April 22 is Earth Day. This is a celebration of what is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Reading Sarah Mankelow’s article Eco-warriors, in Tots to Teens magazine reminded me that it is never too early to encourage our small people to make environmentally friendly choices. She had the following suggestions for inspiring Under 5’s to be good global citizens:

  • Draw and paint on both sides of a piece of paper
  • Use children’s art as wrapping paper for gifts
  • Collect recyclables such as egg cartons, bottle tops, yogurt containers for art and crafts (most early childhood centres can not get enough of such stuff)
  • Turn taps of while children are brushing their teeth
  • Recycle as much as you can, help children learn what can be recycled.

Other ideas that we have thought of include:

  • When they are tall enough, encourage children to turn lights off when they leave a room
  • Remind children to keep doors to heated rooms closed
  • Swap toys with other children
  • Utilise toy libraries
  • Instead of buying new toys and clothes, acquire pre-loved toys or clothes from secondhand stores
  • Donate old toys and clothes to secondhand stores, or to other families
  • Encourage children to develop the joy of gardening – one day they may plant their own.

What about you and your family? What do you do?

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