Last updated: 29th April 2019
It’s one thing to be eco-friendly ourselves, but sharing environmentally-friendly practises with our children can make them feel important and realise the vital role they play to our planet's future.
With the rise in technology and social media, it’s now especially important to raise our children with a love of nature and preservation, empowering them to make the choice to go outside, get dirt in between their fingernails and climb a tree instead of being stuck behind a screen. It’s also a fun way to bring the family together for a greater cause.
As adults, we're aware that taking a break from technology can clear out mental clutter and give us a reset, but with children, we need to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction and inspire them to put down the iPad and get outside in nature.
It’s also showing them that they can use their own imagination to keep themselves from feeling bored. The easiest way to do this is to lead by example, which is why we've put together some top ideas for an eco-friendly family weekend.
1. Plant a veggie patch
Reuse old pots or planter boxes and show your children the fun and satisfaction of growing their own produce without the need to go to the supermarket. Giving them the privilege to look after something also teaches them the importance of responsibility.
2. Create an eco-friendly game chart
Make a friendly challenge with your children and build a board together, ready to place a star next to their name for every successful two-minute shower, turning the tap off when they brush their teeth, switching the lights off when not in use or sorting out the recycling.
3. Use your recyclables and make something
Yes, recycling is good. But reusing is even better. Get your empty cardboard boxes and milk cartons and encourage the kids to build a boat. Then head down to your local river or lake and have a fun race.
4. Plan a natural scavenger hunt
Create a list or draw a table of the items based on the season and your location, then hide them around the garden. It’s a great way to get out of the house and encourage the kids to finish a challenge. Pinterest has some great ideas to get you started.
5. Take the family to your local Farmers Market
Teach your children the importance of why you buy local fruit and vegetables and get them to help you pick them out. This also raises their awareness of how their food goes from farm to table.
6. Head to the local zoo or nature museum
This is the best way to gain information from the experts and educate your children on conservation in a fun and uplifting way.
7. Have an active day
Pack a picnic and ride a bike to the local park. Get out the frisbee or football and get your bodies moving!
8. Have an electricity-free day
Teach your kids where electricity comes from and how much it’s valued by removing it from your lives for the day. Play some board games, take a family walk or set up the backyard with some picnic blankets and try to make the most of the sunshine without using any power.
9. Head to the library
It's possible to head out with the family for a fun-filled day that doesn't break the bank. The library is the perfect place for this. Not only will you encourage your kids to read more (and read something that isn't on a screen!), but by teaching them the concept of borrowing a book and passing it on, you're setting the standards for a more eco-friendly way of living.
10. Volunteer for a charity
Ok, the idea of working on a weekend might not be everyone's idea of fun, but doing some voluntary work for a charity is a great way of giving back – the perfect lesson to be teaching our kids. And who knows, once they're there, they might enjoy themselves. As might you!
11. Get cycling
Great for the environment and great for your health, there are many positive reasons to dust off your bikes this weekend and get cycling. Most importantly of all, it's fun! Try out a new track and make a day of it – pack a picnic and spend some quality time with the ones you love. Does it get any better?
Through small changes and consistent informal education, we can show our children the enjoyment and fulfilment that comes with caring for our planet and it’s resources, connecting with nature and using our imaginations.
These activities not only teach our children about eco-friendly practices, but they'll also allow for some quality family bonding and special moments that cannot be bought on iTunes or found in front of the television.