Earth Day is coming around again. Though I love the fact that there is a day each year to celebrate the planet we live on, it concerns me that there are people who only pay attention on one day each year. The truth is that every day it becomes more and more important that we start taking better care of our environment. So let’s start now and keep the momentum going.
1. The next time it pours, go out and wash your hair in the rain. Get them in their bathing suits and head outside with the shampoo. Kids LOVE this, and you will save water while getting adorable photos of your kids enjoying the rain.
2. Kids love to play in the bathtub, but those long baths can waste a lot of water. Make taking quick baths or showers fun by setting a timer in the bathroom. This keeps the fun going in a more environmentally friendly way. Just remember to make the timing reasonable enough for them to really get clean! (Here are a few other easy ways to conserve water.)
3. Last weekend we were at a soccer game for my older son. When we turned around, our younger son was walking around the field gathering plastic water bottles and putting them in the recycle bin. Get your kids involved in recycling from an early age. Let them sort and take out the recycling bins. Who knows, maybe this can even start as an Earth Day activity and end up with them doing paper recycling or taking out the recycling bins on a regular basis.
4. Before you recycle the paper, make sure kids use both sides of the paper when they color or do art projects. You can have them make piles of their art work and then turn over the pile so they can start fresh on the other side. You can also let them choose which pieces of their artwork can be put aside to be used as wrapping paper.
5. A lot of schools have paper recycling bins in the parking lot, which have become a revenue source for the school. Once you are done using both sides of your papers, take your recyclables to your kids school so they can help the earth and their school at the same time.
6. During the daytime, open the blinds and have a “lights out” policy around your home. Most homes get enough daylight to not need lights on during the day. We have become accustomed to turning on the lights rather than using the natural resource in the sky. Green living does not making mean major sacrifices, just thinking of those little things you can do to help the earth.
7. Have any dry cleaning? If you have items that must be taken to the cleaner, look for one that does not use harmful chemicals. Many dry cleaners can reuse the wire hangers, especially if you request them. Let your kids collect the hangers and help you return them to the dry cleaners.
8. Have a trash scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or a nearby park. For their safety, just be sure to set some rules about what they can and cannot pick up from the ground. No broken bottles, for instance. Last year we all put on our gardening gloves, each kid grabbed a trash bag and we had a scavenger hunt. It was a little nasty for sure but they laughed the entire time and felt really terrific about themselves afterwards.
9. Plant a tree. Plant a shrub. Plant a flower. Start a vegetable garden. Kids love digging, and they love watching their garden grow, even if that garden is just a couple of flowers. Don’t have a green thumb? Then you can make a donation to have trees planted through the Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org/.
10. Make crafts with the kids by saving and using recycled materials. You can go old school by making sock puppets, milk carton bird feeders and egg carton caterpillars. Whatever materials you have on hand, just do a simple search for creative craft ideas on Pinterest or YouTube. This is a great way to teach your kids about being resourceful and about the concept of reusing materials.
The good news is that not only will these suggestions reduce your environmental impact, they will likely reduce your electric and water bills too.
So tell us. What are the Earth Day activities you do with your children? How does your family celebrate green living?