Children are amazing little humans. They are open, understanding, caring, loving, and trusting. They will take up the most complex cause with vigor and tenacity as if it were something simple and mundane. They haven’t been corrupted or hardened by society and all its letdowns. From preschooler up to preteen, a child is open to trying ideas. This is a great time to get a “buy in” on making your house a ‘green house’. For the home educator, making one’s home into a green house is a lesson in ecology. Fostering the natural activist in your child will ensure a brighter, greener future. Use the following ideas to awaken the ecologist in your children.
- Composting—One of the highest forms of recycling. Take your organic (non-meat products) vegetable and fruit scraps and place in a compost bin. On doesn’t need to buy anything fancy: four wood pallets stood upright in a square and fastened with twine can create a compost bin, or one could simply dig a hole and fill it.
- Recycling—Not just cans and bottles, but have a clothes day where the kids go through their clothing and donate to one’s local clothing exchange program. Although one should include children in all their recycling activities this is a great one that they can see in their immediate community.
- Gardening—the mere act of gardening in and of itself is a great activity, but take it a step further. Create an Heirloom garden. Heirloom gardening does several things; such as teaching how important it is to propagate ones own seeds, about saving species of plant for future generations. If the children are old enough, one could talk about the dependence on hybrid or genetically altered which leads to the extinction of plant varieties in their natural form. Also, hybrids and genetically modified seed are sterile requiring the gardener to depend on them for seeds (not to mention the unknown effects on humans regarding genetically modified seeds/foods)
- Second hand clothing stores—If one starts when children are young then second hand clothing is no big deal. From personal experience of having a large family on one income, our children began to value the fact that they could get more clothes from second hand store. Also, as children get older they, too, understand the value of buying from a thrift store. If a child is materialistic and balks at second hand store, show him or her examples of sweatshops in third world countries and in your own country that pump out these clothes for the (over) consumer. Often these same name brands can be bought at a second hand store for pennies on the dollar and don’t feed the over consumption/over production cycle, a valuable and important lesson.
- Reuse—Look for ways to reuse things such as milk cartons, either gallon or 1/2 gallons, old t-shirts, laundry bottles, coffee cans, etc…
- Gallon milk cartons—the tops can be cut off, leaving the handle intact and use it as a dog food, or other animal food, scoop. Have gallon cartons can be use in several crafts such as Ostara baskets, pencil holders, and nearly anything that requires a holder!
- Old t-shirts—can be used for rags. If sanitized and 100% cotton, they can be used for first-aid kits.
- Laundry bottles—These can used in the same way as milk cartons, but when cleaned, they make great bird feeders. Also, consider purchasing the refill bags of laundry detergent, so one doesn’t get a build up of laundry detergent bottles.
- Coffee cans—these have several uses. One could use them for pen/pencil holders and coloring utensil holder. We use ours to make candles; they work wonderfully. They can also be used for piggy banks
These are just few ideas to get children to assist in one’s ecology efforts. Children are unencumbered by walls we as adults have put through the hardening of life. They truly are purer in thought and motivation . We as adults need to recognize and nurture in our children. They will carry the torch into the future; shouldn’t we foster the ecological, revolutionary spirit? Shouldn’t we foster a spirit of activism? Take the time to involve the whole family in creating your “Greenhouse”.