Being sustainable is all about treating our environment and resources with a thoughtful attitude. It’s such an important concept that it is even woven into the school curriculum.
So how can we foster this sense of respect in our children in a way that’s more about our actions than our words? I’ve got 6 suggestions for ways you can have fun together and learn about sustainability along the way. Enjoy!
1. Plant a garden
I recently wrote about the benefits of growing vegies with the kids (https://www.use-ta.com.au/blogs/news/the-benefits-of-growing-vegies-with-your-kids). Besides all the obvious benefits such as fresh air, sense of responsibility and using your imagination, gardening can encourage healthier diets and a deeper understanding of where food comes from. From a sustainability perspective it can show kids about how our ecology works together from bees to birds to the worms. Even the little creatures matter!
2. Start composting
Speaking of worms, you might like to start a worm farm or compost together. Did you know that many local councils provide a discount for purchasing these types of products? Go to Compost Revolution (https://compostrevolution.com.au) to find out whether your household is eligible for a discount. Imagine how much fun you could have picking out worms together! The great thing about this activity is that it will teach kids about the life cycle of organic matter.
3. Upcycle things for craft
We all love a bit of colour and glue in our lives! I always need to take a deep breathe every time the paints come out. I have fond childhood memories though of the craft box which contained all sorts of bits and pieces that had been saved from the rubbish bin. The best part about the craft box is that when you’re finished, you can take a photo then undo it all ready for another day. Reusing at its best!
4. Make your own recycled paper
This one takes a bit of time and commitment but the outcome is so rewarding. This activity can show kids how their scraps of paper they usually put into the recycling bin are reused and made into something new again. Be warned – your blender may never be the same again! (http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/homemade-paper/)
5. Talk about conservation
Turn water and energy conservation into a game to see how much you can save each quarter. Kids love to see progress in graphs so start charting and stick it on the fridge for everyone to follow along. Perhaps you could reward the family with a special outing or dinner if you manage to reduce your water or energy consumption!
6. Clear out the closets
At Use-Ta! we are all about doing our small part to encourage sustainability! But if your kids are anything like mine, they hate the half yearly closet clear out. Having to try on clothes after clothes and not wanting to let go of favourites is definitely a challenge. I find that as they are growing older they are understanding more about the concept of charity and what happens to our clothes if we just put them in the bin. So, whilst bribes often work (chocolate mostly), I also encourage them to choose items from op shops and Use-Ta! to replace them.
The more our kids are exposed to sustainable practices, the more it becomes the ‘norm’ for them, rather than a chore or something they have to be mindful about. If you’re about to clear out the closets, why not replace a few items with something from Use-Ta!? You can always shop online (https://www.use-ta.com.au/collections) if you can’t make it in store. Look forward to being sustainable with you soon!