Home is where the ‘hearth’ is
Global temperatures are on the rise and when it comes to raising nature-loving children, the home is always the best place to start. The first and most important step in cultivating ‘greener’ habits at home is to practise what you preach. Luckily you don’t have to be an experienced ‘greenie’ to this. Yes, being kind on nature can be as simple as being mindful of the products that you buy and showing your children how to appreciate the natural world around them.
Replacing existing habits with healthier ones require time and patience so here are a few simple family activities to get you started during the holidays. And if going green seems like a daunting task, you’ll be happy to know that these activities are kind on nature and kind on parents.
#1 De-clutter and donate: The winter holidays are the perfect time to de-clutter and reorganise clothing cupboards so why not involve the whole family? Create a pile of unwanted clothing items and donate it to some local charities. Certain clothing items can take hundreds of years to biodegrade and by donating them you are teaching your children how to give back to the planet and to those who are less fortunate.
#2 Upcycle and get crafting: During the winter months, children spend more time indoors. Crafting with upcycled items is a fun and creative activity that teaches your children about sustainability. If you are not already in the habit of recycling, simply add additional bins to your refuse area and label them accordingly.
Here are three easy upcycle crafting ideas:
1) Egg containers. Empty egg containers can be used as disposable painting pallets in water-restricted areas. By using them as pallets you are saving water and giving them an additional purpose before they go in the recycle bin.
2) Toilet and paper towel rolls. Toilet rolls are great items to use for making home-made rain sticks. Simply cover the bottom, insert some dry rice, cover the top and paint fun patterns on it.
3) Bottle-tops. These can be used as fantasy food items and/or in craft projects. Why not use them to make a necklace or combine it with a toilet roll to make a motorcar?
#4 Get outdoors: The simple activity of being outside have both physical and emotional benefits for your children so make the most of those sunny winter days. By interacting with the outside world your children are getting a first-hand experience of what it is that they are protecting. Make your children aware of their natural surroundings by pointing out bird nests or give them a looking glass through which they can observe bugs.
#5 Grow a herb garden: Growing a small herb garden will give your child a sense of ownership and responsibility while teaching them about food production and the natural resources that it requires. Herbs are often packaged in plastic containers and growing your own herb garden will save you money while saving the planet.
6# Eat more greens: One way of being kind to the earth is by getting your kids to eat healthier foods. Here is a great article to get you started!
7# Collect shells and plastic: If you are spending some time near a beach this holiday a simple beach stroll can be a great opportunity to have fun as a family while collecting plastic and shells.
8# Visit educational centres: If you want to get out of the house this holiday try visiting some local environmental centres, or parks. Plan a family trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium, Monkey World or Reptile Park. These centres often have interactive exhibitions on display, providing a fun opportunity for children to learn about the environment.
9# Plant a tree: Tree planting will never go out of fashion and it is a great way to teach your children how to leave a ‘greener’ legacy for future generations.
10# Empower and encourage: When it comes to discussing climate change with your children, it’s best to introduce the topic in a way that is positive, solution-driven and age-appropriate. Children need to feel empowered in the area of environmental protection and it is important that they believe that they’re efforts can make a difference.
One small step – one giant leap!
The simplest way to introduce new habits is to start small and it’s best to avoid those lofty ideals of transforming your home into an eco-friendly oasis overnight. If every family were to make a few ‘greener’ lifestyle changes, we will be one step closer to helping our planet.