Tag Archives: kids

5 Green Craft Supplies for Kids

Kids need something to do over the summer, after school, pretty much all the time. Playing outside is a great idea, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or they just need some cool down time indoors. Crafts are a wonderful activity for kids, something to allow them to be creative. You don’t have to buy books on crafting, just have the supplies ready and let your kids go at it. If you can keep the supplies on the eco friendly side of things, so much the better.

Think about crafts the kids can make more or less on their own. It’s good for them to make things without your help, even if they don’t look just right.

1. Recycled goods.

Start your kids’ craft supplies with recycled goods. Junk mail, newspapers, cans, bottles and so forth. The great part about these supplies is that you don’t have to buy them.

If your kids are interested in sewing, old clothes may be another option. Some clothes just won’t be worth handing down, but might be okay for crafting. Take a look and see what you can find.

2. Eco craft kits.

You can buy eco friendly craft kits with supplies made of recycled and eco friendly materials. These are great when you need some ideas to help get the kids started. Here are a few to consider:

ALEX® Eco Crafts
Flower Press
Paper Making Kit
Trash Robot Kit

3. Eco friendly crayons.

There are some pretty nice eco friendly crayons out there. Some have fun shapes while others look more like regular crayons. There are a number of brands to try.

Crazy Crayon Eco Stars
eco-kids Crayons
International Arrivals Natural Beeswax Crayons
Soy Crayon Rocks

4. Eco friendly paints.

Depending on what you want the paints for, it’s not too hard to make paints for your kids. Pudding spreads quite nicely and is really fun for kids, and there are simple homemade finger paint recipes out there. If that’s not your style, there are some relatively eco friendly paints for kids out there:

Glob All Natural Paint Kits

5. Eco friendly glues.

What’s crafting for kids without glue? They will want glue at some point, so make it the safest you can.

eco-kids Handmade Glue
Clementine Art Natural Glue

25 Eco Friendly Summer Activities For Kids

25 Eco Friendly Summer Activities For Kids

Keeping the kids busy for the summer isn’t easy. They get bored and want ideas from you. Make sure you have some ready so they don’t spend the entire summer in front of one screen or another. Here are some fairly eco friendly ideas your kids may enjoy.

1. Outdoor Play

Get the kids to play outside. Tag, riding bikes, skating, you know the drill from your own childhood. Yes, it’s hot outside. Have them put on a safe sunscreen and go play anyhow. Isn’t that what you did as a kid?

2. Treasure Hunt

There are a couple ways you can do a treasure hunt with your kids. You can bury “treasure” in the sandbox that the kids can dig up, or make a treasure map for the kids to follow.

We did treasure hunt bags for my son’s and daughter’s birthdays this year and they were a big hit. Tumbled gemstones, fossil shark teeth and foreign coins made great treasure, and the kids had something to talk about later. The leftovers will probably be hunted at various times this summer.

3. Water Play

Kids love to play with water, whether you just turn on a sprinkler or pull out the water guns. If you’re in a drought area, take any restrictions into mind before you start things up, of course.

4. Homemade Paints

Many kids love to paint. Here’s a simple recipe for finger paints you can make at home:

1 cup corn starch
1 cup cold water
3 cups boiling water
food coloring

Mix corn starch and cold water. Add boiling water a cup (carefully!) at a time until you like the consistency. If it doesn’t get thick, pour into a pan and heat while stirring until it does.

Add food coloring as desired. You can make your own by boiling blueberries, spinach, etc, then straining, but this version will go bad more quickly than if you use commercial food colorings.

5. Recycled Crafts

Old boxes, toilet paper tubes, bottles and paper make great craft supplies for your kids. Large boxes can make a great playhouse, while smaller ones can make homes for toys or fairies. They can also be used to make trains and other fun things. Give your kids the supplies and see what they come up with.

6. Visit Nature

What natural areas are near you? Family hikes are a great way to explore the natural world, and you may not have to go all that far to do it. You could also visit a botanical garden in your area.

7. Garden

For my family, there are two parts to having a garden. Not only is it good for the kids to learn how plants grow, the results make great snacks. We always plant a few plants that the kids can snack freely from. They also learn responsibility when they have to help keep the weeds down. A butterfly garden is another good idea.

8. Volunteer

My kids and I are volunteering this summer at a local animal shelter. They love it since we don’t have any furry pets of our own, but they also have to deal with some of the responsibilities of having animals while we volunteer. It’s not all petting the cats and dogs to keep them socialized – it’s cleaning up after them.

Check around your area and see which volunteer opportunities might allow your kids to work with them. Many have age restrictions, but you can usually find something if you look around hard enough.

9. Go To the Library

Libraries often have great activities for kids during the summer, not to mention all the books. Walk there if you can, consider public transportation if you can’t, drive if you must.

10. Birdwatching

What kind of birds are in your area? We have two swallow nests on our house, and the kids had a lot of fun watching them fly about.

You can bring more birds into your yard for the kids to see by making birdfeeders. There are plenty you can make with recycled materials.

11. Go To the Farmers’ Market

My kids love visiting the farmers’ market. The one here isn’t great, but they’re trying to do better. It’s a wonderful way to find local produce, honey and more.

12. Make Your Own Play Dough

Play dough is so easy to make. I mix a quarter cup of salt, a cup of flour and slowly add a quarter cup of warm water to make the basic dough, then add color. Some people use unsweetened Kool Aid mix, which looks good and smells good, but you can also use natural dyes by heating a colorful food such as berries or turmeric in water, simmering until the water goes down by about half, then straining and using in place of plain water in your play dough mix. Some cooking oil in your play dough can make a smoother mix.

13. Identify Natural Found Items

Whether your kids go out and collect leaves or seashells, encourage them to find out what they’ve got. This one may actually give them some screen time on the computer, but it’s a pretty good cause.

14. Homemade Paper

My kids love making homemade paper. We use an old blender and a paper making kit my husband has had for ages. Get some old paper, tear it up and put into the blender with water. Mix it into a nice slush, and spread smoothly into the screen of the kit. Follow the directions of your paper making kit and your kids can make some paper all their own. You can even add in flower petals or leaves for interesting touches.

15. Climb Trees

Teach your kids to pick out good climbing trees. You don’t want them getting hurt on the wrong ones, or damaging them, but climbing a tree is good for coordination and lots of fun.

16. Go Camping

Don’t stay home all summer. Take the family and go camping. Odds are there’s a campground near you if you can’t spare the time to go farther, although I do love going to national parks when we can. Camping out in the backyard works too.

17. Stargazing

Summer nights are often great for stargazing. You have good chances of clear nights, and it just feels good to get outside as the day’s heat ebbs.

18. Pretend

Pretend what? I don’t know. Leave that part up to your kids.

19. Make a Fort

Whether it’s made from couch cushions or kitchen chairs, kids love a good fort. Pick out a nice large sheet or three that you don’t mind them having for the roof.

20. Visit a U-Pick

Kids love picking their own produce right from the plant. Around here the big thing is apples, so it’s more of a fall thing, but you may be able to find strawberries or other fruit available to pick in your area.

21. Give the Kids Their Own Space In the Yard

Kids love having a space in the yard where they can do their own thing. Mine mostly dig, as that’s what their area is good for, but you can give them their own garden or include toys in their space.

22. Make Music

Whether you make musical instruments from stuff around the house or you have real ones for the kids to play, encourage them to make music. I suggest music lessons when they’re old enough too. Let them have fun with it too.

23. Cook Together

Teach your kids to cook over the summer, whether it’s how to make dinner or something more fun.

24. Visit Museums

Kids can learn a lot from a good museum, and have fun doing it. Check for free days or look into the cost for annual passes, depending on how often you think you’ll come back.

25. Play Board Games

What board games do you have sitting on the shelf? Pull them out and have some fun as a family.

How Can You Improve Environmental Awareness in Your Family?

Most people these days know that we ought to take better care of our environment. That doesn’t mean it happens. If you want your family to be more environmentally aware, you have to make the effort to help them. Here are some ideas that may help you get things moving.

Read About ItHow Can You Improve Environmental Awareness in Your Family?

Start when the kids are young with books such as The Lorax. Encourage them to read other books and read with them as they get older. Talk about what they learn from their reading.

Visit Environmental Websites

There are plenty of environmental websites designed for children. Check some of these out with your kids.

Eeko World
NASA’s For Kids Only Earth Science
EPA’s Environmental Kids Club
Recycle City
BBC Nature Online
Maggie’s Earth Adventures
Kids Planet


Teach your children how to conserve things like water, electricity, and other resources. Children can learn about as soon as they can reach the light switch that they should turn off the lights when leaving the room.


Don’t just dispose of things because you’re done with their original purpose. Think of new ways to use them, or consider if they’re still good for more use. Water bottles can be cleaned and refilled, although I prefer stainless steel bottles to disposable ones. Toilet paper tubes can be used in a variety of craft projects for kids. Egg cartons are great also.


Sort trash as appropriate into the recycle bin with your children. Kids don’t have to be very old to understand that most kinds of paper can be recycled, and you can work from there.


Whether you want to grow fruits and vegetables or some other sort of garden, it’s good for kids to learn to care for growing plants. Consider native plants and avoid invasive species as much as possible. Do what you can to avoid harsh pesticides and fertilizers, focusing on organic methods instead.


Teach your children that certain types of food waste don’t have to be thrown out – they can be composted instead, along with appropriate yard waste. They may be impressed when they understand that these scraps become something good for your garden.

Get Outside

You can’t appreciate the environment if you never get out into it. Go camping and hiking as a family. You don’t have to totally rough it, just go and experience nature for yourself.


As your children get older, get them involved in volunteering on projects to help the environment. There’s a wilderness area near me, for example, that has monthly cleanups that children 12 and older can participate in, so long as there’s an adult with them.

Set the Example

If you aren’t being environmentally aware in your own life, it’s not likely the kids will pick it up from you, no matter how you preach it. Be their example, so they know it as a way of life, not just something that gets preached and ignored.

4 Green Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

Kids love Valentine’s Day. Mine always want to give out valentines that include some candy and yes, sometimes I let them. It’s hard to make they always go against what all the other kids are doing. But there are some really wonderful projects kids can make for Valentine’s Day that are a bit more eco friendly and still fun.

Valentine's Day Ideas for Kids

Obviously, when you’re talking about valentines to hand out at school, you’re talking cheap. No one wants to spend a ton of money making somewhere over 20 cards per class. If your kids are like mine, they also don’t want to be the only ones giving out plain cards without treats. These days it’s pretty much expected. Fortunately, there are ways to keep things just that little bit more green.

Sadly, I can’t recommend homemade treats, as many schools have rules against such things.

1. Make homemade Valentine’s Day cards.

It’s really not easy to find classroom packs of Valentine’s Day cards made from recycled materials, but you may be able to make your own. Look around for any appropriate paper and cardstock you may have. There are plenty of printable Valentine’s cards available too. Add a crayon or so if it’s made to be colored in.

2. Make crayon hearts.

If you have a bunch of crayon pieces, melt them into heart shaped molds, and let your child include those with their Valentine cards instead of candy.

3. Add candy to your Valentine cards.

Rather than buy the cards with candy already attached, you can pick out your own candy and attach it yourself. Punch a hole or two through the card to make it easy to add a lollipop. There are all kinds of amazing ideas out there for lollipop Valentines.

4. Give pencils.

I don’t know why it is, but even kids too young to write love getting pencils. Put some heart decorations on them, and you have a really cute gift that kids might actually use.

Walking to School Encourages Children’s Independence and Responsibility

My kids have been back in school a couple of weeks now, walking themselves there without me. They’ve always walked to school, as we live within a quarter mile of their school, but in years past one or the other has been at an age where I had to handle the pickup. Now they’re old enough to walk on their own. This, I believe, is great for their independence and responsibility.

I did walk them the first two days of school. Those are the days when everyone’s getting used to the school, and things were just plain hectic around the school. We had people parking their cars around the corner from our house because the school lot and the rest of the neighborhood was so full. Even more so than the rest of the school year, I refuse to drive them the first days because we’d end up parked in our own driveway for the best possible spot.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy letting them walk on their own. Parents taking their kids to school are sadly not always the most alert for pedestrians, even when those tend to be other children. But I’ve taught my kids to be extra careful crossing near the school, and fortunately there are often other students and parents crossing at the same time.

That’s just one way walking to school encourages independence and responsibility. They have to decide when to cross a rather busy street to get to school. The street is only busy during the times people are dropping off or picking kids up, but during those times it’s really busy.

They’re also responsible for getting to school on time this way. Once they’re out that door, they can’t rely on me to remind them to keep moving, no matter what neat things they want to investigate on the way.

I also see benefits in how happy my kids are. They’re so proud to walk to and from school on their own, something I was allowed to do much younger. They have house keys for on the off chance that I’m not home when they get there (I don’t expect that to happen, but one can’t always plan for things) or if I lock the door and don’t hear the doorbell. They’ve had those for a while, actually, but now they have more chance that they’ll actually be used.

I know that we’re lucky. Not everyone lives all that close to their children’s school, or in neighborhoods safe enough to allow kids to walk there on their own. We have these advantages, and so mine walk rather than get driven to school. It’s fun, healthy and saves quite a bit of gas. Given the amount of traffic I’d have to get through, it’s also faster than driving them to school in our situation.

This is something I really encourage. Having kids walk to school has a lot of benefits. It’s really worth it if it’s a possibility for your family.