Scrappy Sprouts: 5 Fun Ways for Kids to Go Green

1. Grow your veggies, eat your veggies: It was no small matter at our house last summer when my girls helped plant foods like snap peas and lettuce. They participated in the simple process of harvesting our little bit of greens, followed by a special time at the dinner table. It’s no accident that they appreciate fresh vegetables more than the average kid these days. This year, we’re trying to expand our garden to include lots more lettuce, plus broccoli and melons. Kids don’t have to understand why fresh, local, organic and sustainable foods are better for them. Making the process fun is a good start.

2. Play with earthworms: One of my children’s favorite pastimes is holding wriggling earthworms in their hands before returning them to their little homes in our compost pile or garden. They know earthworms are a priceless source of healthy, fertile soil. They also appreciate ladybugs, which we welcome for their natural ability to eat other pests that might disturb our plants. Since we take time to look at these little things, we’re less likely to reach for synthetic pesticides and herbicides that endanger us all.

3. Dig the outdoors: You can’t beat a family nature hike for combining the best of what kids need on a Saturday morning. Everyone gets some exercise plus a connection to the natural world around them. Wasn’t it our mothers or grandmothers who said that a little dirt is good for kids? I think they were right.

4. Go barefoot indoors: It’s scientifically proven that our shoes can track some pretty nasty stuff into the house. Think of your neighbor’s lawn chemicals and bacteria from the last public restroom you visited. Kids love to go barefoot anyway, so this is one of the easiest ways to have fun while going green.

5. Less is more…money in the college fund: As all of you smart parents and grandparents know, it’s never too early to start the college fund. If you do nothing more than replace one gift purchase per year with a deposit to a child’s college fund, you’ve made a significant step toward conscious consumerism. You’ve reduced whatever energy would have been involved in manufacturing, packaging and transporting an item that might have ended up at the bottom of the toy pile anyway. Most banks or credit unions offer token incentives for kids to deposit their money. At a young age, even a sticker is enough to make depositing a check from Grandpa really fun.

(I first contributed this as a guest post earlier in this green-themed month on the WeeWarrens blog.)

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