Explaining the ideas behind resource conservation, big picture planning for the planet, and preserving natural ecologies to younger children makes waste management seem difficult, abstract, and uninteresting. Instead, you could focus on the practical habits that will help them become responsible adults by teaching them how to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Kids often want new toys, however nothing is more environmentally friendly than reusing old toys. Finding families with children who want to save some money while providing their kids with the entertainment they need should be easy. The tricky part may be getting your child to make the most of the opportunity, as they may want specific toys from specific brands. With the right messages, you should be able to convince them that toy swapping is the right thing to do.
Reusable Plates and Cutlery
Kids eat one out of three meals of their day at school, and that means plenty of brown paper bags, aluminum foil, cling wrap, and other wrappings that end up in the trash by the end of the school year. Reusable dinnerware is affordable and fun, coming in bright colours and a variety of sizes. Let your kids pick out their favourite patterns and ask them to take responsibility for bringing them home every day after school.
Turning Waste into Art
Art projects are great for rainy days, but they don’t always need to involve a trip to the local craft store to pick up supplies. Old plastic jars and fabric scraps can be used to make models and toys or neat looking containers to organize your belongings by:
- Beads and buttons
- Paint brushes
- Small toys
- Loose papers
Gardening for Kids
Playing out in the mud doesn’t have to mean making mud pies and splashing in puddles — in fact it can be productive and fun. You’ll be in charge of most of the responsibilities, but for the easier parts of tending to a garden, having an extra set of hands will certainly help. Your kids can pull out their favourite digging tool and help you move the dirt so you can remove weeds and plant your seedlings.
The most important part of waste management for kids is to make it fun and to take your time! As with all habits, it will take most kids some getting used to so make sure that you give everyone including yourself some room to learn the ropes.