Learning how to live more sustainability is an ongoing, life-long process. However, it can be especially tricky if you're a parent, as there are so many pieces of advice to consider when teaching kids about caring for the earth. Luckily, with a bit of creativity, it's possible to naturally incorporate more eco-conscious habits — like reducing waste and using natural materials — into your home.
Not sure where to start? Ahead, discover our favorite actionable tips and useful products for becoming a greener family.
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1. Host a clothing swap.
If you know a family with kids who are about the same age as your little ones, consider hosting a clothing swap. It's a great way to refresh everyone's wardrobe without spending a dime or producing unnecessary waste.
Better yet, make it a two-in-one event by adding a mending party to the mix. Bring supplies like thread, embellishments, and buttons so the kids — and adults! — can customize their pre-loved garments.
2. Use kid-friendly, plastic-free shampoo bars.
One of the best ways to reduce waste is to replace bottled shampoo, conditioner, and body wash with bars. Fortunately, thanks to brands like Peach Not Plastic, it's now possible to buy kid-friendly versions. In fact, Peach Not Plastic's bars are so fun and colorful, you might be tempted to use them, too.
3. Replace plastic baggies with fabric sandwich wraps.
If sandwiches are part of your family's weekly rotation, try using fabric sandwich wraps instead of plastic bags. Fabric sandwich wraps are washable and reusable, so they're an excellent sustainable swap. It also doesn't hurt that unwrapping a sandwich feels like opening a gift.
To get your kids on board, let them choose their own sandwich wraps. This is especially fun if you purchase from a company like Marley's Monsters, where you can find an excellent range of prints and patterns.
4. Pack lunch in bento boxes.
For non-sandwich lunches like pasta or salad, go for a bento box. They're significantly more durable than flimsy plastic containers, so they'll be less likely to end up in the landfill within a few years. Not to mention, some brands like Bentgo create boxes with colorful prints that are perfect for kids.
5. Get reusable totes for the whole family.
As a replacement for single-use plastic bags, reusable totes are an essential tool for green living. What's more, it's becoming increasingly easier to find eye-catching bags that make sustainable living fun. Baggu, for example, makes stylish and attractive tote bags. The brand even offers smaller "baby" Baggu bags, which are ideal for kids.
Alternatively, for a more budget-friendly version — and family-friendly activity — you can also decorate plain canvas bags with fabric paint.
6. Grow a mini garden.
Another great way to create a more eco-friendly household is to grow veggies and herbs together. However, this doesn't need to be a complex project — even a few plants on your porch or windowsill will make an impact. Or, you can try using a grow kit like this Creativity for Kids pizza garden version. Needless to say, pizza night is about to get so much cooler.
7. Craft with recycled materials.
Green living doesn't always need to include new products. If your kids love to craft, try using salvaged materials whenever possible. Think: cardboard tubes, newspaper, egg cartons, and bottle caps. Natural items, like leaves and twigs, also make great craft supplies. Not only will your kids learn about the hidden potential of various materials, but you'll save money, too.
8. Make cleaning products together.
The next time you're making a non-toxic DIY cleaning product, get the kids involved. They'll love mixing and combining ingredients, whether you're making an all-purpose scrub cleaner or cleaning wipes. Additionally, your little ones will be able to learn how easy it is to make inexpensive and eco-friendly cleaners at home.