Getting the community involved with the preservation of their local area is important, but kids are sometimes overlooked as being part of the community.
In fact, incorporating children in local green activities is essential to the cause – you are passing on the values and actions that can make a difference. You are showing your children that you care about their future, and
want to teach them to preserve their own communities.
Whether you involve your own children or the children of your place of worship, school, workplace, and so forth, it’s important to teach kids about preserving their community.
Remember, the future of the environment is in children’s hands. We won’t be around forever to show them what to do or explain the situation. It’s important that children learn to take responsibility for the upkeep and wellbeing of the environment.
But how do you get children involved? Here are some ideas on the kinds of green activities you can initiate or participate in that will incorporate children.
Recycling is probably the number one activity that people think of when they think of going green. It’s also a good introduction for teaching children about going green. You can make recycling a game, mounting baskets and bins on the wall so kids can toss in the different items.
Open their eyes to the recyclables around them – play “I spy” when you are out and spy all the recyclable items you see. Teach kids to reuse by making crafts from items in your recycling bins. Cardboard boxes and tubes, soup cans, and plastic bottles can all be made into interesting crafts and gifts.
Another way to involve community kids in recycling is to set up a recycling program in your local schools. Work with the principal and other faculty to provide easily accessible bins around the school grounds.
Depending on the location of your community, the biggest challenge is likely going to be getting the recyclables to the local recycling center. First, focus on reusing as much of the recyclables as possible so that fewer items have to be transported. Then, see if you can partner with other schools to arrange for regular trips to the recycling center.
Gardening is a wonderful way for children to learn about the environment. As they nurture and protect the plants they are responsible for, they will have a better understanding and motivation to protect and preserve the plants and trees in nature.
Many schools are open to a student garden. If the grounds do not permit, see if the school can use a vacant lot or field. And some of the school’s waste can be used to cultivate the garden – kitchen scraps, paper (schools use a lot of paper), and lawn trimmings can be composted and used on the garden. If foods are grown in the garden, the school can use the produce in making nutritious lunches.
3. Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up Day
Children can really enjoy participating in a neighborhood clean-up day. It’s their neighborhood, after all, and they will take pride in keeping it clean. If you organize it with kids in mind, they will look forward to doing it regularly. Provide snacks and drinks for breaks, and when you organize the volunteers into groups, make sure the children are assigned to an area that is safe for them to clean.