12 Green Living Tips for Kids – Caring for the earth is an important value to share with our children. Help your family live in a greener world now and into the future with these natural eco-friendly green living ideas and positive parenting tips. Below is a list of 12 ways to help kids learn to live a sustainable life.
Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.
-American Indian Proverb
Related: Earth Day Pledge Ideas
12 Green Living Tips to Share with Children
Caring for the Earth and the natural world is an important value to share with our children. Help your kids learn how to live a sustainable life with these green living tips and ideas for families.
1. Be a Model Citizen
The most important way to help children care for the Earth is by modeling it yourself. Kids will do what they see the adults around them doing. They are little sponges that soak up how we relate to our world and mirror it back to us.
Wasteful parents are more likely to raise wasteful children. If you want your children to care about the Earth, they need to see you caring for the Earth. Your children will learn to make sustainable choices if you make sustainable choices.
2. Tread Lightly & Speak Positively
Tread lightly on the earth. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints.
Reduce your personal impact on the environment in any and all possible ways.
And please, please, please for the sake of mother Earth’s natural beauty… Do not litter.
What you say in front of children matters. A lot!
How you speak about sustainability and the environment will more than likely be how your children speak about it. Choose your words wisely.
3. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Cleaning products contain chemicals and toxins that are harmful to the environment. These toxins are even more dangerous for children because they touch and taste everything. To avoid these toxins make your own cleaning products. When kids grow up knowing how to make them they will more than likely use them as adults.
4. Grow Your Own Organic Food
If it is not possible to have a garden where you live consider container gardening. You may also be able to rent a plot in your city’s community garden. If you garden your kids will garden, and likely grow up to have their own gardens.
Growing your own organic food is an easy way to cut down on toxins and fossil fuels in the environment. It also helps to reduce waste and toxic byproducts. Conventionally grown crops deposit many chemicals and toxins into our environment. Produce and other foods traveling from other regions have a negative impact on the health of our planet. And then there’s the packaging that many of these foods come in. Think about it.
- How to Plant Organic Cucumbers
- Start Organic Cumbers and Melons
- How to Plant Organic Tomatoes
- Everything You Need to Know About Composting
5. Shop Local & Organic
If you can’t grow your own food do your best to buy organic local seasonal produce. There are farmer’s markets and natural foods stores in most areas that carry foods grown near your city or town. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. The food is bad for your body, while the packaging and distance it traveled to get to you are bad for our environment.
Shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist. When purchasing new items, shop locally and choose items made by local artisans and companies. Make the choice to support local mom and pop shops over major corporations that could care less about your family and town.
6. Vote with Your Dollars & Sense
Vote with your dollars and common sense when you need to buy things. Support shops and companies that are doing their best to do the right thing. Do your best to buy things made in the city, state, or country you live in.
Discussing these ideas with your children when they are ready to handle such concepts is an eco-conscious parent’s basic duty. You can do your own research on the internet, or purchase this fantastic book that gives you all the necessary details to make a more informed choice. The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Difference
7. Get Outside & Connect
If we want our children to care for the Earth, they must get out and experience nature every day. It’s difficult to care about something that you have little experience with. Get outside with your children every day.
I have a series called Get Outside & Connect where I encourage everyone to get outside every day for at least 20 minutes no matter the weather. There are also lots of outdoor activities that you can try with your children.
You may also like this fun collection of outdoor learning ideas and nature activities for kids.
8. Go Green
Green your ride
Make your commute, whether it’s to work, school, or the grocery store, green by riding your bike, walking, or using public transportation.
There are many people out there that make this choice daily including my family. When you choose to ride your bike and walk more often than not, your children will more than likely do the same.
Bring your own reusable bag to any and all stores, not just the grocery store. My favorite bags originated in the town that I currently live in. I carry several of these Chico Bags in my car and keep one in my purse at all times!
Green to go
Use reusable water bottles, portable insulated travel mugs, insulated lunch sacks, and reusable lunch containers, sandwich wraps, portable stainless steel straws, and snack bags. Stay away from plastics if you can.
My favorite reusable water bottles are also made in the town I live in. Kleen Kanteen has a vast array of sizes, lids, colors, and types of to go bottles. They even have wide mouth insulated bottles that keep drinks and food hot or cold for hours!
Power Down, Turn it Off and Unplug
Reduce your energy consumption. Power down, turn off and unplug electrical items in your home when you leave the house or go to sleep at night. Young children watch and imitate everything we do as adults and will likely copy what we do.
Easy ways to reduce energy consumption at home
- Use energy efficient appliances.
- Turn off lights when you leave rooms.
- Only run a full dishwasher.
- Turn off the water when you are washing your hands, dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth.
There are many ways to reduce waste. The best way to look at it is to use less of everything as much as possible. Reducing waste is another reason to buy local items without packaging.
Use BYO reusable grocery bags and green to go items like those listed above whenever possible and pay attention to the waste that most people tend not to notice.
For example, if you don’t need 30 paper napkins and 20 packets of ketchup, don’t take them. Give them back and say “I don’t need this many thanks.” Maybe they’ll hand out less next time.
Just say no to plastic bags, plastic bottles, and single-use plastic straws. They are ruining our oceans. There are plastic gyres the size of small countries floating around out there. It matters!
Buy less, use less.
Think in terms of priorities using needs and wants. Needs always get met, while wants need to go through a deliberation process. When you need something look for used, local or handmade options whenever possible.
Use green to go wear and re-usable bottles and coffee cups. Shop garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Give and accept hand me downs.
11. Recycle or Upcycle
How to Recycle
Do your best to recycle everything you can. If it’s not already a habit, make it one. Make green living fun and your children will retain it for life.
Have your children collect, take out, and sort the recyclables in your home to redeem for cash. You can allow them to buy a special treat with the money they earn or put it towards their college savings — up to you.
How to Upcycle
Keep an upcycle bin in your house filled with items that would work for upcycled crafts, games, etc.
Related: Toilet Paper Roll Birdhouse Craft
12. Use the Power of Habit
If any of these tips seem daunting just try one thing at a time. Use the amazing power of habit to make positive lasting change second nature. Your kids will follow your example.
Green Living Ideas: Helping Children Learn to Make Sustainable Choices
Caring for the earth and making environmentally sustainable choices is an important skill to share with our children. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Earth Day green living ideas and parenting tips for Kids.
Let us always remind our children that the future of the Earth depends on the choices we make today. Start by helping them make a pledge to the Earth.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If You Liked These Green Living Tips for Families, You may also like:
- How to Plant a Tree for Arbor Day or Earth Day
- Kids Books That Teach Important Life Lessons
- Forest School: Outdoor Learning & Nature Activities for Kids
- Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
- Encourage Kindness to Nature with the Kindness Elves
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…