Last updated on December 21st, 2022 at 05:21 pm
Thinking about the reality of climate change and other environmental issues can often leave us feeling powerless and uncertain. Undoubtedly, it’s the Government’s and large corporations’ responsibility to reduce and counter the impact of emissions.
However, it’s still helpful and important to be equipped with some practical ideas on what we can do alongside our kids to help the environment, and help them learn about it too. Here are 30 ways your family can help the environment:
How Can Kids Help The Environment: In And Around The Home
- Make an agreement as a family to switch off lights when you’re not in the room in order to conserve energy. Kids can add stickers to light switches or make posters to remind adults they also need to remember to flick those switches. Make a move to energy-efficient LED light bulbs too – they use 80% less electricity.
- Turn your thermostat down by one degree. You’ll barely notice the difference, but for each degree you turn your thermostat down, your heating costs will be cut by 10%. Also, make sure you move furniture away from radiators to allow heat to flow more easily.
- Think about installing a smart meter. A smart meter will show your family how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence. It’ll help you identify where you’re using the most energy, so you can think about where to make changes. Read more and sign up here.
- While it’s lovely to stand under that hot water, try and have shorter showers – once you’re clean, hop out.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth (a tiny change, but, amazingly, it’ll save thousands of gallons of water each year).
- Unplug equipment such as toasters and gaming consoles when not in use (if still plugged in, they can continue to use up electricity).
- Use beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm or tin foil for your leftovers. The Beeswax Wrap Company makes some really pretty ones.
- Walk, cycle or use public transport where possible or car share to activities or school if you can.
- Eat less red meat to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2 and nitrous oxide released into the environment. If your family is used to eating lots of meat, try starting with ‘Meat Free Monday’. Check out these recipes on the Meat Free Mondays website for some ideas.
How Can Kids Help The Environment: In The Garden And Outdoors
- Create a wildlife garden. Install a pond, if you can (a great summer holiday project!), to provide a habitat for frogs, newts and insects such as damselflies and dragonflies whose habitats are continuing to shrink and fragment.
- Build a compost out of old food scraps. The Eden Project shows you how to make a compost in this article.
- Create a vegetable patch if you have a garden (even a small one should be able to accommodate some grow bags or planters), or else you could use your windowsill or patio to grow smaller vegetables such as tomato plants. If you don’t have a garden and would like to grow your own veg, look into an allotment share. If you’re based in the UK, you can apply for an allotment here. Remember, gardening is also great for your mental health!
- Make a bird feeder to support birdlife in your garden and plant bee-friendly flowers to encourage the bee population. We need them if we want to keep nutritious crops such as fruit, nuts and vegetables in our diets.
- Make your own plant pots. Paint and drill a hole in old tin cans and use these to plant seeds in (juice cartons also work).
- Buy some Eco friendly Sprout pencils. Once you’re left with a well-used, shorter pencil you can plant it and see what grows! A great gift.
- If you have a picnic outdoors, make sure you take all your rubbish home with you. If you’re feeling generous, any other rubbish you see in your vicinity.
- Make your travel plans as a family and have discussions about how to travel in a more environmentally friendly way. Off-setting your travel is one option (see my article on this here). Or you might want to consider holidays closer to home and travelling by car or train. Read my article: How To Be A Conscious Traveller for environmentally friendly travel ideas.
How Can Kids Help The Environment: Re-Using And Re-Cycling
- Avoid disposables and recycle, using biodegradable products where possible. Nearly all supermarkets in the UK will now allow you to bring your own containers for use at their meat, fish, cheese and deli counters. Tesco is also trialling a zero waste scheme (in conjunction with reusable packaging platform Loop). You can purchase certain items in recyclable packaging which, once finished with, you return to the store.
- Buy clothes second hand or use a rental service for children’s clothes such as The Little Loop. You can borrow clothes for as long you need them and return them when your kids have grown out of them, or you fancy a change.
- Buy some litter pickers and pick up litter in your local community. You could even arrange to do this for charity (perhaps an environmental one such as Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth).
- 350,000 tonnes of clothes end up in landfill in the UK each year. Strive to buy less, and take clothes which aren’t in a fit state to go to the charity shop to a textile recycling bank. Search here to find your local one.
- Use stainless steel, glass or, the newcomer on the block, bamboo reusable water bottles – reusing plastic water bottles isn’t a good idea as harmful chemicals leach into the water you’ll be drinking.
- Avoid plastic straws to protect marine life – use paper or metal instead. These ones make a great gift too.
How Can Kids Help The Environment: Play-Time And Learning
- Buy Eco-friendly toys and books on the environment for kids as gifts. Check out this John Lewis article on the best sustainable gifts for kids.
- If buying new clothes, shop consciously and use companies who you feel confident are working fairly and sustainably. Try Frugi for kids and Baukjen for women’s clothing.
- If an item of clothing has a tear, hole or stain on it, rather than throw it away, consider adding an iron-on character patch such as these ones.
- Use both sides of a piece of paper; keep a stack of already-used-on-one-side paper for kids to use for drawing or for adults to make notes on.
- Use items such as toilet rolls or bottle tops for art projects. There are some great ideas here.
- Join a toy collective or rent toys, rather than buying. A great, boredom-saving concept as you can send back toys you don’t enjoy so much (receiving new ones instead) and keep the ones you do for longer. Toy Box Club is a good option.
- Join the local library or swap books with friends. Donate books you’ve read – schools and nurseries will frequently take them and you’ll find there are often book hub schemes locally.
For great ideas on gifts for the socially and environmentally conscious child, click here.