Featured, Sustainable Living

Ten Tips To Get Kids to Love the Earth

Happy Earth Day everyone!  We celebrate Earth Day just as we would any other holiday.  We have special activities, special food, treats and even little presents.  This is the best way to make kids aware of how special our planet is and how we can make it happier and healthier.

However, we also focus on Earth Day year-round and make sure the kids know how their every action can lead towards a happier Earth.  OUr kids are in elementary school so we try not to be too heavy handed.  We try to make it light and fun.

Here are some things that we do:

1)  Monitoring electricity: This is more than just turning off lights.  We sat down with the kids and talked about our electric bill. We decided that if we can all work together to reduce the amount of the bill-we would split the cost savings between them.  So far, in one month we have got the bill down by $14.  Seven dollars each for just turning off the lights–that is pretty good.

2)  Light patrol: Everyday on our way out the door, someone says, “Light Patrol” and someone else runs through the house checking all of the lights.  That simple reminder is perfect.

3)  Reusing Towels: After each shower, we all hang up our towels in a specail place.  Everyone is expected to reuse that towel for about a weeks worth of showers.  This cuts down on the amount of clothes washed and dried

4) Recycle: We recycle bottles, cans, paper and plastics.  We have been doing this since before the kids were born so they don’t know any different.  They help with the sorting and taking it out to the street.  We talk about what they might do with the materials and point out lots of different things that are made with recycled materials.

5) Compost: On  our counter-top, we have a small bucket for compost.  Each and every day, one of the kids carries the bucket out to the compost pile.  We teach them what kind of things can go into the compost, what shouldn’t go in, and the value of a compost pile.  Just like recycling, they have been doing this for so long–they really don’t know any different.

6) Gardening: We have a small garden at home which gives the kids a chance to see and understand how vegetables and fruit grow.  Every year, I try to plant things that will get them excited-strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers and point out when we are eating food from our garden.

7) Organic Produce and Farmer’s Markets: We try to hit up local Organic Food Supplies (Jessica’s Organic Farm) or the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  I want the kids to realize that the major grocery stores aren’t the only places to find produce.  I also want them to understand that there are still working small scale farms and actually see them in action.

8) Beach Clean-Up Days: At least once a year, we stop by Lido or Indian Beach for an impromptu beach clean-up.  Usually, we do something special afterwards–pizza or ice cream to reward them for the their hard work.

**We also pick up trash when we leave the beach on a regular occasion.  We don’t make a big deal of it but pick it up and throw it away when we see it.  Teaching by example.

9) Being Outside: Too may kids, don’t spend any time outside.  They are shuttled from school to home where they play video games, watch TV, or play on the computer.  We make sure the kids have some outside time everyday.  Even if they just lay on the picnic table and read a book—we want them out there in the fresh air.

10) Making Memories: Whenever we can, we try to make memories rather than buy things.  Usually these memories involve doing family activities outside.  Snowbaording, kayaking, swimming (in the ocean), hiking, camping, fishing.  Making these memories is more important than buying a new toy and will last forever.