Wednesday, May 09, 2012

4 Creative Ways Your Kids Can Go Green

Today's guest post gives some great tips on how to recycle, reduce, and reuse. I teach these principles to my children because it is unwise to be wasteful. And also, because going green and frugality often times go hand in hand.

Some people think that going green is only for adults, but children can do plenty to go green too. In fact, teaching children how to go green at a young age will help instill this mentality in them, and they will be more likely to continue these tactics later in life.

Most kids will learn to recycle paper, glass and plastic, and most will learn to turn off lights when they leave rooms as well as waste less water when showering or brushing their teeth. While these are good tactics to teach your child, there are other creative ways that kids can go green.

 1. Turn off everything, not just the lights.
Turning off lights is easy to teach your children because it's obvious when they get left on, but you shouldn't limit the turning off concept to lights only. Teach your kids that there are plenty of things that use energy, including their games and electronics. Kids will leave games plugged in, or they'll let iPods charge or they'll leave TVs on. Teach them that turning these items off is just as important as turning off lights. If you notice your child is struggling to remember, try and make a game out of it. The more fun it is, the more likely they'll be to remember.

2. Don't give your child bottled water.
If your child is thirsty, don't let them reach for a bottled water. Instead, take them to the store and have them pick out their own water bottle. Eliminating plastic bottles from waste is very beneficial to the environment, and water bottles can be reused, so your child is creating less waste. If you're concerned that the water from your tap isn't as good as the purified water in a bottle, invest in a water purifier.

3. Give away old toys and clothes.
Rather than throw unused items into the trash, have your child take their old toys and clothes and donate them to a charity or goodwill store that will give them to people in need. Not only will this eliminate the amount of waste in our landfills, but it also shows your child how to do a good deed at an early age.

4. Start a garden.
Gardens are a great way to teach children about going green. First, you can teach them how to rely on nature to create food instead of always relying on the grocery store. You can show them that walking out to your backyard uses less energy than getting in the car and driving to the store.

You should also set up a rain barrel and teach your child how to reuse rain water. This will teach them to not let water go to waste.

If possible, you should also set up a compost and teach your children that some items don't need to go into the trash. Instead, they can be turned into compost, and the vitamins and minerals from the compost are really good for their garden.

At a young age, children are like sponges. If you teach them how to go green now, they'll remember these tactics and implement them when they're older. Going green is also a great thing that you can do as a family. Educate each other on new tactics you can employ, or make a game out of it. Donating clothes or old toys and starting a garden is also something that you and your child can do together.

Rather than wait until your child is older to teach them about going green, teach them to start now. Every little bit will help the planet.

Luis Figueroa is an Environmental Philosophy major at the University of North Texas who loves to share his passions and interests on blogs. He never writes without the help of a grammar checker as he needs the software to make his work professional, clear, and free of any grammatical mistakes. Grammar rules aren't always easy to remember so he is happy to let a machine do the work.

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