These days many people are learning how to protect the environment and save energy. Here are some ideas for involving  your child in going green at home. You will reduce the resources your family uses, set a positive example, and help your child learn how to help take care of the world.

Recycle

Call the recycling center or search online to find out what materials you can recycle. Create bins for each category, such as paper, plastic, and aluminum. Label the bins with words and pictures so your child knows to place materials in the right bins.

Adjust the thermostat

Setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer in the summer or cooler in the winter will lower your utility bills. Everyone can wear a sweater or sweatshirt in the cooler months or snuggle up under a blanket.

Shut off the water

Remind your child to save water by turning off the faucet when she brushes her teeth or washes her hands. 

Pick up litter

Go for a weekly cleanup walk in your neighborhood. You and your child can both wear gloves and carry a trash bag. Point out paper or cardboard trash, so your child can pick it up. It’s safest to leave glass, cans, and other sharp objects for other green neighbors to pick up. This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about where to place litter—in trash cans!

Plant a garden

Gardening is a fun and interesting way for your child to learn about plants, nature, and science. Plus, plants help keep the air clean by filtering pollutants and releasing oxygen. If you don’t have the space, try potted house plants or a container garden on the patio.

Use less paper

Purchase washable napkins in various colors or patterns.  Assign each family member a particular napkin to use at mealtimes for a few days.  Cut paper towels in half—half a sheet is usually enough for most uses. 

 


Source: Adapted from M. MacMillan, 2008, "Ways to Go Green in the Classroom," 10X, Teaching Young Children 2 (1): 6–7.

© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education