Friday, June 29, 2012

Pay It Forward: 20 Ways to Teach Children to Go Green

Did "going green" start with the notion of having a green thumb? It doesn't seem likely it started as a result of gangrene or The Green Lantern or even those fancy "greenies" treats for dogs and cats. Yes, we think it started with the thumb - and we love it's expansion to being green all over.

 As far as thumbs go, we're not that green, so it's a good thing we've got the rest of ourselves to work with. When it comes to children the same scenario is often the case. One would never expect a three-year-old to be an award winning gardener, but you can help them own sorting recyclable goods. Being green is fun and educational and it's a wonderful way to pay it forward to our future and the earth. Here are some ways you can teach children (and engage them in) going green:

1. Sort recyclable goods into different canisters.*
2. Pour left over food scraps into a food compost.*
3. Provide a small step tall enough to give them access to turn off light switches.*
4. Teach them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth.*
5. Invite them to help you install solar outdoor lighting.*
6. Rake leaves and pinestraw and use as mulch together.*
7. Get to know local farmers at your farmer's market and talk engage the farmers in conversations with your children about where their food comes from.
8. Install a bike seat for your child on your bike and ride to the grocery store together.
9. Visit a local recycling plant and talk to your child about how the goods are used in recycling.
10. Buy eco-friendly, recyclable, fair trade items for your children and talk about what makes them this way.
11. Recycle "old" or unused toys.
12. Carpool.
13. Keep doors closed while the air conditioning is running (if you have the luxury of air conditioning).*
14. Walk or ride your bikes to dinner.*
15. Take eco-friendly vacations and discuss what makes them eco-friendly.
16. Use everyday household items as art mediums (ex. cardboard boxes as canvases).*
17. Use recycled paper on both sides - just because one side has writing on it doesn't mean it's ready to be tossed.*
18. Visit your local library and check out books. A trusty old wagon to carry the books to and from the library is always fun.*
19. Invite children to be part of a family garden (even if that means watching the plants grown and enjoying eating them...this assumes you have a green thumb for growing).*
20. Be a role model for your child by continually considering how the choices you're making reflect a "green" image of yourself to your child.

* Denotes activities children can do alone or with minimal amounts of help. The other items can be modeled by you or conducted strategically with you.
Are you looking for a for a tangible reminder to see beautiful, or know someone who needs one? Check out our See Beautiful products (and feel good knowing a portion of proceeds from every purchase is donated to charity. This month a portion of all proceeds will be donated to Surf Dog Ricochet's SURFice Projects. Click HERE.


  1. Now I don't have thumbs, but be assured if I did, they would be green.  Sometimes my paws are green after we cut the yard.  Seriously MOM and I do many of the things on your list, MOM is all about the greenness.  And this Sunday MOM is taking the children out to our Community Garden to pick some stuff, weed a little and talk about why the garden is important and who it helps and why we are ALL called to be caretakers of this earth.  As Kermit said, "it's not easy being green" but when you are it's a beautful thing.

  2. What wonderful ideas! We already do some of these things, but we found a couple new ideas on this list. Thanks!

  3. We do some of the things you listed and are trying to make our wedding a little more "green" without alot of the waste that comes along with the celebration.  Thanks for the reminder to find beauty in the everyday!


  4. Awesome tips usual thanks for passing them on!...:)JP

  5. This is a great list. We are trying to teach our daughter to go green as much as possible. The best way to teach her has been through role modeling, so we take steps to be green and she learns from us.

  6. YESSS! I get so excited when bloggers talk about going green. I first made my transition when in college and  took an environmental health class. And my life was never the same. Although not fully immersed, my kids know and do a lot more than what I did when I was their age. Even my two year old knows what items go in recycling and what don't. Great list!

  7. We do what we can to recycle and conserve energy, but I could definately get way more involved.  Soooo much you can change really.  


  8. Very Beautiful!

  9. I really like your site, it is pretty.

  10. love love these printing, and THANK YOU!!! 


Thank you for sharing your thoughts & helping others see beautiful too!