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 are 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 i’ve put together 8 of my 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 shows them 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
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/house. It’s a great way to get out of the house and encourage the kids to finish a challenge. Head over here for some Pinterest ideas to get 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 on 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. 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 I assure you they'll also allow for some quality family bonding and special moments that cannot be bought on iTunes or in front of the television.