In a time of climate crisis, it is so good to be teaching your children how to be environmentally conscious and exploring ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a family.
There are lots of easy ways you can reduce waste, recycle and up-cycle more and do your bit for the environment, so why not turn it into a family activity? Here are some great eco-friendly activities for Primary school kids.
1) Making Eco Bricks
Eco bricks are the new and upcoming trend that is equally saving our planet and giving us fun crafts projects to do. Eco bricks are super easy to make and they automatically reduce your carbon footprint by LOADS! All you need to make them is a plastic bottle of and shape and size and then you fill them with all the single-use packaging that you use in your house. This is an ongoing project that you can continuously do throughout your household. Have a bucket in your kitchen where you can collect all your single-use plastic waste and then once it is filled have a dedicated eco-bricking day! The aim is to fill the bottles with the single-use plastic, using the end a wooden spoon to push down all the packaging so that your brick is packed super tightly. Once you have a few of these made then the crafty options are endless. You could make furniture from them, a nice garden feature or even a statue. There are so many options of what to do with these super eco-friendly ideas. Also if you run out of crafty things to do with them (which is certainly unlikely) then you can find a local drop off point to take any more to which use them to build sustainable houses - awesome right?
2) Milk Carton Catch
Milk carton catch is a super fun game you can play at home and you make all the components yourself. This is a great way to up-cycle your old milk cartons to reduce, reuse and recycle. All you have to do it wash out your empty milk cartons and cut the bottom and one of the sides of so that your milk carton takes the form of a catching mitt that you can hold from the handle. Then all you need is something to catch - use rolled-up socks as a ball, they are soft and light so they make the perfect ball for this game of catch. Don't forget to recycle your milk cartons when you're done playing!
3) Imaginary Dog Walking
It may sound strange but this is a super fun activity that is all about using the art of imagination. All you have to do is ensure this sounds like the most fun activity ever and your kids will definitely jump on board. Plus, it is the best of both worlds because it will get your kids outside and doing exercise AND you can go on a litter picking hunt by simple passing a piece of litter and exclaiming "oh no, looks like your dog has done some business on the grass - better pick it up!". Simple and effective.
4) Make an Ecosystem in a Bottle
Would you believe you can create your very own eco-system in a simple plastic bottle! There are many different ways to do this which will help your kids learn about nature and the way things grow. This is a very simple way to do it with your kids:
Cut off the top of a 2-litre plastic bottle - remove the label of the bottle so that it is entirely clear, cut the bottle about 2 inches below the neck. To ensure your cut is straight, you can put a piece of masking tape around the bottle and cut along the edge.
Add 2-3 inches of soil to the bottle.
Create small holes in the soil about an inch deep to plant your seeds.
Place your seeds (these can be beans, herbs or any plant-based seeds) in the holes and cover them with dirt.
(Optional but recommended) Sprinkle grass seeds on top and cover with soil. You can also try adding insects and worms to your ecosystem.
Water the seeds - sprinkle a bit of water over your ecosystem then wait for it to soak through and sprinkle a little more. You want the soil to be damp but not soaked.
Turn the top of the bottle upside down and place it in the base.
Seal with tape around the edges.
Place your ecosystem in a sunny spot and wait for the magic to happen.
5) Create Your Own Recycling Game
If you want to help teach your kids to be eco-friendly and learn how to recycle then get them to play a recycling game to help them remember. It's really simple - all you need to do is collate all your recycling (and some non-recyclables) in one box or bucket for a few days, so you have a relatively big collection, and then get all the different recycling bins and a bin bag to set up your game. Set up your bins so that your kids can throw the recyclables into the correct one. You can spice up your game by adding a point system if you wish. This should be a fun revamp of the popular paper toss and is also a great way to help your kids learn about recycling.
6) Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
All kids love whipping up potions and creating science experiments with all the bathroom products so why not turn it into an activity! Create your own laundry detergent from scratch, teaching your kids along the way about the different things you can do to become more sustainable in your everyday life. Follow these easy steps and have fun with this great eco activity.
7) Compost in a Bottle
All you need for this:
- empty 2-litre plastic bottle
- leaves, grass, newspaper, spoiled produce, and any other compostable items you can find
This is simple - cut the top of the bottle, start with a layer of soil on the bottom and alternate between soil and compostable material. Your kids will get to see the process of composting and it's super easy!
8) Air Pollution Science Experiment
This is a great science experiment you can do at home with your kids to teach about air pollution and its effects. It is so easy and is such a useful tool to help your kids learn about the environment.
9) Make Your Own Cloth Napkins
As simple as it sounds, use old recycled clothes that you don't want anymore and replace your paper napkins with cloth ones. You can turn this into a family activity by getting everyone together with picking material, drawing templates and cutting out your napkins (in whatever shape you want. If your kids are slightly older you can teach them how to sew and get them to sew the edges of the napkins over to avoid fraying. Or you could do it yourself.
10) Do a Nature Treasure Hunt
Write your kids a super fun checklist of things to find in nature and create your very nature treasure hunt. See all the wondrous sights and take your kids on a journey through our ecosystem. Have a look at Kidadl's version here.
11) Scrapbook a Leaf Family
Everyone loves collecting leaves! So start collecting and create your very own leaf family scrapbook. Your kids can trace their leaves, stick them in, paint them, decorate them - anything they like! All using leaves as the basis to fun crafty ideas and learn about the different leaves at the same time!