California

      Voted up, beautiful, useful and interesting. My daughter and I often bring toys and clothes to local shelters. It is so important to teach young minds what it means to be a community and how to give back to this beautiful planet we live on. Thank you for such an inspiring hub.

    • Gregorious profile image

      Gregorious 5 years ago

      Children are our future, but only if we help lead the way. Great hub!

    • Deb_in_CT profile image

      Deb_in_CT 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Great Hub! I've never heard about the dryer lint clay before...will have to look into that idea. :)

    • profile image

      jojojubejubek 6 years ago

      Thanks so much.

      I think that kids should be outside way more. My son goes to a school that is close to the woods and his teacher lets them go into the forest in pairs of twos and threes. He has learned much more than any other year.

    • cathstuff79 profile image

      cathstuff79 6 years ago from QLD, Australia

      I especially like your ideas about simple living.

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Great ideas, the joy of nature and conservation of it seems to be lost in this ever growing world.

    • profile image

      vamsi 6 years ago

      awesome

    • almirah profile image

      almirah 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Great eco friendly resources for kids and their parents.

    • profile image

      ketaki saokar 6 years ago

      relly very helpful

    • profile image

      hannah 7 years ago

      hi my name is hannah and i think that we should keep our house eco friendly

      from hannah

    • lilfaerie profile image

      lilfaerie 7 years ago from Hemet, CA

      I love these simple ideas. Kids get too caught up in technology to appreciate the world. Thanks for this Hub!

    • profile image

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago

      These are such good ideas, Marye. Interesting and different. Twittered.

    • profile image

      tiki 7 years ago

      wow hahahah

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading..

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great hub!!! Love it..

    • SidneyMorgan profile image

      SidneyMorgan 7 years ago from Australia

      Great ideas! I love being outdoors with my kids and will try some of these ideas with them. Thanks for the great hub!

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Great hub. Playing outside can provide endless hours of fun, even with minimal or basic toys.

    • Leenie Pooh profile image

      Leenie Pooh 7 years ago

      Love, love, love the dryer lint into clay recipe! I thought I was being smart by using oatmeal to make clay, but dryer lint definitely takes the prize.

      We have a fun activity which uses up candle stubs that the kids really love. Use a white candle stub to draw a picture or message on white paper. Give it to someone else who then uses watercolor paint and a wide brush to paint the paper and discover the secret picture or message.

    • Creaminizer23 profile image

      Creaminizer23 7 years ago from New York, Usa

      Hey, your children must be eco-friendly and you taught them that. I am glad to inform you that your hub is included in my list of the most child friendly hubs across the hubpages.

    • profile image

      ganes 7 years ago

      Didn't get very far

    • profile image

      The BEDBUG Blog 8 years ago

      Any child would be the richer for these good ideas, Marye. Good tips and insights as per usual. Sometimes, simple is best and makes the best memories.

    • OTmommy profile image

      OTmommy 8 years ago from Southern USA

      Good ideas, I would like to start a butterfly house and vegetable garden with my kids.

    • profile image

      gogool 8 years ago

      that's cool

    • ThePartyAnimal profile image

      ThePartyAnimal 8 years ago

      Great ideas - who knew I could use my dryer lint for clay - now that is a great one - I have a lot of lint!!!

    • esllr profile image

      esllr 8 years ago

      Great inexpensive fun ideas, we really need to reconnect with our children, starting while they are young is the answer. Let's not let the cable and internet keep them from enjoying their world and family,the real world.

      Kudos!

    • profile image

      iMindMap 8 years ago

      The world needs eco kids. Our next generation for the survival of planet earth.

    • sciencewithme profile image

      sciencewithme 8 years ago

      I think too many of our public schools keep kids inside too much. How you can you appreciate the world you live in if you do not get out in it.

    • profile image

      sweet 9 years ago

      sweet

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Awesome ideas, I wish every parent does that, no wonder your kids are happy bunch. Cheers :)

    • Lela Davidson profile image

      Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

      Great ideas! Thanks.