loose parts display of grimms and grapat and myers natrual toys

Earth Day — How do you Teach your Kids?

  • Emily 

Each year as earth day rolls around the kids and I talk about changes we can make in our day to day lives to live more responsibly.

Sometimes it means using less of things, sometimes using different things, sometimes it means looking for ways to use things longer, and other times it means making new choices next time you shop.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Wood toys are amazing for play–but I also really love how most breaks can be fixed, unlike many of their plastic counterparts. Would you believe this tree has been broken and fixed? Can you see it? (And. as my husband says “they’re compostable too”)

Through play, we teach the kids about our local and extended environment. We model ecosystems and talk about the local wildlife.

I was so thrilled the first time the kids saw a redwinged blackbird while were out on a walk and recognized it! “look mama! its just like the ones we play with!”

The best way to motivate children to care for the world around them is to teach them about it and to appreciate it.

When Mr9 was tiny we switched to stainless steel cups, bowls and plates as our tile floor was making quick work of the breakables. Since switching, we use them daily at home and often take them camping. The stainless steel bowls/plates/cups we use are no longer made, but i love them because they don’t have rolled edges where bits can get stuck and grow cultures. These double walled ones have the same clean features!

We were lucky to have the planet box lunch box sent to us to try out–but after trying it, I’m completely hooked. They can go in the dishwasher, they never smell bad, and hold a really great amount of food for the kids. We’ve started a new rule at our home: until the lunch food is gone, no other snacks are available. It wasn’t meant as a waste-oriented rule, but it serves that as well. Mainly–it gets the kids to eat the foods where they might otherwise say “thats not my favorite” (loosely interpreted 😉 )

Travel mugs and thermoses may be one of our most impactful changes–we almost always bring coffee from home now, and will pack a large thermos for after a long day outside. We save money on the drinks, and no disposable cups! I like the ceramic one for tea, and the stainless steel for everything else

For tea, I’ve switched to a combination of loose-leaf tea (prepared with this strainer) or bagged tea that does not have plastic in the bags so they are compostable. Have you tried the tea from Murchies? One of my favorites and they ship into the US as well as Canada!

We’ve tried composting a few times and given up quickly–This time we’re doing better-we’re months in and going strong! I’m really happy with this pail for its seamless bottom (easy to clean) and with the composting bags, its been quick and easy to empty. We’re able to put our compost into the yard waste bin which helps!

As you peruse options, don’t feel like you have to go shopping for new things right away. Buying more now isn’t always the answer. As our old plastic clips fail, we’re swapping out for metal clips in the kitchen and wood clips for laundry. But no hurry for now–the ones we have still work!

One of our most recent changes is cloth napkins. The kids love picking out their napkin for the day (sometimes a whale, sometimes an otter, or berries), and really, they feel nicer on the face and do a better job than the paper ones. We got ours at Modern Rascals–aren’t they cute?!

We use cloth dishcloths for most kitchen messes too. My favorites are these from Ikea–cheap enough that we don’t hesitate to use them, and use them we do!

In the Bathroom we’ve made a couple of changes too. I’ve switched to shampoo bars–I tried out of curiosity after seeing them shared by @playroomactivities , and I’ve been so happy with them! Plastic free, and they last longer than a bottle of shampoo!

Our old towels were falling apart, and when we got new ones, we opted for thinner towels made by Sand Cloud. They’re looped only on one side (just as absorbent!) and take so much less space in the washing machine. Less water to wash them, they dry faster after each use and stay fresh longer for it.

How about clothes? We shop second hand a lot– there is so much great stuff if you check out the BST boards on Facebook.

I’ve had a harder time shopping second hand for bigger kid sizes, so when we’re shopping new, I try to find brands where the workers are paid a living wage and work in good conditions. Sometimes these cost a bit more—but back to the BST boards–they tend to hold up better and then resell well because of it.

Duns and Villervalla are two of our favorites!

Books! When shopping, we pick them up second hand when possible, and pass them on or trade with friends when we’re ready for something new.

What do you do at home? what are you hoping to try?

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