All of us want to leave the world a better place for children and generations to come. The easiest way to help that vision come true is to teach children about the importance of recycling and preserving resources.
Children are great imitators and learn so much from their family and friends. We can incorporate recycling and small gestures into our lives, to help children see the small daily actions reduce our waste. By doing this we pass on important morals and values to children and instill an appreciation for nature within them.
Easy ways to reduce plastic waste in your household
1. Avoid plastic water bottles. Plastic does not fully break down, and it takes about 450 years for one water bottle to break down into smaller pieces in the landfill or ocean. Say you drink one water bottle a day that is 365 water bottles a year that could easily be replaced with one reusable water bottle! Fun activity! Find a reusable water bottle and have your child draw fun designs on the sides.
2. Pack an eco-friendly free lunch. This can be time-consuming but use this as bonding time with your child! Spend a Sunday baking healthy snacks to put in their lunches. Use glass containers and a reusable lunch bag and send them to school with a zero-waste lunch.
3. Say NO to straws and plastic utensils! 500 Million straws are used every day in the United States, most of which end up in the ocean or landfills endangering marine animals. Pack a comfort package in your bag in your car with reusable utensils such as bamboo or stainless steel and paper or glass straws (Paper straws are great for children!). Glass Sipper has many cute glass straws with animals on them. Fun activity! Ask your child how they can reduce their waste while eating and have them help you pack a food comfort package.
4. Bring reusable shopping bags to the store. It is hard to remember these reusable shopping bags since our generation is not used to it. It is important we remember to bring them to set an example for our children, so they grow up with it being the norm. An easy way to remember bags is by placing them back in your car when you finishing putting away groceries or by placing them near the door on your way out.
5. Cut out juices and sodas that come in plastic packaging. Soda is not good for your health or the environment, reducing your consumption is beneficial in so many ways. You can buy juices in Tetra Paks and cans that you mix yourself at home. Not only do they help the environment they are usually less expensive.
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to spare. In recent news, many cities have been struggling to provide safe clean water for residents. It takes a lot of energy and resources to bring water into your home and even though most of us are used to water in our houses, we should remember this is a luxury a lot of people do not have.
Why should we conserve water?
Although most of the world is covered in water 97 percent of it is salt water, two percent is in the icecaps and one percent left is available for drinking. When we conserve water, we can minimize the effects of drought and water shortages, preserve environments and help ensure we have a sustainable supply of water for future generations.
Teaching children how to conserve water is easiest when you lead by example!
Ways to Conserve Water
- Wet your tooth bush and only turn on the tap when you need to. Turning off the tap while brushing teeth can save up to 8 gallons of water a day!
- Time your showers. Create a playlist or set an alarm for the time limit you would like to spend in the shower. Shortening your shower by a minute or two can save up to 150 gallons a month.
- When washing dishes don’t let the water run, fill up the sink and use that.
- Use one glass for drinking water per day or use a reusable water bottle. This will help cut down on dishes.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. After using the water to water plants.
- Walk through your house and replace any old toilets, taps or shower heads with energy efficient ones.
W5Go’s UNSDG Water Goals and Water Mobile App
In this episode on Water, we aim to spread awareness of the importance of clean water, how it affects the environment and who depends on clean and reliable water sources. By teaching children how to conserve, clean and protect the water we are encompassing UNDSG’s 6th Clean water and Sanitation & 14th Life below water goals.
Explore the who, what, where, when and why’s of Water! In this augmented and virtual reality enabled the mobile app, discover the many forms of water and why it is a vital part of life. For children 3-12! This app is free, contains no ads, no in-app purchases and does not require wi-fi.
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference… Try sleeping with a mosquito in the room”- Dalai Lama
“One person can’t change the world!”
A lot of people have the idea that one person cannot change the world, but they can! Every little bit of conservation helps and when one person starts something others often join and it becomes a movement. If your child is struggling to see the point in these lifestyle changes let them know that although it may be difficult to see their efforts making a difference, every small action counts.
FUN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES
For one hour once a year communities come together to turn off as many lights and electronics as possible.
Earth Hour Activities:
– Have children turn off as much as they can (Identify Energy Usage)
– Go for a hike! With most of the lights off in the city, it is easier to see the stars
– Play board games by candlelight
– Have a party by candlelight
Throw an Eco-Friendly Party
Have a birthday coming up? Plan it with your child to try and make it as eco-friendly as possible.
– Avoid balloons! They are not biodegradable and end up in the ocean. Try decorating with tissue pompoms, or paper banners.
– If possible use your own dishes. No one wants to clean a pile of dishes but just remember you’re preventing plastic from potentially making its way to the ocean. This is a great way to lead by example.
Family Movie Night
Grab the popcorn and have a family movie night. There are many great documentaries about the planet and recycling. BBC’s Blue Planet series is beautifully done and will have you and your children in awe of spectacular footage of animals and landscapes around the world. This is a great way for children to learn about animals and their habitats.
Join a Cause
A lot of cities will have runs, climbs and other events to raise funds and awareness for different causes. These events are usually very family friendly and are a great example to children how a community can come together to achieve something.
Family Friendly Events in Toronto
The Toronto Zoo run is a course through the Toronto Zoo to help raise funds for the animals. During the race, you run past the enclosures and a lot of people dress up as their favourite animal.
The Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada’s annual Walk of Life supports over 25 cardiac rehab programs and cardiac health-related organizations across Canada. The event offers six different distances at the Ontario Science Centre, giving people of all ages and abilities a chance to participate. Choose from a 1k, 3k, or 5k walk, or a 5k or 10k timed run.