Teaching Children How to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

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Learning about the environment at school can often serve as an inspiration for children to think more consciously at home. Since sustainable practices learned young are often carried into adulthood, this is a perfect time to get them engaged in environmentally-friendly activities at home.

If your children are coming to you and asking for ways to better the world around them, don’t get caught uninspired. Try out these ideas with them and keep the passion for sustainably alive.

Deputize the ‘litter police’

One easy way to get kids active and involved in beautifying the world around them is to think about litter. It’s everywhere, even in small quantities, and going on a ‘trash walk’ as a member of the ‘litter police’ puts the responsibility in your kids’ hands to pick that litter up.

This activity gets kids moving, allows them to see the immediate impact of their efforts and hunting down litter is just plain fun. Tackle your own neighborhood, head up to their school on the weekend or even do a walk before playing at the park.

Plant a family vegetable garden

If you have the space, section off a portion of your backyard for a family vegetable garden. Get the soil ready and then take your kids with you to pick out plants and seeds. Let them plant their favorite vegetables along with some of yours too. Setting up a green bean teepee is always fun to watch grow, and the twirling vines of cucumber plants really show you a plant’s progress. 

As you plant, talk about how eating the food you grow yourself is better for the environment since there’s no truck that has to deliver the produce to the grocery store, and because you know you’re growing these items without any harmful chemicals. 

Set up a watering schedule that keeps the kids involved throughout the process, then harvest, eat and enjoy.

Put the ‘3 R’s’ into action

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These are the very important 3 R’s of the environment, and they translate to a variety of kid-friendly activities. 

  • Time how long your child spends in the shower, then challenge them to reduce that time by a full minute. This reduction in water use is a great way to do something small with a big impact.
  • Instead of throwing out empty plastic containers, have your kids reuse the bottles as planters. Cut the top off of each bottle, and you’ve got vessels for an indoor herb garden.
  • Make a list of all the recyclable items you and your family use and have your child create an illustrated chart. Put it up by the trash can to make sure everyone is putting the right materials into the recycle bin.

Walk or bike to school

If you’re able to leave the car at home once a week and walk or bike with your child to school, put it in the calendar. Every time you opt to not drive somewhere, you’re decreasing your carbon footprint and putting fewer harmful emissions into the air.

Even if you drive halfway, and walk the rest, because of distance, you’re making an impact.

Take a conscientious trip to the grocery store

Many of the items we buy, especially at the grocery store, come in packaging that isn’t recyclable. Next time you’ve got a grocery list to fill, grab your child and head to the store together. Ask them to look at each product and think about what the packaging will do to the environment. Try to shop for brands that use biodegradable packaging over plastic.

Bring along those reusable shopping bags from home too so you won’t have to pack everything up in single-use bags once you’re at the checkout.

Pack a sustainable lunch

Lunches from home are delicious and are full of exactly what your kids want to eat, but they create a lot of trash. All those individually-bagged snacks, juice boxes, and plastic sandwich baggies quickly add up. As an alternative, ask your child to pick out some reusable lunch pouches in their favorite design. Use these every day for their sandwich and buy snacks in bulk to fill those pouches with too. Instead of a juice box, send your child to school with a reusable water bottle they can fill throughout the day. For messier items, you can even pop in some small Tupperware.

As long as your child remembers to bring all the reusable items home, you can significantly reduce the waste their daily lunches generate (and they can brag about that too.)

We’re all responsible for making the world a better place

Last but not least, reduce your tailpipe emissions from school pick-ups to sports practices to everyday travel with Twice Daily Thrive! With every gallon pumped at participating Twice Daily stores, you are offsetting your emissions by up to 30%! Stay green while you drive all year round.

It’s not just us grown-ups that are responsible for thinking sustainably and making small changes to help our big world. Children are very capable of doing their part as well, and teaching them now how to live sustainably will make them better at it as they grow.