Share sustainable habits to improve the health of planet Earth–get started with this list of 12 green living tips for kids!
Caring for our environment and the Earth is an important value to share with our children. Below is a list of twelve ways to reduce climate change and help kids live a sustainable life. These eco-friendly green living ideas and positive parenting tips can help your family live in a greener world now and into the future. 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 a significant value to share with our children. Help your children learn how to live a low-impact, sustainable life with these green living tips and ideas for families. You might also enjoy this list of Earth Day activities and crafts.
Pick “one small change” that you can make from this list of ideas and commit to following through with an Earth Day Pledge to make the change a habit in your home. The Dream Life Tool Kit makes it easy to commit to making small changes that make a big difference over time. Scroll down to read a list of eco-friendly ideas to get you started.
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 do what they see the adults around them doing–they are like 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. 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. Your children will learn to make more sustainable choices if they see you 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, 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. And we each must do our part to reduce or minimize our impact on the natural world and the environment in which we live. Any day is an excellent day to pledge the health of our environment–Earth Day or not.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time.Baltimore Grotto
3. Make 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!
To avoid these harmful toxins in your home, learn how to make cleaning products. When kids grow up making DIY cleaning products, they are likely to continue to do so as adults. And we have several recipes to help you start making natural cleaning solutions in your home or workplace. Click the title of each recipe below 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 life skill to share with children. Learning how to grow food and knowing where it comes from is becoming a lost art. If it is impossible to have a garden where you live, consider container gardening. Another idea is to rent a plot in your city’s 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 families to 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. And we have some gardening tutorials to help you get started with organic gardening 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 that carry whole foods and animal products grown or raised near you exist in most towns and cities. Seek them out to do most of your shopping whenever possible.
And wherever you shop, choose whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Processed food is bad for your body, while the packaging and distance it travels to get to you are bad for our environment.
So, do your best to shop at thrift stores, garage sales, or Craigslist. And, when purchasing new items, do your best to shop locally and choose items made by local artisans and companies. 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. (See below)
6. Vote with Your Dollars & Sense
Vote with your dollars and common sense when you need to buy things. Support shops and companies 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 the city, state, or country where you live. And when you can’t vote with your dollars by paying companies doing their best to slow climate change or make our world a greener place to live.
Discussing these ideas with your children when they are ready to handle such concepts is an eco-conscious parent’s basic duty. Do some research 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.
7. Get Outside & Connect
Spending time in nature is beneficial to mental and physical health, and it also allows children to fall in love with the Earth and all of Mother Nature’s creatures. If we want our children to care for the Earth, they must get out and experience nature every day. It isn’t easy to care about something you have not experienced.
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. Look at this list of outdoor learning ideas and nature activities for even more fun outside activities for kids.
8. Go Green
Committing to making your family’s life on the go more sustainable is a great way to 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 more often than not. We know this isn’t always possible, depending on your situation, but many people make this choice daily. Give it a try!
- BYO-Bag – Bring-Your-Own reusable bags to all stores–not just the grocery store. My favorite bags originated in the town where my family currently lives, so I carry several Chico Bags in my car and keep one in my purse!
- Green To-Go – Use reusable to-go products to green 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. My favorite is their wide-mouth insulated travel mugs and bottles that keep drinks or food hot or cold for hours!
- Please do your best to help minimize single-use plastics and their environmental impact. A few more of our favorite reusable to-go products to 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
- Sandwich wraps and Beeswax food wraps
- Portable stainless steel telescopic straws or stainless steel multi-size and width straw set for home
- Reusable cloth snack bags or 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 – Reduce your energy consumption. Power down, turn off and unplug electrical appliances in your home when you leave the house or sleep at night. Young children watch and imitate everything we do as adults and will likely copy what we do. 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, 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. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and plastic silverware or cutlery are extremely harmful to the environment. Single-use plastics of all kinds are ruining our oceans, and there are plastic gyres the size of small countries floating around out there. So, do your best to reduce climate change by saying no to single-use plastics when offered.
- Purchase or Buy Less – Buy less–use 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 look for used, local, or handmade options–first–whenever you need something.
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, 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. 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.
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 garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist.
- Give and accept hand-me-downs.
- Save recyclables and DIY scraps for crafts and projects if you have an organized space. (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
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. For example, invite children to collect, take out, and sort the recyclables in your home to redeem for cash. Allow them to buy a special treat with their money or put it towards their college savings.
- Upcycle or Renew – Keep an “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 anything you find at the thrift store 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 beings 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 and hugged many trees in our lives. And we have a few tips to help you get started. Learn how to plant a tree–> HERE.
Use the Power of Habit To Help Kids REduce Climate Change
If these twelve 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 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.
As already mentioned, you will notice that her list of ways to reduce climate change for kids is slightly different than ours but align 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.
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” 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!