Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability with Kids

Sometimes, explaining the big concepts to kids about how we can do the best thing for the planet is a hard place to start. At the same time, summer is a great time for kids activities and getting kids to help in the garden is a great way to start establishing great helping habits!
I know a number of Mums and Dads who have asked me before, how do I get my kids to get excited about recycling, growing their own food and living sustainably?

Well I am here to help you!

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Topic: Kitchen waste

Fruit and vegetable waste

Problem: When any food waste goes into our garbage bins and then into landfill it creates methane gas as it breaks down, this is then released into the atmosphere and is a big contributor to greenhouse gases.

Solution- start a worm farm. Pop a covered bucket or ice-cream container with a lid on the kitchen bench, fill with waste and then get the kids to feed it to the worms- easiest pets ever! The kids will love feeding the worms and then using both the worm wee and casting on the garden.

Most councils have great resources on how to start and look after a worm farm or take the kids to a local workshop – just check out the website for your local area.

Also think about and investigate the possibility of having backyard chickens, again they are great pets and the kids will love them. They will also demolish most of your kitchen waste not just fruit and veg scraps. Chicken Manual coming up onto the website soon!

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Cardboard/Paper

Problem: Every piece of cardboard or paper requires a tree to be cut down. However, used cardboard or paper is a great resource that when recycled will save thousands of trees.

Solution: All cardboard or paper can be recycled- form the cereal packet to the box the new TV came in- they just need to be flattened so you can maximise you recycling capacity and free of plastic.

Firstly make it a game. Any boxes both large and small get the kids to see if they can find any sticky tape or packaging tape on them and take it off then see how fast they can flat pack it.

Put a bin in the toilet to collect all the cardboard centres form the toilet paper  rolls and when it is full get the kids to jump on them to flatten, who ever flattens the most wins!

If you read newspapers, collect them all together and use them for mulch in your garden. Make a game of it by telling the kids that its a “blanket” for the plants and get them to cover ALL the ground with the newspaper – no holes please! Then get them to help sprinkling straw ontop of the newspaper and water it all in.

Plastic containers

Problem: Plastics are made form are made from non renewable resources and take up lots of space in landfill and take thousands of years to breakdown.

Solution: Most of us already know that plastic containers have a number printed in a triangle on the bottom to indicate if they can be recycled or not- check out http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/ if you are not sure what your council will take.

Have a number of lidded bins, I find the flip tops ones great, and on the lids place a big 1, 2 or 3 up to what number your council collects. Then make it a game where the kids have to check out the numbers on the bottoms of the plastic container and then place it in the bin with the same number, great for teaching you pre-schooler their basic numbers. It could be a race to see who can put the most containers into the bins or if you only have one chid at this stage, time them to see how fast they can do it.

For more information on why we SHOULD live sustainably, check out The Basics of Sustainable Living on the website.

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