Wondering what you and your kids can do to preserve the earth? In case you need help getting started, here are some simple suggestions in honor of Earth Day,.
Create a situation where some small person in your house can be the boss of all things recycling. In first grade, Madeleine's school created a special program where kids were specially selected to monitor energy usage at the school. Kids as young as six and seven went from classroom to classroom to audit the habits of the teachers as well as their students. Were they remembering to turn off lights when they left the room? Were they recycling properly? Madeleine was delirious to be chosen and happier still to have a clipboard and pen to check off the boxes. This responsibility taught Madeleine plenty about what simple measures are required to save energy, and she's a regular know it all when I try to tell her why it's important to care about conservation and recycling.
Introduce your kids early and often to the wonders of gardening. Nothing says love the earth like a garden in your own backyard. If you (like me) have no green thumb to tackle a full fledged garden, consider container gardening on a windowsill or back step. We might not be able to keep tomatoes alive in the ground, but we can do a bang up job with a pot full of basil or mint. Helping kids have a first hand experience with growing something is a very tangible reminder that the earth is a living, thriving planet that must be protected for the good of all.
Become the kind of family that walks, bikes and hikes together. Kids (like the rest of us) can forget that there are many forms of transportation that do not require us to participate in excessive gas consumption. Walk whenever possible and make a point of creating little adventures along the way. Start with short distances and choose the simplest mode of transportation available whenever possible. Carter's science education in kindergarten made him very aware of the impact cars have on the planet, so we make it a special point to walk whenever possible.
How does your family preserve the planet? Your comments welcome as always. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter as we continue to give away books in honor of the Kid Art Auction. Art above by Declan, age six.