If there is a silver lining to Australia’s horrific bushfire season, it’s that it’s prompted people to think about their own environmental impact.
As mums, we all want to leave the world in the best condition we can for our children, their children, and their children’s children.
To do that, not only do we need to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle but we have to raise our kids to do the same.
The ideas below will help you teach your kids about the importance of looking after the Earth, and create truckloads of fun, not waste.
- Clean up Australia Day is on the 1st of March. Grab your kids, a garbage bag (preferably compostable or one that would otherwise be headed to landfill) and pick up rubbish wherever you plan to go that day- be it a beach, a playground or a walk around your block. Use the day as an opportunity to talk to your children about where litter ends up if it’s not properly disposed of.
- There are also a few locally-hosted dedicated clean-up events at Garie Beach and North Cronulla. If these locations are handy to you it’s a great way of showing your kids how people come together to help each other and the environment.
- Kids often struggle to grasp the concept of recycling because all they really know is that bins are put on the street and rubbish is taken away in trucks. Their little minds rarely think beyond this as to where it ends up. One way you can show them is to take them to a Return and Earn vending machine. Explain what is done with recyclable materials (the podcast suggestions below will help!) And then show them how we can even get money back by placing recyclables in the return and earn machine.
- Head to Bunnings and get yourself a compost bin! Food waste doesn’t decompose in landfill in the same way as a compost bin because it receives inadequate sunlight and oxygen. You’ll be amazed at the extra space in your bin if you start a simple compost system and your kids will be fascinated by how it works and the ability to make their own soil for gardening with.
- Print out signs that say Rubbish, Recycle, REDcycle, Compost and use junk mail catalogues to help your kids identify and cut out the items that should go in each. Then stick them on the lids of your kitchen bins. And if your too time-poor for even this, simply print out the Sutherland Shire Council signs and talk through the different items with your kids.
- Start a small garden or add to an existing one with some edible herbs and produce. Rocket, basil and coriander are a few suggestions that are simple to grow and once they’ve sprouted are a whole lot cheaper and easier than having to run out to the shops!
- Build a town out of recycled materials and non-recyclable rubbish. You’ll be amazed at how many games it can be used as a backdrop for!
- Make a bird-feeder out of recycled materials.
- Have a game of Recycled Bottle Bowling
- Turn a ‘clean up’ into a Recycled Scavenger Hunt
- See if you can invent a package that never ends up in landfill in this online zero-waste game
- Use these Earth flipbook images to make a game out of guessing which actions make the Earth happy or sad
- 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh
- Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
- One Love by Cedella Marley
- We Planted a Tree by Dianne Muldrow
- One World by Michael Foreman
- “Operation Earth: How to be cool to a planet that’s hot.” (Wow in the World)
- “Why Recycle” (ABC Kids Imagine This)
- “Why is there a big patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean?” (But Why)
- “The Plastic tide and spewing in space” (Fun Kids: Science Weekly)
- “The voyage of the ocean trash” (Tumble Science Kids Podcast)
- “Ecotales: Poly plastic and the plastic picnic.” (Ecotales)
- Storybots “Why do we recycle” (Netflix)
- Reduce Re-use, Recycle (Youtube)
- How to care for the Environment (Youtube)
- Teaching kids sustainability: What does it mean to be green? (Youtube)
- Fern Gully (Youtube or Google Play)
- The Lorax (Youtube or Google Play)
- Happy Feet (Netflix or Stan)
- The Magic Schoolbus Season 3: Ep 10 and 12 (Netflix)
Thanks for following along this week. We ‘d love to see which activities you enjoyed so please tag @mumsoftheshire on Instagram and use #BusyKids so we can share them with our community.