How-To: Eco-Friendly Holiday Activities With Your Kids
Oh, how wondrous this time of year can be for children. From filling their bellies with warm meals to snowball fights with siblings and lots of shiny decorations, there is so much to look forward to. Amongst all of the joy, there are a lot of opportunities to teach kids the importance of Earth-friendly holiday habits that help keep our world spinning. Here are a few ways that we can reduce and reuse this holiday season with our favorite eco-helpers.
Craft From Reusables
There is so much stuff that we buy every year to decorate for the holidays, like themed centerpieces and shiny new ornaments. We say, save your money, and spend your time instead – with your kiddos!
Throughout the year, think twice before you throw certain items away. For example, paper and plastic bags, popsicle sticks, even clothes that can’t be donated. Put all of these items in a “reusable craft bin”. Instead of looking for holiday decor at your local superstore, open up the bin and brainstorm some DIY decorations ideas.
Then, set up a craft day and help teach your kids (or perhaps they’ll teach you) how to make fun and creative crafts for the holidays from these recycled items. Here are a few ideas of common items we usually buy, but with a little glue, time and creativity, we could make with our children instead:
- •Centerpieces and place-settings for holiday meals
- •Wrapping paper
- •Wall decor & tree ornaments
- •Paper bows & gift tags
- •Stockings & garland
Donate to Local Charities
A great way to give during the holidays is by donating items that you and your family no longer use or want. Sit down together and talk about the people in your community who may be in need this holiday season, and the importance of giving a helping hand. Also, how donating is an excellent way to implement reuse habits.
Have everyone collect 5-10 items that they are ready to donate this year and make deliveries together. If there is a child who is resistant to the idea of parting with their toys, perhaps getting them to pick an item from everyone else’s list to be donated to a local gift drop would help. Once they share in the experience, richer meaning and deeper joy will be found the next time around, when they consider offering up their own possessions.
Assign Tasks to Your Eco-Helpers
Kids love to be included in projects and tasks. They want to see, do, ask questions and help out. Help them develop great habits to reduce waste or reuse by mirroring yours. Even better, explain why each step is so important. Using single-use throw-aways every day should not be an ordinary habit. Here are a few ideas to keep your little ones involved in holiday help:
- •Let it be their job to carry the reusable grocery bags when you go shopping.
- •Set a nightly alarm on your phone that signifies the time to turn off the Christmas lights.
- •Bring your reusable Silipints when you’re running errands. Encourage them to hand the barista their own kid-friendly Half Pint when you stop for hot cocoa.
Remember to explain why it’s important to do these things and continue these habits even after the holidays.
Give An Experience
If you’re shopping for children’s gifts this year, consider giving them an experience rather than a physical item. Chances are, there will never be a shortage of toys in their lives, however, exposure to new ideas and surroundings is invaluable. So if you’re able, give an unforgettable memory, and the promise of quality time spent together. Here are a few ideas:
Picnic at a Wildlife Rescue. Local exhibits help teach kids how to respect nature, observe habitats and enjoy healthy fresh air & adventure.
Plan a Camping Trip. Attend a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop together to learn from certified trainers and pick out an outdoors destination to fit your combined interests and seasonal requirements.
Go to the Theater or Ballet. Combined with an ice cream and a fancy outfit, this culturally enriching experience will tap into their imaginations and broaden their interests.
Exploring Transportation Options. Plan a loop around your city or area by grouping together a day of train rides, trams, buses, bikes, and boats. With a bit of planning, you can explore your town in a new way, and introduce excellent alternatives to the normal car seat experience.
Whether you consider yourself an eco-conscious consumer year-round or perhaps you’re extra-inspired for this particular holiday season, we encourage you to just do your best during this hectic time of year. Remember it’s never too early to pass on your Earth-friendly wisdom to the children around you – they’re always listening and constantly watching. If we all take small steps towards more sustainable living, together we can make a brighter impact and cleaner future for all generations.