The current state of the US economy provides a great “discussion” starter for parents who wish to teach their children conservation skills. The rush of immediate gratification has failed not only our Government, but our cities, communities, neighborhoods, and homes. Teaching our children how to responsibly use resources and materials TODAY, will help ensure a brighter future for tomorrow’s “budding leaders.”
Activities to help teach your children conservation skills:
- As often as possible, leave the car at home and bike with your child or walk to the park or store
- Visit a local organic grower with your children and talk to the farmer. Visit a local farmer’s market and point out all the good food choices with your child. Learn to nurture and grow one food item together as a family.
- Have socks without a match? Throw them into a basket and have kids sort by colors, patterns, type of sock, or practice folding.
- Cover recycled juice boxes with paper and decorate like cameras! Have your kids “take” pictures outside & discuss the earth’s beauty.
- Recycle an old shoe box and make a Kindness Box. Every time your child does something extra special or kind to another, give them a slip and have them stamp or write a K and put in the box. We total ALL kind slips at the end of the month and then choose what we will do together as a family to show kindness and generosity. Visit a nursing home, take a treat to the garbage man, visit someone who needs company, etc.
- Don’t know what to do with your child’s old paintings and art work? Recycle them into something new. We took finger paintings and cut out sunshine pictures for a conflict resolution area in our classroom. Be creative!
- Collect old buttons and save. For children over 3, have them sort into baskets by: color, shape, or sizes. *be careful with young 3’s as they still may put things into their mouth (choking hazard).
- Use old formula or coffee cans…decorate with any collage materials around the house (recycle strips of fabric and paper). Use as toddler TOM-TOMS or have preschoolers use rhythm sticks for “recycled” drums. Play rhythms and have your child try to copy the rhythm(s) you tap out on the drum. Cut X’s or slits in the top of the plastic lid and have children practice putting buttons, coins, or smaller toys into the slit (*do not use with children who still put things into their mouth as small toys pose choking hazards.)
- Recycle bubble wrap and use as a painting tool for the kids. Cut the bubble wrap into squares, clip in a clothespin, and have the kids dip the bubble wrap into washable paint! Bubble paintings!
- Recycle paper towel tubes and have the kids decorate any way they wish. Use outdoors for nature explorations. We used these for BIRD and BUG WATCHING! Great FUN! Use the end of cardboard tubes and dip into paint to make balls, apples, pumpkins, etc.
- Use 10, 2 Liter empty bottles and set up like bowling pins (use small stones at the bottom to help them stand up better.) Put a number on each with a permanent marker. Have your children choose a number from a flash card deck and BOWL for that number.
- Take your kids to a nearby stream or waterway. Help pick up dead sticks, garbage, and other items to clean-up the area. Work together for an hour!
- Visit local second-hand shops or garage sales for toys. Not only do your children get MORE for the money, it will help recycle.
- Check with other families you know that might be able to use your child’s old clothes. Garage sale or buy some back-to-school clothing at second-hand shops.
- Teach your child (or yourself) to plant seeds and grow something!
- Teach your children the joys of WAITING for wanted items instead of immediate gratification.
- Recycle and reuse plastics from grocery store items. We use lunchmeat containers to store small plastic toys that need a home!
- Teach your child basic survival skills: how to use a compass or to find the North Star, which direction the SUN rises and sets, how to read a basic map (even if the map at the mall), what to do if lost in a store or at an event, and how to look through magnifying glasses or binoculars to appreciate the beauty in nature close-up.
- Use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for cleaning. It is inexpensive and works as good, or better, than many chemical cleaners.
- Learn to craft together with items that would otherwise be discarded. Check crafting websites for FREE ideas.
- Teach your child to do laundry or to help in putting clothes away. When parents do ALL of the daily chores, children are less likely to appreciate the process and enjoyment of completing tasks.
- Point out garbage along roadways and in parks. Talk to your child about littering and why it is often illegal.
Teaching our children conservation skills now will allow them to ENJOY today, while also SAVING resources for their future!