Share sustainable habits to improve the health of planet Earth. Get started with this list of 12 green living tips for kids and adults!
Caring for our environment and planet Earth is a valuable lesson for children and adults because it is up to us to help stop climate change and improve the future. Below is a list of twelve easy ways parents and teachers can help kids reduce their carbon footprint and learn to live more sustainably. The eco-friendly green living ideas and positive parenting tips below can help your family and Mother Earth’s children live in a greener world now and in the future. Use these Earth Day Printables any day of the year to commit to small changes that make a big impact at home with kids (or adults) or in the classroom with students. You might also enjoy this list of growth mindset books for kids.
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 That Help Reduce Climate Change
Committing to the well-being of our planet and the natural world is an important value to share with our children and students. These green living tips and ideas can help kids learn to live a low-impact, sustainable life so they can do their part to reduce climate change. You might also enjoy this list of Earth Day activities and crafts.
First, pick “one small change” from this list of eco-friendly ideas. Next, commit to following through with an Earth Day Pledge (any day of the year) to make the change a habit in your home. Our printable Earth Day Activity Pack and The Dream Life Tool Kit make it easy to commit to small changes that make a big difference over time.
You might also want to grab these gorgeous climate change coloring pages from Adventure in a Box for you and your kids (or students). The ideas in this post inspired my friend Liska to create a beautiful coloring page with twelve ideas to help kids reduce climate change.
You will notice that her list is slightly different than our list below–she had to make them her own–but align perfectly with the same sustainable green living ideals. I think she did a fantastic job, and–she gave us a free copy as the source of her inspiration. Thanks, Liska–you’re amazing! Thank you for joining me in “being the change you wish to see” for our children’s future. Get your climate change coloring poster HERE!
1. Be a Model Citizen
The most important way to help children care for the Earth is by modeling it yourself. Children will most often do what they see the adults around them doing because they are like little sponges that soak up how we relate to our world and mirror it back to us.
In other words, wasteful parents are more likely to raise wasteful children, and vice versa. So, if you want your children to care about the environment and reduce their impact, they need to see you making changes to help reduce climate change. Because children will learn to make more sustainable choices if they see the adults around them making choices that help planet Earth. Good habits start at home.
Related: Encouraging Kindness to Nature
2. Tread Lightly: Minimize Your Impact on the Environment
Tread lightly on the Earth. Reduce your impact on the environment in all possible ways. And please, please, please, do not litter. Let’s each do our part to keep Mother Earth and the natural world beautiful for everyone.
The effect of humanity’s destructive interaction with the Earth is visible at the national, corporate, and individual levels. So we must do our part to minimize our impact on the natural world and the environment if we want to reduce climate change. And this makes any day an excellent day to pledge to the health of our environment–Earth Day or not.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time.Baltimore Grotto
3. Choose (or Make) Eco-Friendly Products
Everything we do has an impact on the environment in which we live. Purchasing more sustainable, eco-friendly products (or making DIY eco-friendly products) is a great green living tip because it is essential for the health and well-being of planet Earth and all of Mother Nature’s children.
You can do this by making or choosing natural or eco-friendly gifts, clothes, children’s toys, and everything else you purchase or DIY for your home, garden, business, or place of work. A few suggestions to get you started are listed below:
- Eco-Friendly Baby Toys That Boost Development Naturally
- Eco-Friendly Educational Toys for Toddlers
- Natural Preschool Toys and How They Benefit Development
- Best Open-Ended Toys for Pretend Play
- Gifts for Mom That Will Put You in the Good Book
Another example would be making (or buying) eco-friendly cleaning products. Cleaning products contain harmful chemicals and toxins that are harmful to the environment. And these toxins are even more dangerous for children, especially crawling babies and toddlers, because they touch and taste everything!
Learning how to make cleaning products makes avoiding these harmful toxins in your home easy. And when children grow up making DIY cleaning products, they are likely to continue to do so as adults. So we have several excellent recipes to help you make natural cleaning solutions in your home or workplace on the list below. Click the title of each recipe to see the step-by-step instructions for each homemade natural cleaning product.
- How to Make Natural Cleaning Products
- Glass and Window Cleaner
- Wood Cleaner and Polish
- Cleaning Kit for Kids
4. Plant A Garden: Grow and Eat Organic Food
Gardening is an important home-life skill to share with children. Learning how to grow food and knowing where it comes from is becoming a lost art. But if it’s impossible to grow a garden where you live, consider container gardening. Or another great idea is to rent a plot in a community garden.
Conventionally grown crops deposit many chemicals and toxins into our environment. While produce and other foods traveling from far away harm the health of our planet. And then there’s the packaging that many of these foods come in–think about it.
Growing organic food is an easy way for everyone to help reduce toxins, fossil fuels, and packaging waste in the environment. Planting an organic garden also helps to reduce waste and toxic byproducts in the water table. So we have some gardening tutorials to help you start an organic garden at home on the list below.
- Everything You Need to Know About Composting
- How to Plant Organic Cucumbers
- Start Organic Cumbers and Melons
- How to Plant Organic Tomatoes
- How to Plant a Tree for Arbor or Earth Day
5. Shop Local & Organic
If you can’t grow your organic food, do your best to buy whole-natural foods and local organic seasonal produce. Farmer’s markets and natural foods stores often carry whole foods and animal products grown or raised near you in most towns and cities. So seek them out to do most of your food shopping whenever possible.
But no matter where you shop, choose whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible–organic or not. Processed food is bad for your body, while the packaging and distance it travels to get to you are bad for our environment and the natural world.
So, do your best to shop at thrift stores, garage sales, or Craigslist to purchase gently used items whenever you need something. And, when purchasing new items, shop locally and choose items made by local artisans and companies. In other words, choose to support local mom-and-pop shops over corporations that could care less about your family and town.
And when you need to buy something from a company–vote with your dollars and sense by purchasing things from brands doing their best to reduce their impact and make changes that benefit the environment whenever possible. (See below)
6. Vote with Your Dollars & Common Sense
Vote with your dollars and common sense by supporting politicians, shops, companies, organizations, and charities doing their best to do the right thing. I’m a big fan of companies and corporations that do everything in their power, even when it means earning a little less, to reduce climate change and keep this beautiful Earth a green place to live.
So, vote with your dollars by purchasing local items made in your city, state, or country. Or choose to shop directly from brands doing their best to slow climate change in whatever way they can. Discussing these ideas with your children when they are ready to handle such concepts is an eco-conscious parent’s basic duty.
So research brands and companies doing their best to reduce climate change on the world wide web, or grab the Better World Shopping Guide. It gives you all the necessary details to make a more informed choice–every dollar makes a difference. And I have listed a few of my favorite brands in Gifts for Mom.
7. Get Outside and Connect
Spending time in nature benefits our mental and physical health and allows children to fall in love with the Earth and all of Mother Nature’s varied creatures. If we want our children to care for the Earth, they must get out and experience nature daily. It isn’t easy to care about something you have not experienced firsthand.
Here at Rhythms of Play, we challenge you to Get Outside & Connect daily to help your children become the environmental stewards of tomorrow. We have included lots of fun and outdoor educational activities that you can try. You might also want to look at this list of outdoor learning ideas and nature activities for even more fun outside activities for kids.
8. Green Your To-Go!
Committing to making life on the go more sustainable is a great way for everyone to help reduce climate change. Look at the list below for fun ways to go green everywhere you travel!
- Green your ride. Make your commute, whether to work, school, or the grocery store, “green” by riding your bike, walking, or using public transportation whenever possible. Depending on your situation, we know this isn’t always possible, but many people (including most of my family) make this choice daily. So give it a try!
- BYO-Bag. Bring-Your-Own reusable bags to all stores–not just the grocery store. My favorite eco-friendly bags originated in my family’s town, so I keep several Chico Bags in my car and always carry one in my purse just in case.
- Green To-Go. Use reusable to-go products for greening your to-go! My favorite portable, reusable water bottles are Klean Kanteens. They have various sizes, lids, colors, and types of food-grade stainless steel to-go bottles, but several others are on the market. My favorite is their wide-mouth insulated travel mugs and double-walled water bottles that keep drinks or food hot or cold for hours!
- Minimize single-use plastics and their environmental impact. Some of our favorite reusable to-go products that minimize single-use plastics and help reduce climate change are listed below.
- Reusable water bottles
- Portable insulated travel mugs
- Insulated lunch bags and reusable bento box food containers
- Beeswax food and sandwich wraps.
- Portable stainless steel telescopic straws or stainless steel multi-size and width straw set for home
- Reusable snack bags and stay-fresh silicone food storage bags
Reduce is the first of the three main “R‘s” or conservation rules for reducing or eliminating climate change–Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Use the ideas on the list below to reduce your impact on Earth.
- Power down, turn it off, and unplug it. Reduce your energy consumption. Power down, turn off, and unplug electrical appliances in your home when you leave the house and sleep at night. Look at the list below, “How to Reduce Energy Consumption at Home,” for more ideas.
- Reduce waste. 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, 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.” And maybe they’ll hand out less next time.
- Say No to Single-Use Plastics. “No, thank you” is one of my favorite phrases. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and plastic silverware or cutlery are incredibly harmful to the environment. So, do your best to reduce climate change by saying no to single-use plastics when offered.
- Purchase or Buy Less. Think in terms of priorities using needs and wants. Needs always get met, while things we want more than need go through a deliberation process in our home. Just remind children that not yet, doesn’t mean no. And when you need something, look for used, local, or handmade options whenever possible.
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 washing your hands and 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 you keep it on, set it low in the winter and high in the summer to use less energy. Start wearing extra clothes in the winter and less clothing in the summer to keep the need to turn on the heater, or the air conditioner, at bay.
The second of the three main “R‘s” or conservation rules is reuse, and you will notice that the ideas on the list below ride in tandem with reducing (above) and upcycling (below). And that’s why they have become the primary rules for reducing climate change and a common household phrase; reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Use green-to-go wear and reusable bottles and coffee cups.
- Shop at garage sales, thrift stores, used clothing stores, and Craigslist.
- Give and accept hand-me-downs.
- Save recyclables and DIY scraps for crafts and projects. (If you don’t do a lot of arts & crafts or DIY projects, this is not the tip for you–it will only produce clutter!)
11. Recycle or Upcycle and Renew.
The third main “R” of conservation is recycling, upcycling, or renewing! Try the ideas below to reduce climate change in your home.
- 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. First, invite children to collect, take out, and sort the recyclables in your home to redeem for cash. Next, allow them to buy a special treat with the money they make or put it towards their college savings.
- Upcycle or Renew. Keep an organized “upcycle” bin in your house filled with items that can be made into something else or renewed. You can transform many things from trash into treasure. Use recyclables and things you find at thrift stores to make upcycled or recycled crafts, games, furniture, toys, etc. For example, invite kids to make birdhouses out of toilet paper rolls or upcycled Easter Baskets from recycled materials.
12. Plant a Tree
Helping Mother Earth and all her varied creatures thrive now and into the future by planting trees (or supporting companies that do) is a beautiful activity to help reduce climate change. My family is fortunate to have planted several beautiful trees.
We have a few tips to help you get started. Learn how to plant a tree–> HERE. And if you can’t plant a tree, hug a tree! I like to get outside and hug trees daily for my psychological health, happiness, and well-being. Give it a try!
Use the Power of Habit To Help REduce Climate Change
If these green living tips to reduce climate change seem daunting–I suggest trying one thing at a time. Build a culture and weekly rhythm in your home, classroom, or workplace that supports everyone in working toward creating positive change in their lives.
Read about the incredible power of habit to make positive lasting change second nature. Your children will learn to follow your example. And, if you haven’t already, grab a copy of the QuickStart Weekly Planning Guide to help you plan a strong daily and weekly rhythm in your home or classroom.
And don’t forget to download our Earth Day Printables (for use any day of the year) and these gorgeous climate change coloring pages from Adventure in a Box for you and your kids (or students). The ideas in this post inspired my friend Liska to create a beautiful coloring page with twelve ideas to help kids reduce climate change.
As mentioned above, you will notice that her list of ways to reduce climate change for kids slightly differs from ours but aligns perfectly. I think she did a fantastic job, and–she gave us a free copy as the source of her inspiration. Thanks, Liska–you’re amazing! Thank you for joining me in “being the change you wish to see” and becoming a #1 Model Citizen for our children’s future. Get your climate change coloring poster HERE!
Green Living Ideas: Helping Children Learn to Make Sustainable Choices That REduce Climate Change
Caring for the Earth and making environmentally sustainable choices to reduce climate change are important skills to share with our children. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Earth Day green living ideas and parenting tips for Kids.
Let’s remind our children that the Earth’s future depends on our choices today and encourage them to commit to “one small change” at a time by turning each one into a pledge to the Earth. Download the Pledge to the Earth Printable or the entire Activity Pack to use at home with kids (or adults) or the students in your classroom.
But remember, no one is perfect. We all have not-so-great habits that are challenging to give up. And mistakes are how we learn to do better next time. So, don’t forget to go easy on yourself and your children, as we all learn to treat our “Mother” (Earth and nature) a little better. Every little bit helps. A bucket would never be full if not for each drop.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!