There are many reasons why we should encourage our kids to take part in eco-friendly activities to help the environment.
Our disposable culture sees us thrown huge amounts of stuff out, as the climate changes, we experience more droughts and need to be more careful with our water use, and we are all becoming more aware of the struggles for pollinators and the consequences of that. With all this and more in mind, there are small steps we can take with our children to help protect the environment.
Here are six easy activities that are eco-friendly and can be fun too!
Eco-friendly activities that help reuse items
1. Create a ‘reuse bin’
You may already have separate bins for rubbish and recycling, but lots of our recycling can be reused before we get rid of it. Why not start a reuse bin? This can be a place to put clean recycled materials that can be used again for things like arts and crafts.
2. Become a water collector
In some parts of the world, fresh water is considered a luxury and a precious resource. To help us conserve water, encourage kids to collect rainwater in old containers and use it to water the garden or house plants.
3. Go on a rubbish ramble
Grab a pair of gloves and a bucket, and go on a rubbish ramble. When litter ends up in our natural ecosystems it can be harmful to wildlife and can take hundreds of years to break down. We can do our bit by helping clean up our local environment when we’re out and about.
4. Open your own bee café
Bees will travel up to two miles in search of flowers loaded with nectar and pollen for food. Over the years, we’ve destroyed a lot of our native wildflower habitats and this makes searching for food pretty exhausting for our pollinator buddies. We can help them out by planting a bee café to help them refuel. A bee cafe is a one-pot stop for our pollinator friends no matter where you live.
Wildflowers bees enjoy include cornflowers, viper’s bugloss, poppies and dandelion. Plant them in window boxes or gardens to provide bee refreshment.
5. Craft your own recycled paper
You’ll need: old paper, a bowl, water, tea towel and a rolling pin.
How to do it: Get some used paper and tear it into tiny pieces, and then mix the pieces of paper with some water in a bowl, and squish it all together until it’s really mushy. Squeeze the mushy mixture into balls of pulp, and place each pulp ball on a flat surface and put a tea towel over the top, before using a rolling pin to flatten it and squeeze out the excess water. Leave the pulp to dry and you’ve made your own paper!
6. Construct a compost bin
Composting at home is great because it reduces the amount of food waste we send to landfills, which create huge amounts of greenhouse gas. You don’t need to have a garden to start composting either, you can make a mini-compost bin in something as small as a plastic bottle.
You’ll need: an old plastic bottle, scissors, a pin, tray, brown/green waste, a spray water bottle and kitchen towel.
How to do it: Wash an old plastic bottle and peel off any labels, then ask a grown-up to help you cut the top off the bottle and use a pin to poke some holes in the bottom for drainage. Place the bottle on a plastic tray and add a layer of brown waste – like shredded paper, torn-up egg cartons and crunchy old leaves. Spray the brown layer with water till it’s damp, but not too soggy, and then add a layer of green waste – like vegetables, food scraps and grass cuttings. Place the tray and composter somewhere warm like a sunny windowsill, and give it a stir every day and add a little more water to help micro-organisms break the contents down into compost.
Lay a sheet of kitchen towel over the top to keep it damp, and continue to add layers of brown and green waste, but remember it will take time for everything to decompose. When the layers have transformed into compost, you can add it to the soil around plants to give them a healthy snack packed with nutrients.