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Teaching Green Values

The choices we make in our home and in our lives will forever affect our children and all of the following generations. Here are a few ideas for ways to help your child be more environmentally aware.

1. Toy Swaps: Children outgrow their toys quickly. In order to reduce waste and save a little money in the process, set up periodic toy swaps. Parents and their children can take old and unwanted toys to swap out for newer, more age-appropriate toys. If you can’t do a toy swap, find a consignment toy shop in your area. It is better for toys to be reused than to keep producing new toys.

2. Green Birthday Parties: Children’s birthday parties create a lot of waste. Usually used items include:  paper plates, plastic utensils, balloons, party favors, invitations, and wrapping paper. Try sending invites by email, text messaging or by making phone calls. Use reusable plates and utensils. If possible, get creative with decorations and party favors.

3. Grow a Garden Together: One great way to teach sustainability to your child is by growing a garden with them. It can be a great bonding experience and a science lesson. Most importantly, it will set an example and hopefully form a new habit which will influence our environment.

4. Set an Example: Kids develop habits early on based on what they see and experience. Set an example by eliminating the use of products like paper or plastic bags and paper plates. Use environmentally safe cleaning products, start biking instead of driving, and buy local or recycled products. Explain to your children why you make the decisions you do and hopefully they will use the same thought process in their daily lives.

5. Make Music: Use household items to make musical instruments. An old cereal box and a few rubber bands can make a great guitar. Old coffee containers can make a cool set of drums. Some toilet paper rolls filled with beans and closed off with wax paper held by rubber bands make wonderful shakers.

6. Unplug: By reducing the amount of energy we use can make a big difference. Explain to your children the impact of their television watching and computer use on the environment. As an alternative, sit down and read books together. Color, play a board game or go outside. Keep your children active and creative so that they won’t rely on electricity for entertainment.

7. Play Games: View the links below with your child. They include video games and more fun activities which teach environmental awareness.

http://www.kidsbegreen.org/
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/kids/
http://www.epa.gov/students/index.html

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