Just thinking about the enormity and effects of climate change is hard for us to digest as adults, let alone if you are a young child! Breaking down such an important topic so that we can teach our children about it can be a challenge.
Educating children on the importance of caring for the environment is key early on, so that they can take this information into adulthood. As consumers, we believe the greatest power we have, is in the choices we make when we buy things and what we do with them when we no longer want them.
We think a good starting point is telling children that when they throw something ‘away’, there is no such thing as ‘away’, no mythical place where rubbish just disappears, it is going to go somewhere. And it is up to us to decide where it goes, and whether that is good, or bad for the planet.
But we think it is important to not just show children what they should do, but why and the difference this can make.
Any teacher will tell you that one of the most effective ways to teach children is with ‘hands-on’ activities and when children can see with their own eyes what difference they can make. Children’s use of their senses such as touch and smell are more likely to leave a lasting impression, and thankfully that’s where reuse, upcycling and crafting can come into its own.
At the weekend, it is well worth taking your child with you to the local recycling centre and involving them in sorting items to be recycled. Bring this knowledge back to the home and praise them for identifying items that can be recycled and for thinking what they could be used for before they are recycled too. Educating your children on how items can be used for other purposes, or ‘upcycling’ for is hugely beneficial, not just for the environment but for their creativity and imaginations too.
Helping children to see how everyday objects can be turned into something else with purpose, like how fruit juice cartons can be made into a play city or how some loo rolls can become a puppy puppet, can open a whole world of creative possibilities.
By making recycling and upcycling fun for your children, you will not only be giving them an endless source of new toys, games, clothes, instruments and more, but the gift of seeing infinite possibility in the material world around them. This will help them be creative, imaginative, and encouraged to adopt good habits with the belief that there is no such thing as waste, only things in the wrong place.
It will also show them that having fun, doesn’t need to cost the Earth! For lots of ideas for getting crafty with waste, check out the new You Can Upcycle Craft book by Wastebuster: https://collins.co.uk/products/9780008420994
After months of planning, bringing to life what started as an idea I had inspired by my daughter, we were ready to launch our new storybook and toy character brand, Cheeky Monsters. Then the world paused. As coronavirus shook the world, we went into lockdown and home schooling. As everything ground to a halt, we weighed up the options, checked that our business could weather the storm and decided to launch our pre-school character brand anyway, it was a now or never moment...