Going Green With Your Kids
Author: Guest Blogger

image © Saffron Press

This post is authored by Ms. Navjot Kaur, a Toronto-based elementary teacher, children’s author and advocate for inclusion.  Ms. Kaur’s first book, A Lion’s Mane, published by Saffron Press, is an important story about a young boy and his Sikh identity.

We happened to be visiting our friend’s home the night of Earth Hour.  What we experienced was a lovely surprise!

My son, who is only four, loved having the lights suddenly turn off, playing Charades in a candlelit room and believing it was all for him!  Our friends’ amazing children even found a candle look-a-like for him so he could be included in the whole process.  It really was a fun night and there were no short-cuts – lights remained off for the entire hour!

Excuses are easy at times like Earth Hour, especially if you have company over, but this example just defines the leadership potential of our children. Not only did their responsibility towards this cause shine through the darkness of the night, it also helped us to reflect on the time we spend with our children, and what we could be doing better to ensure that they grow to respect the Earth and our environment.

While researching content for my last children’s book, I learned more about the Ojibwe Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers.  The universal teachings – to respect the Earth and the natural environment – are a central part of Aboriginal culture and tradition.  Today, we can still learn from these teachings:

• Only take from the Earth what you truly need
• Shop locally to minimize your global footprint
• Reuse paperwork you receive from school or in the mail. (I fold the sheets in half and use a highlighter to write letters, numbers, words or fun questions to trace or solve on the back!)
• Involve your children in using those green and blue bins – habits form at young ages

A great family activity for Earth Day – coming up on April 22nd – is to create a tree using recycled materials.  Start with a large, empty margarine or yogurt tub (you can paint or decorate it).  Place packing peanuts you receive in parcels (preferably those made from corn so they are biodegradable) into the tub.  You can also use clay.  Use a little glue if needed.  Top off with small rocks and stones from the beach or garden to keep everything in place.  Take some earth-tone pipe cleaners or chenille stems and stick them into the tub to create a tree trunk.  Twist some stems around the main trunk to create branches.  Your child can choose to glue on some leaves or blossoms by tearing small pieces of tissue paper and scrunching it into a leaf or blossom.

Talk with your child throughout the process so they are learning about plant growth.  Older children may even want to create entire habitats with lots of trees.  Other ideas are to create a snapshot of the ancestral region of your family or, on a larger scale, paint a Famiy Tree on canvas board.  Place old and new family photographs in simple frames and “hang” them onto the tree.  Whichever tree you choose to create as a family will be beautiful as long as you have fun going green!

© 2010 Navjot Kaur


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One Response to “Going Green With Your Kids”

  1. Giuseppe Puckhaber Says:

    Being healthy to travel around the globe. Have a beach home near the water.