Five Ways to Help Your Kids Go Green

Try these tips to help your children become more eco-friendly.

Even if you shop with canvas bags, use energy-efficient light bulbs, and always remember to recycle your empties, most families have a blind spot or two when it comes to eco-friendly living –and it usually appears in the shape of a child.

Unfortunately, the Pet Rock hasn’t been a must-have item since the Carter administration, and last we heard, they don’t make Bratz Dolls out of bamboo. Though you may try to keep things green for the grown-ups, those Legos you keep tripping over are telling the kids a completely different story.

So how can you help the little ones start seeing green? Well, you won’t be able to transform them in a day –and even if you manage to lose the Legos, we have a feeling you’ll never rip that Wii console out of their hands, no matter how hard you try. But if you’d like to make your children’s lives a little more earth-friendly, here are a few suggestions.

1. Don’t buy toys - borrow instead. As far as kids are concerned, most toys start to lose their shine within ten minutes or so. Don’t let the unloved items gather dust around the house –instead, join a local toy library, or register for an online lending program. There’s nothing wrong with taking hand-me-downs, either –check out your city’s Craigslist or Freecycle listings to see what’s around, or stop by your local Goodwill Shop. And if you do buy new toys, try to buy products made from sustainable wood and other earth-friendly materials, like the ones from Eco Green Kids Organics.

2. Spend time outside. Make sure your child spends time learning to love the great outdoors. Let her get involved with nature by planting a garden, building a birdhouse, or taking a bike ride in a nearby park.

3. Teach green. Even if your child doesn’t receive an environmental education in the classroom, there’s no reason you can’t spread the word at home. Let your kid help out with separating your recyclables, or tossing together a healthy organic salad.

4. Stick with eco-friendly entertainment. Environmentalism may not seem like the most exciting subject to most kids, but put it in a TV show and they’ll change their minds. Give them a taste of the online cartoon show, The Greens, and you’ll finally have some competition for Dora the Explorer. Is your little one more of a bookworm? By all means, don’t miss The Lorax.

5. Make your meals both healthy and kid-friendly. Don’t force your child to gag down a plateful of Brussels sprouts if he can’t stand them – there are plenty of other healthy and organic dishes out there to appeal to kids and adults alike. Take your child shopping at a local farmer’s market, where he can take his pick of the exotic fruits and veggies there and learn about eco-friendly agriculture. For snacks, try apple slices slathered with peanut butter, a bowl of mixed nuts, or any of these great ideas from ParentCenter.