Teaching kids (and parents) to be eco-friendly can be even more effective when the whole school community gets involved.
Each year on April 22nd, Earth Day comes around and it is a perfect time to remember to treat our environment and our planet right. It’s also a great teaching opportunity for our kids, who are growing up in a more eco-friendly world than we did, and a time to remind them what it means to be green. While we can talk composting, turning off the lights (saves energy and our hard earned money too!), and recycling at home, sometimes kids can get really into doing good as a group activity, like at school. Aside from bringing the group together for a good cause, one of the best results is kids teaching adults how to care. Here are some ways for getting your school community to be Earth Day active.
Most of the ideas for getting your school community to go green go beyond just a day to do the right thing. These ideas can be habit forming and will benefit your community and the Earth. You can also talk to your kids about bringing the green feeling home to your house. Make it table conversation rather than a lecture, then watch them partake in school - you’ll see that they want to care and carry it on.
Also, set an example yourself! If your kids see you caring for the environment, they’ll know that it’s the right thing to do. Sure, at first it wasn’t as natural for many of us, but no excuses now. Earth Day is all the rage and being eco-friendly has been around so long you can’t really remember when you didn’t need to be (aside from the fact none of our memories seem so sharp anymore!).
Community Ideas for Earth Day Activities
- Clean Up: Gather volunteers to go around the school grounds picking up trash. You would be surprised how much is there - either from the students and teachers, others who use the school grounds or just from trash blowing over from other places.
- Green Lunch: We are talking about packing lunches that create zero garbage. The movement is actually called "Trash the Trash" and moves to pack lunches in reusable bags, utilize thermoses rather than water bottles or juice boxes, and pack chips, cookies and crackers (bought in bulk) into reusable containers rather than using the individual snack packs. You can even go as far as packing real silverware (not the good stuff) as opposed to plastic. A great option is to buy fruits, veggies and meats locally so you can give kids a healthy lunch that has supported local farms and agriculture.
- Carpool: If you live in neighborhoods where kids can walk to school, organize walking groups (monitored by different parents) to walk or bike to school. If that’s not realistic, then either organize carpools or suggest everybody take the bus to and from school rather than driving.
- Plant A Garden: Get volunteers with green thumbs (or not) to plant bulbs, plants and flowers to beautify the school property. Or get the goods donated and talk to the principal and teacher about having the planting be a hands-on project for the kids.
- Donate School Supplies: Ask parents to gather up gently used school supplies that might otherwise eventually find their way to the trash/landfill. Look for pencils, pens, notebooks, even backpacks and donate them. Weed through the castoffs to make sure they are useable and in good shape, then bring to those who would benefit and appreciate them, like a homeless shelter or boys and girls club.
There are tons of other ways for getting your kids school or your community to participate during Earth Day, like a green-themed reading night or an Earth Day "black out." Whatever you decide to do, get on your PTA agenda’s ASAP to figure it out.
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