12 Green Living Tips for Kids – Teach Children Sustainable Habits to Improve the Health of Planet Earth.
Help your family live in a greener world now and into the future with these eco-friendly green living ideas and positive parenting tips.
Caring for the earth is an important value to share with our children. Below is a list of 12 ways to help kids learn to live a more 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
12 Green Living Tips to Share with Children
Making a commitment to the well-being of our planet and the natural world is an important value to share with our children. Help your kids learn how to live a low-impact sustainable life with these green living tips, and ideas for families.
Use a habit tracker to continue to commit to making small changes that make a big difference over time with this list of green habit ideas.
Related: Earth Day Activities and Crafts
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 environment, they need to see you caring for the environment. Your children will learn to make sustainable choices if you make sustainable choices. Good habits start at home.
2. Tread Lightly & Speak Positively
Tread Lightly – Minimize Your Personal Impact on the Environment
Tread lightly on the earth. 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.
The effect of humanity’s destructive interaction with the Earth is visible at the national, corporate, and individual levels. It is important that we each do our part to reduce or minimize our personal impact on the natural world and the environment in which we live.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time.Baltimore Grotto (Organization dedicated to the study and conservation of caves.)
Related: Encouraging Kindness to Nature
What you say in front of children matters. A lot!
How you speak about the natural world and the environment will more than likely be how your children learn to speak about it. Choose your words wisely.
Related: Earth Day Pledge Ideas
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 harmful toxins in your home, learn how to make your own cleaning products. When kids grow up knowing how to make them they will more than likely use them as adults.
- How to Make Natural Cleaning Products
- Glass and Window Cleaner
- Wood Cleaner and Polish
- Cleaning Kit for Kids
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.
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.
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.
- 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 natural whole foods and local organic seasonal produce. There are farmer’s markets and natural foods stores in most areas that carry whole foods and animal products grown or raised in or near your city or town.
Choose whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Processed 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. Do your own google research on the world wide web, 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 Can Make a Difference.
7. Get Outside & Connect
Spending time in nature has been researched to be beneficial to mental and physical health. It also provides children with the opportunity to fall in love with the Earth and all of Mother Natures creatures.
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.
Here at Rhythms of Play, we challenge you to Get Outside & Connect every day in order to help your children become the environmental stewards of tomorrow. We have included lots of fun and educational outdoor activities that you can try.
You may also like this fun collection of outdoor learning ideas and nature activities for kids.
8. Go Green
Commit to making your life on the go more sustainable with any of these fun ways to 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 bags to any and all stores, not just the grocery store. My favorite bags originated in the town where my family lives. I carry several of these Chico Bags in my car and keep one in my purse at all times!
Use reusable to-go products to green your to-go!
My favorite reusable water bottles and portable travel mugs are also made in the town where my family lives. Klean Kanteen has a vast array of sizes, lids, colors, and types of to-go bottles. They even make wide-mouth insulated travel mugs and bottles that keep drinks, or food, hot or cold for hours!
A few more of our favorite reusable portable to-go products to help minimize single-use plastics and their impact on the environment are listed below.
- Reusable water bottles
- Portable insulated travel mugs
- Insulated lunch bags and reusable bento box food containers
- Sandwich wraps and/or Beeswax food wraps
- Portable stainless steel telescopic straws and/or stainless steel multi-size and width straw set for home
- Reuseable cloth snack bags and/or stay fresh silicone food storage bags
Reduce is the first of the 3 main “R’s” or rules of conservation.
Power Down, Turn it Off and Unplug
Reduce your energy consumption. Power down, turn off and unplug electrical appliances 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.
How to Reduce Energy Consumption At Home
- Use energy-efficient appliances.
- Turn off lights when you leave rooms.
- Only run a full dishwasher or washing machine.
- Hang clothing to dry whenever possible.
- Turn off the water when you are washing your hands, dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth.
- Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
- Turn off the thermostat during the more temperate months of the year if possible. If you must keep it on, set it low in the winter and high in the summer to use less energy. Wear extra clothes in the winter, and less clothing in the summer indoors to keep the need to turn on the heater, or the air conditioner, at bay.
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 such as the items listed in “Green To-Go,” 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.
Say No to Single-Use Plastics
“No thank you” is one of my favorite phrases these days. Do your best to say no to single-use plastics when offered.
Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and plastic silverware or cutlery, are some of the most harmful pollutants in the environment.
Single-use plastics of all kinds 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.
The second of the 3 main “R’s” or rules of conservation is reuse.
Use green to go wear and reusable bottles and coffee cups. Shop garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Give and accept hand me downs.
11. Recycle or Upcycle
The third main “R” of conservation is to recycle, upcycle, or renew!
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 or Renew
Keep an upcycle bin in your house filled with items that can be made into something else or renewed. There are lots of items that can be used to make trash into a treasure. Use recyclables and anything that you find at the thrift store to make upcycled or recycled crafts, games, furniture, toys, 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. Encourage children to commit to “one small change” at a time by turning each one into a pledge to the Earth.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!