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Teaching children to be Green

April 12th, 2009 / 8 Comments

John over at Modern Parent wrote a post on Live a Green Life that made me think about being more green.

I am not wasteful, but I’ve never purposely taught my children to be responsible with earth’s resources. My husband is always good about reminding the kids to turn off the light when they leave the room. But I am usually the culprit who leaves the light on.

Honestly, I don’t believe in going overboard and obsess about not leaving your carbon footprint and all that. But it’s a good idea for children to learn to be appreciative of what we have and not be wasteful.

Here are a few simple things I do to teach my children to be green:

1. Reuse school supplies. Don’t buy a new pencil box or a new backpack every year. You can creatively alter the old ones with stickers, paint, or permanent markers. That way, it’s customized and personalized for the new school year. 

2. Use old clothes as rags. I hardly buy paper towels or dish rags. There are always old clothes that are too worn to give to the Salvation Army.  I tell the kids to put them in the rag basket. This includes t-shirts with school names on them that they’ve outgrown because it is unlikely that Goodwill can resell those.

3. Save used paper as scratch paper. We have a drawer for scratch paper – school announcements, old homework, junk mail, etc. Whenever the kids want to draw, or make a to do list, they know to go to the drawer. Use the scratch paper instead of buying notepads.

4. Reuse report folders. I know it doesn’t cost much to buy those covers for reports, but why not reuse the old ones? After the book  report or state report has been graded, take off the cover to be used again for the next assignment. Save the content by stapling the pages together. 

5. Use reusable lunch packaging material. I put my daughter’s sandwich and fruits into reusable plastic containers instead of sandwich bags. Instead of paper napkins, use cloth. 

What other green ideas for kids do you have?

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  1. Love the ideas! I posted a bullet on my ‘Spring Cleaning’ post about re-using old socks to help move furniture too.

  2. Thanks, Suzette. There must be a million uses for old socks!

  3. I don’t have any ideas, specifically, but I will say what I’ve learned: Kids like to think of recycling ideas! 🙂 Also, kids like to remind their parents to recycle. I have great hope for future greens based on my children’s interest in reminding me not to waste plastic.

  4. Thanks for mentioning my green post! I also love your list — I think it is very important to start teaching kids about the environment, then it is more likely they will carry on through adulthood.

  5. I think one of the greatest green gifts you can give your kids is to help them notice nature.

    Here’s an easy idea to get your family observing:
    Observing Nature Through a Window

  6. Every little bit helps. The more you tell your kids, “we are go to do this because it is a nice thing to do for our planet”. The more you will notice other easy things you can also do. The kids are likely to start telling you not to be wasteful…lol.

  7. We always try to put paper and empty containers in the recycling bin instead of the trash. I’ve been trying to buy greener cleaning products and organic milk & produce. I also try to bring reusable bags to the grocery store when shopping. Every little bit helps.

  8. […] are just a few alternatives to TV: 1. Make and fly paper airplanes (use scratch paper, of course). Hold a […]


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