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Good Housekeeping
Chinggay Labrador, Contributor
April 07, 2010

Family Fun: How to Teach Your Kids to be Eco-Friendly

Heal the world! With mom and dad's help, kids can do their part in making the planet a better and safer place to live in. By Chinggay Labrador
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family_fun_eco_friendly1.jpgThese days, everyone is taking strides toward doing good for the environment—and teaching your kids early on about the ABCs of green living can help them develop their own eco-friendly habits from the get-go. Everything from little changes in the household to nature trips and outdoor activities can help spark any kid’s interest in healing the world!


Getting your kids to pick up after themselves is part and parcel of being a parent. Add another dimension to clean-up time by teaching them about biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash. Make it fun by labeling bins with colorful cutouts and pictures to give even your young ones easy cues. Using differently colored garbage cans is also a simple and straightforward way to introduce segregation. Teach your kids the pride in maintaining a green home.


Planting some seedlings and having your kids help you nurture blooms, herbs, or even a little mung bean plant will certainly capture any kid’s curiosity. Demonstrate the ropes of watering, exposing plants to sunlight, and caring for them to help kids cultivate their own green thumbs. If you prefer planting herbs, consider creating a mini herb garden and showing your kids how plants like basil and oregano can all be used in their favorite kitchen treats. Concerned about using up a lot of water for your kids’ garden this summer? Check out FN’s tips on keeping your garden green throughout the hot months.


Add to your kids’ repertoire of songs by including these earth-friendly jingles to their play lists. These catchy tunes (which also have adult appeal!) are subtle ways to introduce earth-friendly habits to kids without being over the top.

- “3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)” by Jack Johnson
- “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
- “Dragonfly” by Ziggy Marley
- “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams
- “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell
- “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson
- “Beds Are Burning” by various artists for the Tck, Tck, Tck climate change project (includes Fergie, Marion Cotillard, Duran Duran, etc.)


Tracing leaves by placing them under paper and coloring with crayons, preserving flowers by drying them and keeping them between the pages of a thick book, making collages of panoramic nature shots . . . there are hundreds of ways you can introduce kids to the wonders of nature through art.


Encourage your kids to doodle and draw without wasting any paper. Bind scrap paper into mini drawing pads or create a kiddy art box filled with flattened cereal boxes, empty PET bottles, newspapers, and other recycled doodads that they can play with. Motivate your kids to fill up their own kits by picking up reusable items in the house via a scavenger hunt!

family_fun_eco_friendly1.jpgTHE LIVING SEAS

Take your kids on a field trip right in the city by paying a visit to Manila Ocean Park. Spend a day exploring the interactive pools, coral reefs, large-sized aquariums and overhead tanks. The aquarium also offers a Kids Learning Area, where kids can watch a short film on marine life, read, color, play with puzzles, and even watch a puppet show.


Because clear night skies are a rarity, make sure to save a night for stargazing during one of your out-of-town summer trips. Kids will marvel at just how many stars come out at night, and they can spend countless hours finding patterns and figures among them. It’s a great way to teach them about how the sky would look without pollution and is a fun way to talk about mythology too. Buy a book about the constellations and learn how to spot them together. For daytime trips on not-so-hot summer days, cloud watching is also a fun activity that can open up their imaginations, and at the same time, give them an introduction to meteorology.


There’s no better time to hit the sand than summer! Equip your tots with classic shovels and pails to make sand castles. Take them on walks along the shore and hunt for sand dollars, or explore tide pools, which are little habitats in themselves. The best kind of learning comes from hands-on experience and teaching your kids about protecting the seas will hit closer to home when they know what it’s like to wade in the water and feel the sand under their feet.


Show your kids the merits of bringing recyclable brown bags or eco-friendly totes by making them a staple in your household. Get your older kids to help you fold and store plastic grocery bags for reuse and train your yayas to pack extra totes that your kids can use when going toy shopping. Buy a set of utensils for your children so you don’t need to ask for plastic spoons and forks at fast food restaurants. You can even make an arts-and-crafts project out of your recyclable brown bags; the Lunchbag Art blog is run by a father who illustrates brown bags for his kids’ daily baon.


Manila may not be the most walkable city especially in the summer heat, but it will do your kids good to go beyond car rides when possible. During off-peak times, take them to ride the MRT (no kid can resist a train ride!), bike around Bonifacio High Street, take a breather by lying on the grass in an open field, or simply take them for a nighttime stroll around the block. This won’t just give you a fun time to stop and smell the flowers or bond with your kids—it’ll give you a chance to get some exercise in too!

(Photos by Flavio Takemoto via sxc.hu—1 , 2)

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  • pinkpie Apr 08 2010 @ 02:57am Report Abuse
    I 3 year old son is very aware on how to conserve energy and water. He's aware of El Niño nga e.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Lourdes Espanol Apr 08 2010 @ 09:20am Report Abuse
    My 4 year-old nephew always cleans up his toys and knows how to throw stuff in the garbage.

    Last modified A long time ago
  • Cathrina Lim Apr 08 2010 @ 03:03pm Report Abuse
    My mom always made us realize how important it is to recycle and be nature-friendly. She is not good in planting, but she contributed in her own ways and shared all her practices to us her children. She would also make it interesting for us to learn about the world we're living in by bringing us to tourist spots like the Ocean Park in Hong Kong (that's what we have back then) and Manila Zoo. That's why I also grew up with my own eco-friendly ways and I am actually fascinated with recyclable bags nowadays! They're fun, sturdy (compared to plastic bags) and lucky me these bags now come in different colors!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • mary Apr 08 2010 @ 08:56pm Report Abuse
    I love Big Yellow Taxi!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Teresa Apr 29 2010 @ 02:22am Report Abuse
    dapat matuto na sila hanggang bata pa. para makasanayan nila hanggang sa kanilang paglaki.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • ube.c May 13 2010 @ 02:08pm Report Abuse
    I dont have kids yet. But I have two little nephews who are so naughty. They do not have this well upbringing that includes the respect for the environment. Whenever I'm with them I do teach them simple things like throwing their trash to the right place, and as a reward I give them more books because they love to draw and do some activities in books. But still it's hard to always remind them especially when I am the only one who's teaching them the importance of what we all can do to help protect and preserve earth . It's really a good thing to start teaching kids at the earlier stage of which they can already understand on how to be responsible to their environment.
    Last modified A long time ago
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