Earth Day (Friday, April 22, 2016) is a great opportunity to teach children some fun activities that support a sustainable Earth. In this feature, Beanstalk shop owner Carmen Ripley Wilson explains six ways we can show kids how to respect the Earth every day.
1. Work together on a ‘recycled’ art project. Use objects found around the house or outdoors for an arts and crafts activity. Turn saved wine corks into a kid’s corkboard. Or build a castle from boxes of all shapes and sizes, using toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes and tea boxes that can be primed and painted. Give it a coat of arms by super-gluing nature finds (wood chips, pine cones, moss, etc.) to the outside. Gather a few books from the library on castles for ideas and inspiration.
2. Enjoy a car-free day. Spend the day on foot, bike or public transit. Take the MAX to the Zoo or Washington Park. Bike to the grocery store. Have the kids help figure out which mode to take and where to go. Talk about the benefits not only for the Earth, but for our health as well. Maybe incorporate a once-a-week or once-a-month car-free day.
3. Eat local. Visit a neighborhood farmers’ market to show kids how purchasing your fruits and veggies from local farmers will cut down on the energy it takes to transport food from afar. Start a family garden or join a communal garden. Visit your neighborhood garden store to let your kiddos pick out the veggies they want to grow and eat. Plants that grow easily are peas, radishes, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers… all things kids can easily enjoy planting, weeding, harvesting and eating. Plant a blueberry or huckleberry bush in your yard, which are pretty and edible.
4. Resale. Teach your kids how to consign their gently used toys and books. Ask them to select items they’ve outgrown. You’ll see that kids enjoy giving up their old things, especially if it means they can trade up! Bring them to Beanstalk, where they’ll enjoy learning the value of earning money for their items, which can then be reused on a new-to-them purchase. This process also supports life-long lessons of mathematics and money management. Our consignment kids LOVE it!
5. Composting. Show your kids how to compost kitchen scraps and yard waste. Teach them that by reducing the trash we send to the landfill, we’re decreasing the methane gases that are released into the atmosphere, making our Earth healthier and safer. Composting also creates nutrient-rich soil for growing a home garden. This site shows how to make composting easy and fun for the whole family.
6. Reusable bags. Ask your kids how you might use reusable bags in your everyday life – they’ll have lots of ideas. Keep one in your purse, backpack or diaper bag. Keep a bag of bags in the car so that you’ll always have one handy when you’re out and about – at the grocery store, farmers market, library, consignment shop and more.