Kiddos can be green from an early age – in fact, the earlier you introduce your children to earth-friendly behaviors the sooner these positive habits can be formed. Here are five FUN ways you can model and create eco-friendly habits in your family’s everyday choices.
1) Grow your own food.
Even if it’s a small herb garden, allowing your children to participate in the process of growing food helps them connect the dots to what is on their plate for every meal. Growing food takes energy, good soil, water, and a caring, watchful eye. Sometimes knowing how much work goes into something can make you appreciate it that much more. We just planted some tomatoes, peppers, and an herb garden, and my boys check on the seedlings about six times a day. Our little plants are going to have a LOT of love.
2) Shop at Farmer’s Markets and/or join a CSA.
Nothing is better than eating in-season and local. Shopping at your local Farmer’s Market is so much fun for the kiddos. Our local one in Houston has everything from in-season produce to sustainably farmed meat and seafood, plus food trucks with yummy offerings and live music for the kids to dance to. There is even a stand that sells worms for organic gardens. I mean, come on – worms! My boys think it’s the coolest stand at the market. We also have joined several CSAs over the years. A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a great way to buy in-season produce directly from a farm. Some are Combined CSAs where several local farms pool their bounty together. We belonged to an incredible CCSA in St. Louis and our weekly “share” included everything from eggs to greens to chocolate. Check out Local Harvest online to find a CSA near you.
3) Ride your bike. Or walk.
I love living in a pedestrian-friendly area where we can walk to parks and restaurants, and we try to walk or bike as much as possible, weather-permitting. Not only will you get some great exercise and fresh air, but ditching the car once in a while is good for everyone. It’s true that my husband and I often make our way home carrying a child and/or their bike, but it’s worth it.
4) Ditch disposable items.
So much landfill can be prevented from making the switch (and investment) in reusable items. Shopping bags, water bottles, lunch bags, sandwich bags, and snack pouches are great places to start. Our favorite sandwich bags are by Itzy Ritzy. They have a food-safe coating on the inside that helps keep the food fresh and makes them easy to clean. Personalized lunch bags make great gifts for children and have become our standard gift for two-year old birthdays.
5) Books & Toys
I love connecting with my boys over books. Two of our favorite books that help instill the value of green living are In the Garden and The Earth Book. Green Toys makes some of the coolest trucks out there. My boys love their lightweight recycling truck and it’s extra fun to talk about how it was once a milk jug. “A MILK JUG? That’s silly!” Amity Hook-Sopko, Executive Editor of Green Child Magazine adds, “When it comes to keeping your environmental impact low, it’s worth considering the environmental impact of the toys we buy for our kids. Less is definitely more — so kids can actually focus on choosing one of just a few options”.
What are your favorite ways to model green and eco-friendly living to your kiddos?
Author: Candace Thomas