Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun Ways To Get Kids To 'Act Green' At Home

NF note: Since the school year is winding down, we thought this article could inspire some of our children to learn more about ways to preserve our resources. Those who live in Peachtree City have an added advantage with golf carts. Why not challenge your tweenie to determine how much gasoline is saved when you use the golf cart for a week?

StatePoint- Whether it's through their parents, teachers, Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio, kids are hearing a lot about climate change and many want to know what they can do to help protect the environment.

In fact, kids ranked the environment as one of their top issues in a recent online poll by Scholastic News.

"One child's actions are just a blip in the global carbon budget, but one thousand kids riding their bikes or one million families lowering their thermostat are actions that register," said Mark Spencer, an environmental scientist from the University of California at Berkeley.

Getting kids to "Act Green" can be a fun family affair that everyone from the youngest family members to the oldest can enjoy together. Here are some tips and fun environmentally-friendly activities from Scholastic's new, free "Act Green" Web site for kids, available online at www.scholastic.com/actgreen:

* Green Yourself! Let kids have a no-bath week to learn about water conservation. Of course, the goal shouldn't be "act smelly," so have kids take showers instead, since they use about half as much water as baths. Consider having a week where you and your kids take nothing but five-minute showers. Tweens will love this exercise!

* Track household electricity use for a week. Teach kids how to read the electricity meter and have them make a chart tracking a week's worth of kilowatt hours used by your family. After kids see how much electricity you use, it's easier to get them to turn off lights when they leave a room or power down computers, TV sets, video games and other electronics when not in use!

* Replace all your batteries with rechargeable ones. Make this a fun game to track down all batteries used in your home.

* Start a vegetable garden or compost heap at home or at school.

* Carpool for a week. Talk about the places to which you drive your child every week. Figure out if there are any other kids or parents in your area who go to the same places. See if they would like to share a ride to save gas. Have a week where you and your kids carpool at least three times.

* Hold a "green party." Have your child plan a "no-waste" party and invite his or her friends. They can make posters, share green journals and come up with ways to help the environment in their homes and at school. Kids can then visit the "Act Green" Web site at www.scholastic.com/actgreen to share their green ideas with other children in their community and around the country.

* Recycle unwanted wire coat hangers. Go through all the closets in your house, collecting unused wire hangers. Then, do one of the following: bring them to your dry cleaner (who may be able to re-use them), add them to your curbside metal recycling or bring them to your local recycling center. Explain to kids that hangers contribute to bigger landfills, and we want to keep landfills small because they emit carbon gases, use up oil (with all those garbage trucks) and stink up the environment! This encourages them to think about ways to re-use and recycle other items they usually throw away.

"By educating and engaging kids early on about how to help our planet's future, they are more likely to grow up to be better informed citizens and more willing to get involved and make a difference," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic.

For 100 fun, free environmentally-friendly activities for kids, visit www.scholastic.com/actgreen. Parents and kids can also get customized "Green Plans" on the site and for every green activity they complete, they can earn points to power up the "Greenerator," an online machine that tracks kids' green activities throughout the country.

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