This is a guest post by Olivia Maloy of `Trying To Conceive`.
Parents are their children’s first, and most important teachers — and that is certainly true when it comes to environmental awareness. A greener earth starts with children who grow up knowing that their actions impact the future. And how can we get this message across better than through hands-on environmental activist activities? Here are five ideas small kids can participate in.
Clean your neighborhood
No neighborhood is free from discarded items that shouldn’t be there. Organizing a neighborhood cleaning day may be daunting, but it could promote environmental awareness while also bringing neighbors closer together. This is something you can organize yourself, with others who live in your street. Children can go door-to-door to ask others to participate in a big clean-up day (with your guidance), and ask neighbors to bring the tools needed to clean up. But schools can also get involved, making the activity even more effective. A speaker from a green organization can explain the risks bottles or plastic bags pose to birds and other animals before the kids go on their mission, for instance.
Walk to school week
Cutting down on the use of cars is one of the best things anyone can do to reduce that carbon footprint. Walk (or cycle) to school week raises awareness about this. School children can start this initiative by proposing it to their teachers, who can encourage their students to walk or cycle to school for the whole week. Those who live further away can still make their mark by carpooling. This initiative obviously depends on the support and participation of parents. There is no doubt that a student’s proposal to let the car rest for a while will make them think, too.
A green birthday party
If your child is passionate about a greener earth, and has a birthday coming up, an ecological birthday party is a fantastic way to show her friends she cares. Kids’ birthdays have turned into very wasteful events. A green birthday party can avoid disposable plates and plastic party favors. You could give vegetable seeds as party favors, play games that use natural items like sticks and stones, or visit a nature reserve or national park. Children who are really passionate about ecology can ask their friends to donate money to green charities instead of receiving birthday gifts.
Sit down as a family and discuss ways in which you can personally reduce the negative impact you have on the environment, and boost the positive. This could include starting a compost heap, trying to keep your clothes clean so they can be worn for several days, and buying groceries with less packaging. This is an educational activity all in itself, but it can easily be turned into activism by blogging about the changes you are making, or writing a letter to your local newspaper about it. Vegetarian children could also blog about being meat-free (with recipes!), those who live on farms can write about gardening, and urban families could tackle recycling… just to name a few ideas.
Get involved with an ecological campaign group
Organizations such as Green Peace as very open to children. Depending on your location, it may be possible to visit one of their boats or have a speaker come to your kids’ school, church, or social group. Hearing what adult environmental activities do to fight climate change, the extinction of species, and many other things, can really inspire children to get involved, too.
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