20 Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose Activities for Kids

20140418_152357Especially with Earth Day coming up this week, I wanted to share this neat list of 20 activities for kids that involve Recycling, Reusing and Repurposing! Enjoy!

I am spending my lunch break on Tuesday (April 22) Earth Day at my daughter’s school representing a local environmental organization I’m on the Board of called Keep Prince William Beautiful.  I’m so honored to have been asked by her teacher to come in and share some “Three R’s” information in a fun way with them! She knows of my environmental background so it’s neat to be able to integrate my work and my passion into young children’s education!

What will you be doing for Earth Day?

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Advent Calendar Activities – Simple, Easy and Fun!

 

Christmas Advent Calendar - Finished calendar side view

 

Some of you have asked what our advent calendar activities are that we wrote on slips of paper and included in our homemade recycled advent calendar.  So here is our list, though we had to reorder some of them because of snow storms, etc.  The nice thing is the kids don’t mind opening a different day if needed as they know they eventually will get to open all of them! Continue reading

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Traveling for Thanksgiving with Kids?

This is a neat Thanksgiving travel packet to print out (on recycled paper of course!) 🙂 to keep your kids entertained on your Thanksgiving travels!

It has a variety of activities suitable for younger kids like coloring and drawing pages, but also for older kids with paper battleship game and cryptogram activity, choose your own math activity, etc.

Thanksgiving Travel Packet 2

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Saving Green and Being Green for Back to School Lunches

It’s here!  School starts in a less than two weeks for us, so back to school time is officially here!  Are you ready?  Save some green and be green by AVOIDING the back to school shopping!  Before you run out to the stores to spend a small fortune on new school supplies, see what you have in your home that you can reuse from last year, or better yet, make your own when you can!

Here is what we already have from last year for this year’s back to school lunches.

Lunch bag/lunch box: Luckily she still likes Minnie Mouse, so we are going to reuse her insulated lunch bag.

Reusable water bottle: We had issues with leaky plastic water bottles last year so I bought this new metal one on sale earlier this year.

Lunch Containers for Back to School

Lunch Containers for Back to School

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Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature Scavenger Hunt Ages 2-5As school is just around the corner and everyone is getting the “back to school” bug, you might be like me and trying to find ways to get your kids outside in these last few weeks of summer.

What better way than a Nature Scavenger Hunt!  My kids love doing these every so often in the nice weather, even in the not so nice weather, so here’s a printable I’m sharing with all of you FREE!

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Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket listAfter the last day of school back in June, my oldest daughter and I sat down and each wrote a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  This is the first time she was in school (Kindergarten) so having the summer break was quite a new thing for our family. She is going to daycare with our youngest since both hubby and I work full time, but I still wanted to make the summer a special experience for her.

After we each wrote up our own list, we narrowed it down and came up with a top 20 list (shown above and listed below in case you can’t read my terrible handwriting).

1. Go camping (might do a tent in the backyard first to make sure our 2 year old can really handle sleeping outside).

2. Do lots of crafts (we are doing lots!)

3. Go to a farm (went to lavender farm already, planning on going to Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum too since we bought Groupon tickets a while ago – plus our neighbors’ children called my garden a farm so maybe our visits to grab some veggies from the backyard counts as a visit to the farm too?)   🙂

4. Flashlight tag

5. Buy a balloon and play towel game

6. Watch movies outside (our local city has free outdoor movie nights throughout the summer)

7. Go the pool

8. Telescope – look at moon and stars (trying to coordinate weekend night when they can stay up later with full moon for best viewing)

9. Solar smores and campfire cones

10. Melt crayons and make new crayons out of old broken ones (we did this last year and it was a hit)

11. Rainbow cupcakes

12. Do science experiments (we’ve done these in the past and they love them!)

13. Watch fireworks

14. Go on boat ride

15. Flip flop cookies

16. Go to zoo

17. Picnic at the park

18. Make Hawaiin Punch (my kids drink water and milk so any type of juice or fruit punch is a big treat for them)

19. Nature Scavenger Hunt (I’m still working on the sheet for this one and will share when I have it finished!)

20. Summer Reading Programs (I signed both kids up for our local library’s summer reading program. They get coupons and little toys (unfortunately plastic ones like a rubber ducky) for reading certain number of books.  My 6 year old is reading alot on her own but for my 2 year old, they said to track the books we read to her so she can still get in on the fun.  I think it’s so cute they let the wee little ones partake even though they can’t read yet.)

 

We tried to keep it as “green” as possible (both environmentally and financially) with things we already have around the house, but I just couldn’t convince her to delete the “buy balloon and play towel game” item as she LOVES balloons and while I know they are so bad for the environment, I just couldn’t say no to this one.

I just realized it’s almost the end of July, there are only 5 weeks left of summer and we haven’t crossed many things off our list yet:

Summer bucket list July

I figure if I post it up here, then it gives some sort of accountability – like now that someone else out there knows our list, I HAVE to make sure we do it!  On the other hand, there are several things we have done this summer NOT on this list that created some wonderful memories like our hiking adventure and playing near a waterfall in the Shenandoah Mountains, and seeing one of our nieces that we hadn’t seen in almost 2 years!  So I guess if a few things don’t get done off this list, it’s ok as we’ve made up with some other even better activities and memories this summer.  Right?

If you’d like to create your own summer bucket list, I got the fun image from here on Motherhood on a Dime.

What are your fun summer to-do’s?  Share a comment below!

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Green Garden Gallery

While I love the fresh and healthy aspect of eating food from my own garden, I also appreciate the fact that there is no waste, no packaging, no travel/gasoline/petroleum or CO2 emissions involved in my food.  My blueberries don’t come in a cardboard or plastic box, my green beans don’t come from across the country, and my peas don’t come in a plastic bag.  I save seeds from year to year, add some compost from our food scraps, water it with our rain barrel’s water, and let the sun shine down on the wonderful tiny patch I call heaven.

These are the ultimate green goodies!

Here are some recent photos that my 6 year old took of me and my garden.  It’s absolutely wonderful to go out back with the kids and pick our dinner for the evening.  I don’t know if my girls will ever go back to store-bought produce after eating these crisp, crunchy ones!

We’ve had this blueberry plant for about 3 years now and this is the first year it has produced any fruit.
Good things come to those who wait!
Update: Slight problem – something has been eating my blueberries lately! When we go to pick them first thing in the morning, all the ripe ones are gone…could it be the birds? Or the squirrels? Or the resident groundhog?
Nothing better than eating green beans an hour after you pick them!
Just hanging around…
Me and my peas!
Here is our littlest one excitedly helping me de-shell some peas.  We’ll see how long that lasts.
Still more to go…
Snow peas getting ready for stir frying

Hope you are enjoying your own harvest so far this summer!  If not, then I hope you are at least enjoying your weekly visits to the local farmer’s market to get some fresh produce.  Mine has been a great resource for things I am not growing yet (zucchini) or that have come and gone already (strawberries, spinach, lettuce).

Some of you have asked me to write a post about pesticides and what I do about garden pests/diseases.  I don’t use any pesticides!  I let nature runs it’s course and only interfere with water and sometimes water and vinegar when needed.  I’ll write a more complete post about this soon with some more ideas of how to tackle your pesky garden pests.

Happy green gardening!

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Inspiration from the Young

I read this article in this month’s Biodiesel Magazine (http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/articles/9086/utahs-young-biodiesel-phenom).  In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s about this intelligent, hardworking Sophomore young lady who has won tons of science awards, etc. from doing a variety of experiments on extracting biodiesel from things like used coffee grounds.

After reading it, it did two things for me:

1) Made all my high school accomplishments (heck, even college ones) feel like diddly-squat compared to this girl!

and

2) Inspired me that our youth have not given up hope and in fact are smarter than we give them credit for.

They are out there trying to improve our world, to ensure sustainability of the planet and of humanity, to really make a difference.

So if growing up means giving up hope on bettering things, on making a difference, then I definitely do not want to grow up.

After 14 years of working in the for-profit corporate world, and focusing so much on climbing the corporate ladder to prove to myself (and selfishly to others) that I can be a serious, successful corporate executive, I will admit the view from up there was not as nice as I had envisioned.

“Growing up” was not so attractive after all. Sure there were plenty of perks, but it lacked something crucial to me.  Something I had when I was in high school and college.  Something I always thought I’d have forever in my studies, career and continuous learning.

Passion.  It lacked passion.

My passion, my hobby of “greening” our family, our home, our local community, was always just that…a passion, a hobby, something I did for fun.

Until one day I decided to stop being such a boring grown up and try to get some of that passion back in my career.  I wanted a career that didn’t just pay the bills but made me excited to wake up in the morning and thankful when I went to bed at night.  It’s not as easy as it sounds to find a job that can do all of those things.

Maybe it was September 11 and seeing the smoke from the Pentagon from my office window or seeing the emergence of army personnel with weapons drawn on the streets and the Metro outside our office.

Maybe it was sitting in a high level meeting complete with leather chairs and marble tables that screamed luxury in a beautiful downtown office and thinking “I’m helping rich people get richer while poor people get poorer and that just doesn’t feel right.”

Maybe it was that my kids started asking me what I did for “work”, where I went all day, why I came home so late, or why I had to travel to that city or this one, all the while looking at me with those eyes that said “I miss you” and the hugs that felt like “Don’t ever let me go.”

Maybe it was a combination of all these things that made me realize I had to do something about it.  Things don’t happen by themselves.  I’m all for going with the flow, but I realized I had been going with the flow for far too long.

It was time to push my limits, just as this young girl, only a Sophomore in high school, has already done. While I wish I had figured this out at her age, you are never too old to push your limits and follow your dreams.

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