Getting kids involved in the green movement is easier the younger children are, since they’re more susceptible to learning new things. Unless your teen has a passion for sustainability and the green movement, teens and college-aged individuals can be a little trickier to convince since they’re always on the go and tend to lean toward convenience foods and beverages. However, it is possible to get kids to take the green plunge at any age, and we can help with these five tips!
1. Show Them A Film Or Documentary
A great way to get your children on board with your green efforts is by having them watch a documentary or a movie about environmental issues. Kids and teens sometimes like to disagree with their parents just for the sake of disagreeing, but they’ll be more interested in getting involved if they hear the suggestion coming from someone else. Or, let them watch these films and see if they make the suggestion before you even have to say anything!
- Dr. Seuss’ – “The Lorax” is a great movie which gets kids excited about doing something to help the environment, and is perfect for kids, teens, and adults alike.
- “WALL-E” is another great choice, which is a film that depicts Earth covered with garbage. Also perfect for all ages.
- “Saving My Tomorrow” a family-friendly film which follows a group of kids who are helping the environment.
- “Cowspiracy” is a film about environmental issues and sustainability, and is better fit for teens and adults due to some graphic content.
- “Happy Feet” covers issues such as overfishing and pollution and how it has endangered the Antarctic and its inhabitants.
- “Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest” teaches viewers about conservation, pollution, and problems with junk food.
- “Chicken Run” follows a group of chickens who have escaped from a British poultry farm.
2. Try Meatless Mondays
Aside from the health benefits of eating less meat, cutting back on meat is also beneficial to the environment. A great way to get your kids to eat less meat is by enforcing Meatless Mondays. Many schools have even jumped on board with the Meatless Monday trend, so it shouldn’t be hard to get your child to go completely meat-free for at least one day each week even if they are purchasing a lunch at school.
If you pack a lunch for your child, you can easily make a meatless lunch with something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a handful of almonds and carrot sticks on the side. When you make meals that don’t require meat, kids won’t even realize that they have gone a full day without chicken nuggets.
Other easy meals that do not require meat are spaghetti with marinara sauce, bean and vegetable chili, vegetable minestrone soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetable stir fry, macaroni and cheese, wild rice pilaf, and much more! Check out One Green Planet for other environmentally-friendly kid-friendly recipe ideas.
3. Go Plastic Free
The only thing better than recycling is reducing waste, and you can do your part by foregoing single-use plastic products such as plastic water bottles, single-use cutlery, plastic straws, plastic bags, etc. Get your kids excited about ditching plastic by purchasing BPA-free reusable water bottles in their favorite color, along with a water filter for the household to use.
Show your kids where to find the water pitcher in the fridge instead of searching for the case of water bottles from the store. By refusing to purchase plastic water bottles, you will also be saving money in the long run. Bottled water is expensive, and it’s only tap water! 44 percent of bottled water is actually just municipal tap water that has undergone purification and 56 percent is spring water that has been derived from underground springs.
Let your kids pick out reusable silverware, straws, and reusable shopping bags. Put them in charge of remembering to grab the reusable bags before your head out to the grocery store, and they’ll feel proud that they’re in charge of something so important.
4. Always Recycle
Maybe your household already recycles, but now is the time to start recycling if you don’t already. Keep recycling bins easily accessible in your home so that nobody is ever tempted to throw recyclables into the trash. If you’re stocked up on paper grocery bags from the shopping trips before you used reusable bags, you can put those bags to good use by using them as bags for holding your recyclables.
You can even make a game out of recycling. Create a recycling bin or bag for each member of the family and whoever has the most recyclables in their bag on recycling day wins a prize!
5. Start A Garden
Starting a garden in your yard is a great way to get your kids involved in the green movement. Showing kids how food is grown helps them to appreciate the food that they have, and they may be more interested in eating their leafy greens if they watched them grow all summer long! Gardens provide a great learning experience for kids, and can help to give kids the hands-on learning that they love and appreciate.
By teaching your kids about the importance of sustainability, you will be helping to create a better world for today’s children and future generations. Little habits such as reducing food and water waste, using less plastic and single-use materials, eating less meat and animal products, recycling, and remembering to turn off lights can all make a difference!
Photo Credit: Pixabay
About the Author
Alexandra Beane writes for www.wheelsforwishes.org covering topics such as recycling, health awareness, and family activities. She holds a BA in Professional Writing and can be found cooking, writing, reading, volunteering, and rescuing animals in her spare time. Alexandra is on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/alexandrabeane.