1. Parenting

Kid Super Heroes Needed to Help Save the Planet

Preschoolers and Up Can Learn Earth-Friendly Lifestyles


Judging by recent news, we need all the young super heroes we can get to join forces in helping to save the planet! Here are kid-friendly ways to have our most precious commodity--our children--understand the balance of Mother Nature and to become active eco-friendly participants.

Sort and Save: Recycling Basics

Recycling is based on the three Rs of environmental preservation: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Young kids can start with separating trash (papers from plastics) to put in recycling bins and then become more involved from there. Other great starter projects include recycling phone books, newspapers or magazines; shopping with canvas or re-usable bags instead of loading items into plastic, and buying products that can be re-used vs. one-time use only. In kid-friendly language, tell them the ultimate goal is to "cut down on the amount of trash!"

Conserve Energy

Youngsters may not understand the importance of cleaning or replacing air filters on your air conditioner unit (adults should, however), but they can understand turning off unneeded lights, unplugging appliances when not in use, and purchasing energy-efficient light bulbs. Explain to children in an age-appropriate manner what conserving energy means and then have them help you to think up ways to achieve it. Who knows? A 5-year-old may have a great conservation idea you've not yet even thought of! Plus, if kids are involved with the brainstorming and planning, they will be more apt to be eager participants in the ongoing efforts.

Green Really IS the New Black

It's become much more than a cliche; green is the color of choice in today's home decorating and clothes, inspired by none other than Mother Nature herself! Going green means much more than a fashion choice or accessory color; have kids tour a "green" building or "green" car to see what changes are being made in recognition that we all need to do our part to preserve our lifestyle for today and in the future.

Trashy Crafts to Treasure

That's just trash...or is it? About Guide to Family Crafts Sherri Osborn has a growing list of free craft ideas to make from reuse. Kids will love it, and parents and caregivers will like the savings resulting from recycled materials.

Pick Up a Children's Book About Science and Nature

Most kids really become quite fascinated about science and nature, and need very little encouragement in reading about nature, scientists, and everything about our world. Help to foster and then reinforce that interest by picking up some of these selections, as noted by About Children's Book Guide Liz Kennedy.

It'a All Up in the Air

It's sunny, warm, clear sky, and a mostly wind-free day. What could be better for a day outside in the sunshine? Depending on where you live, the answer could be a high ozone alert day. Children with respiratory illnesses or asthma can become quite ill with ozone exposure. the culprits are typically ground-level ozone and airborne particles, two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Kids can learn to tune in to their local ozone action days, often reported in the media on a daily basis. Further, kids should learn the Air Quality Index and its associated colors.

Why Walking IS Cool!

Kids nowadays are walking and riding their bike much less than they used to, and the results are showing everywhere. Not only are more kids suffering from obesity and health-related illnesses, but the noxious emissions from automobiles are also starting to take their toll. Encourage your youngers to use their "people power" more often. Instead of driving to the neighborhood park, walk there as a family! The simple lifestyle change is not only good for the environment but will make everyone feel better physically as well!

Less is More

Encourage your kids to write on both sides of a sheet of paper, to use the least amount needed of a product (such as glue), to be careful with watering or taking long showers, and just in general to use less of anything rather than more. Whereas bigger used to be better, environmentally-conscious individuals are setting out to prove that less is indeed more when it comes to the environment. Even small steps of putting a child's nightlight on a timer will help make him feel like he is active and part of an important movement.

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