Kids today have been born into a world where recycling is not a nice-to-do; it is a necessity of life. If they’re old enough to watch the news, then they’ll undoubtedly be aware of how desperately our world needs the next generation to whole-heartedly embrace sustainability and to get creative in ways that we can solve the growing environmental crises faced by every one of us.
The best way to engage kids is to not focus on the doom-and-gloom, but to get them excited and show them that real change can be made by each and every one of them … and it can be FUN!
So, here’s our list of 6 fun ways to get the kids in your life thinking green.
1. Can Collection
Nothing will grab a kid’s attention faster than the opportunity to earn some extra cash – and collecting and recycling cans offers just this.
It also provides a win-win-win situation – we get our kids involved in reducing the rubbish on the street; we keep the cans out of landfill; and the kids get a little bit of cash for their efforts.
Check online for your nearest metal recycling station. The visit to the depot will be educational too!
2. Backyard Chooks
For this one you will need a backyard, but you don’t necessarily need a very large backyard.
There are some fantastic designs available on Pinterest that will show you how to turn a wooden pallet (often offered free) into a chicken tractor. This will allow you to keep 2 (or more) feathered ladies happily in your yard where they will gladly reduce your kitchen waste and repay you with delicious eggs.
Kids get so excited by collecting the eggs – it will never become a chore caring for these family pets.
3. Worm Composting
Worm composting has to be one of the easiest methods of recycling waste in your home. They range in size, so you don’t need a big backyard – you can easily keep a worm composting bin on your balcony.
You will be surprised by the amount of waste those slimy little guys will chew through on the daily. Bonus point here is they get to offer the nutrient-dense “worm juice” as gifts to neighbours or school gardening programs. Winning!
4. Make Your Own Paper
Making paper is a fantastic project to jump into with your kids. It provides an excellent opportunity to show that just because we have finished with something, it doesn’t mean that needs to be the end of that product’s life.
If you have kids you will undoubtedly have mountains of old artwork and craft projects (you can’t keep it all but you feel guilty for smuggling it into the recycling bin after they’re in bed). By researching paper making and agreeing to use their much-loved-but-pretty-worn artwork, you will be teaching a valuable lesson in sustainability and also giving new life to the paper resources used in their work.
Be sure to take photos of the artwork before sacrificing them, so you can keep digital copies forever – and regain surface space where the artwork was stored!
5. Regrow Your Leftovers
This is one seriously amazing recycling experiment that will astound both your friends and your kids. It involves saving the parts of vegetables and fruits that we would usually throw into the compost bin and planting them instead.
The only resources you need, aside from your leftover vege parts, are some small pots (or empty glass jars are great too), some soil (and some of that great worm juice) and your kids’ TLC to help their regrown food to flourish.
From celery, cabbage, lettuce and fennel to onions, mushrooms and pineapples, there are a great number of fruits and vegetables that lend themselves to this fantastic recycling method – and you’re going to be saving on your grocery bill too!
6. Upcycling CDs
Even though we live in a world where the CD is no longer a necessity, there still seems to be an endless pile of CDs in every person’s house. Whether they’re old software CDs or whether it’s your old catalogue of movies or music, none of us really need to use them in this day and age and, more over, they’re often scratched beyond usability (if they’ve seen the under-side of a couch one too many times).
A great way to help the kids discover ways to upcycle, rather than recycle, is to get them involved in some “upcycled CD artwork”. Pinterest is packed full of inspiration, but some of the most impressive works include creating mosaics on mirror frames and picture frames; creating earrings and other jewellery; or just stringing them up and hanging in the garden as beautiful sun-catchers.
Super simple and a great one for kids to take ownership or and create something beautiful that is better for our environment.