After celebrating Earth Day for over 45 years this April, some of us are looking at ways to keep our kids caring about the environment year round. While attempting to hold a child’s interest and keeping their limited attention span going on track can be challenging, especially long term, it can be done given some tips and tricks.
Here’s three ways to keep a children interested in our planet long after Earth Day has passed:
#1 - Make It A Game
Wasting energy is just one of the many ways we can be unfriendly to Mother Earth. Share with your children the many ways they can save energy and electricity and challenge them to find them whenever possible. Lights on in empty rooms, appliances plugged in and not in use, even a cell phone left on a charger after it has reached 100% capacity is still drawing power.
For families with multiple children, make it a monthly contest to see who can find, report and remove the most household offenders and win a prize. Houses with an only child can receive a small reward when they reach a certain plateau, like 20 reported power draws per month.
#2 - Make Money
When I was a kid, my father, an engineer and mechanic, used to give me a penny-a-piece for finding nuts, bolts, screws and more for larger items of interest, like railroad spikes. This early form of recycling lined my pockets with change when I was a youngster and the same can be done for modern recycling methods.
Consider making one or more of your children your home’s “Recycling Monitor” and reward them for their efforts by relinquishing or sharing the profits with them. This will not only help them to make them some cash on the side, they’ll also hone their mathematical skills if you’re splitting the profits.
#3 - Make It Yourself
Instead of sending your kid to school with a “brown bag,” everyday for their noontime meal, consider trying a reusable container instead, like a knapsack or small backpack. Even better, check out those packaging systems that allow you to continuously reuse their lunch boxes.
Get your kids to join on making their own lunches. They’ll not only pitch in on the project itself, they can also offer ideas and suggestions for the task. You can teach them about recycling and eating healthier at the same time.
#4 - Make An Eco-Friendly Project
Kid and planet-friendly projects for children come in many forms, especially the creation of a mini-solar oven that can be used during the summer months to make S’mores. Check out this planet-friendly project for kids that harnesses the power of the sun to make some delicious summertime treats. You’ll need these common household items:
- A box with a tightly fitting lid, especially a hinged one with overlapping sides, like a shoebox from a large pair of boots or leftover bakery box.
- It should be at least three inches deep and capable of fitting a pie tin or other small cooking surface.
- Aluminum foil
- Saran Wrap ® or other clear wrapping
- A glue stick
- Tape (duct, masking, transparent, whatever you have)
- A spare stick to cut according to the box size
- Ruler or other straight edge like a yard stick
- X Acto ® knife or box cutter (used with adult supervision)
Obviously you’ll need all of the traditional ingredients that are normally required for this summertime treat, graham crackers, marshmallows, and a couple of thin chocolate bars, traditional recipes call for large marshmallows and regular sized-bars, given its reduced temperature output from this creation, mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips will probably work better for impatient, young chefs.
For a list of the exact procedures necessary, please see these online plans. If you happen to have a science buff or budding astronaut in your midst, be sure to point out the fact that these instructions come from NASA to further excite their creative. On one final note, you can also make nachos and warm things like hot dog buns for some further summer fun. Bone Appetit and enjoy the summer fun, this year and for many generations to come.