Tuesday, July 24, 2007

10 Green Things You Can Do With Your Kids This Week

I. am. home. with. the. kids. For those of you who are SAHMs, you may begin laughing at me now. My daycare provider is on vacation, ergo, so am I. Although I am slightly inexperienced at this sort of thing (yes, that was Pip who streaked the playground today - wince, sorry all!), I am really enjoying this time at home with my children.

Here, so far, are 10 green things we have done since last Friday.

1) Draw with magic markers. "But on what?", you may ask. Or not. One of the benefits of working outside of the home is the reams and reams of paper sent to the office recycling bins. I say, turn that bad boy over and you've got some perfectly good paper for your budding artistes.

2) Visit the local nature center. This is kind of no-brainer, but you don't have to limit yourself to what is inside the nature center. Some centers have discovery backpacks or their equivalent that contain items such as magnifying glasses or crayons and paper for sketching. Use it on the trail or path to help guide your little explorers.

3) Turn over a log. Good night in the morning have you ever seen what's under a log? Warning: not for the bug-faint-of-heart. We found termites, beetles, prehistoric-sized worms, assorted larvae and other sources of protein. The kids were fascinated. Caution: logs can be heavy. My toe will testify to that.

4) Nature bingo. Create a 3 x 3 table as a word document and insert some clip art or cut out some pictures from a magazine instead. Then, armed with a clipboard and pencil, check off the items as you spot them. For those of you in region 7, here are my nine picks: box turtle, duckweed, ferns, tree stump, pine cone, salamander, toad, animal footprint, nut or seed.

5) Picnic in the Park: Doesn't have to involve wicker hampers. Sometimes an organic cheesestick or bag of pretzels will do. Just get down on the ground. Don't be shy. Anyone know of any eco-friendly picnic blankets? My white capris will thank you.

6) Get wet. Around these parts we have small parks with playground equipment that shoots water in random patterns. The water is recycled when it goes down the drain, coming right back up again. Sure beats filling up that kiddie pool.

7) Take a trip to the Farmer's Market/Natural Foods Store. Can I just write two words: free lunch. My kids can exist on samples alone, but the number of toothpicks they go through is counter-eco-conscious, so I do try to buy in "bulk".

8) Do a bit o' gardening. Unfortunately, due to the zone 7 drought conditions, this year's vegetable garden is limping along, not to recover. This does not prevent us from finding the two or three snow peas that have managed to beat the odds (only to be eaten by us) or to dig up all our planters and toss the dirt on the lawn. Okay, scratch that second idea...don't do that. Measly crop or bumper, there is just something about seeing your kid eat a pea straight from the vine.

9) Hit the yard sales. There is nothing more exhilarating than telling your children that they can have any. toy. they. want. At 1.00 a pop, who's counting? What better way to reduce (no packaging), recycle (their Groovy Girls fad, your treasure), and reuse (Need I mention the Dora backpack AGAIN?).

10) Eat a honkin' piece of watermelon. And chuck the rinds into the compost bin with wild abandon.


Stacey @ Look, Mom, Look! said...

Great List!! Kids love these things, I have to remember to do these with my kiddos soon! Summer's going to be over soon here!

Anonymous said...

I love the bingo idea...just try soon. thanks AB!!

Anonymous said...

I love the bingo idea....MUST try soon!! I am SAHM...can you tell?

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Congrats! I am a SAHM and I don't think I could accomplish all that in a YEAR! LOL

intergalacticrose said...

great list! kiddos (or at least mine) loves making her own books out of recycled paper, too!

Gudrun from Kitchen Gadget Girl said...

these are great ideas - if it rains a little, checking under logs and rocks becomes that much more interesting.

When I was little, my mom used to have us "paint" the fence with buckets and water and brushes. I have also pulled out my craft paints and let the kids paint the rocks in the yard. And my son loves to grab a book and his sleeping bag and have some quite time in the play house. Anything to keep them out of my house!

Gift of Green said...

Thank you, Gudrun! The other day I introduced Pip and Sprout to the concept of pet rocks. They even made leashes for them out of pipe cleaners!