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10 ways to teach kids about Earth day

April 13, 2010

10 Ways to Teach Kids about Earth Day

Reduce Consumption When Possible

(from Kaboose)

By Diane Peters

Think a child or a family can’t make a difference? Not so. Little things – like using a colorful cloth bag, or tossing potato peels and eggshells into thecompost bin -can help the environment. And if your child develops good habits now, they’ll endure as he grows.

Here are 10 ways you can encourage your kids to go green during Earth Day.

Reduce electricity
Explain to your children that lights, computers, televisions and furnaces use energy, and that energy is in short supply. Jessica Altman of Buffalo, NY, encourages her 3-year-old to always flip off the light when she leaves a room and shut off the TV when she’s no longer watching. Now the toddler even reminds others: “Turn off the light!”

Appliances like DVD players use energy even when off, so cutting the power totally is the only way to conserve. Go shopping together to buy power bars and plug your electronics into them (watch little ones closely so there are no shocks).

Take small steps
There are dozens of small things your kids can do every day to save energy and keep the world cleaner and greener. Your kids can:

  • Shut off the water when they brush their teeth
  • Walk, ride a bike or take the bus instead of traveling by car
  • Take faster showers or baths in just a small amount of water
  • Help hang clothes on the line instead of putting them in the dryer
  • Choose products that are not over packaged

Explain to your kids that every bottle and can they use is waste that just sits in a big pile at the local dump if we don’t recycle. Get them involved by making it their job to sort recyclables and take them out for pickup. (Remind them to watch out for broken glass and ask for help if this happens.) If there’s no recycling collection in your area, find out where you can drop off items.

Consider recycled crafts too.

It’s easy to collect your own food scraps and garden waste and turn it into healthy compost in your own yard. Children can help buy a composter (they’re sold at home reno stores and sometimes through municipalities), and, like Altman’s young daughter, fill it with kitchen scraps and garden waste on a daily basis and even help stir it to get things breaking down. And, in a few months when you’ve got compost, they can take part in spreading it over the garden and seeing how “garbage” can become rich dark dirt to make a garden grow.

Do a donation tour
A great way to get across the message of “reuse” and “recycle” is to take kids on a trip to your local thrift store, recycling center, or church. If your children have old clothing, toys, shoes, or other items in reusable condition, make a family trip down to the donation center so they can see how their trash is someone else’s treasure. Teach kids how items can be reused for different purposes–for example old towels, blankets, and comforters can often be donated to local animal shelters for bedding. These real-life examples will teach kids that many items they would normally throw away can actually have a second life.

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