It can sometimes be hard work to keep your rugrats entertained and too easy is the option to plonk them down in front of the television, Xbox, or whatever the techno fad of the moment is, and let them fend for themselves.
But youngsters need to be stimulated and engaged in other ways besides a games console, and there are lots of activities you can do with your kids to fill the hours, whilst at the same time teaching them about the importance of looking after the environment.
And seeing as our children will be the next generation to inherit the planet, it seems only right and proper that we should encourage them to see the world through greener, more eco-friendly eyes. Here are few ideas that do just that…
Create Your Own Garden
Starting a garden is a very popular activity, and kids generally love anything to do with creepy crawlies, bugs and worms. You may not have the space to do this, so a good alternative is to plant some vegetables in a pot – remember, it’s a world of discovery for kids and they get enthusiastic and excited about seeing a bean sprout out of a paper cup; they can watch the plant grow from scratch, and it also teaches them about looking after it by feeding, watering and tending to it.
Another great idea is using an egg carton to plant lots of different seeds and seeing which ones grow first. Or, you could go down the traditional route and grow a ‘cress head’ potato!
Take a Walk
Taking a walk is a always a great way to get the family out and about, even if it’s only for half hour in the local park or garden. It’s a good way of encouraging kids to look around them, consider the natural environment and the not-so-natural environment too, such as cars, buildings and their immediate surroundings.
And, by extension, a sojourn in your nearest woods gives them a chance to explore nature, spot birds, insects and flowers. Why not get them to take photos of what they see and create their own environmental scrapbook?
Recycle Household Materials
In the true, tried and tested Blue Peter tradition, household materials have long been an inspirational, endless and eco-friendly source of craft-based innovation. Enter our good friend the cardboard loo roll, which is more exciting and multi-faceted than you might think. It’s a world of art and discovery all its own!
If you want to be a bit more hardcore, how about that other old (almost forgotten) kids activity – making things out of papier mache.
How about plunging into the wardrobe and encouraging older kids to recycle some of their old clothes to put on their very own fashion show – give them a pair of scissors, a lesson on basic sewing skills and some fabric paints or beads and buttons and let them go crazy! Old t-shirts they would have wanted to throw out will suddenly be fresh, new and worn every day of a week.
Encourage your kids’ musical inclinations by creating a percussion band made from kitchen pots and pans. Take some old drinking bottles, fill them with peas, beans or rice, and use them as bespoke maracas. Let those plastic bowls, saucepans and wooden spoons take on a whole new musical life of their own.
With the increasing emphasis on cycling and its health and environmental benefits, why not check out the local cycle paths and routes and take your kids on a two-wheeled trek. Outdoor, good-for-them family time in the fresh air. What could be better?
As you can see, with a bit of thought and innovation, you can while away a few fun, eco-friendly hours with the young ‘uns, and if you use your imagination it’s conceivably possible to use anything from the kitchen sink to old bedroom furniture in the process.
Do you know of any good eco-friendly activities to keep the kids entertained?