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.
REUSE AND RECYCLE
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!
THE 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.
TURN TO THE SKIES
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.
BROWN BAG IT
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.
GET OUT OF THE CAR
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)