5 Things to Do With Your Kids These School Holidays That’ll Teach Them About Sustainability

Kids veggie garden

As any parent will tell you: finding things to do over the school holidays that will keep your kids entertained — for more than just a couple hours, that is — can be difficult, to say the least. Factor in wanting to find activities for them that about our impact on the environment and the importance of sustainability, and you’re bound to be coming up short.

“The holidays can be overwhelming for parents, and with such a long break over summer, it can be hard to keep the kids occupied and entertained,” says Martin Walters, marketing director of environmental health service TOMRA Collection. “However, it’s also the perfect time to reconnect with your kids, and share valuable life lessons, including how to be more sustainable.”

Ahead, Walters shares just a few things you can do these school holidays that will not only help to keep you and your kids sane, but they’ll also show them exactly how they can learn to be more sustainable — all without (drastically) harming the planet.

Make Your Own Backyard Games

Rather than buying new toys for the holidays, consider making a backyard game with your kids using household items. For instance, if you have tennis balls and leftover plastic bottles, paint them white with a couple of red stripes to create your own backyard family bowling league. If your kids love mini golf, use items around the house to create a course on your lawn. The family member with the most creative hole wins.

Gather Your Recyclable Containers

This Christmas and New Year, hold on to leftover bottles and cans and head to a reverse vending machine to recycle them with the kids. Not only is it fun for the kids to watch their bottles and cans disappear and to get their 10 cent refunds for each container, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of recycling and reducing waste.

TOMRA’s reverse vending machines also allow recyclers to donate their refund to the Starlight Children’s Foundation through the Containers 4 Kids campaign, so your kids aren’t only learning to help the environment, but they’re also learning to be charitable.

Go on an Insect Scavenger Hunt

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt, so why not easily make one by creating a search for bugs and insects in the garden? All you need to do is head outdoors with a pen, paper, list of garden bugs and a magnifying glass, and the kids can learn all about the little critters that live in your garden.

While out exploring the depths of your backyard, not only will your kids find out about the secret lives of their new six-legged friends, but they’ll also start to understand their critical importance to our Australian ecosystem.

Make Something for Your Pets

While decorating the house and tree with the kids over the holidays, try getting crafty with the same materials and making something for your pet to enjoy, too. Leftover Christmas decorations and craft supplies can be used to create a sustainable yet festive toy for your furry family member.

If you don’t have a pet but still want to create something for one, Cat Protection Society NSW has a craft club stocked with a range of designs that you and your kids can make at home, and then donate to the cats at the shelter.

Plant a Sustainable Veggie Garden

Planting a vegetable garden with your kids will teach them not only how to grow plants, but also how to be more sustainable and environmentally responsible. Start with easy veggies that love the sun and will thrive in the warmer months like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. So you remember which plants are which, reuse paddle pop sticks from your summer ice blocks to write the name of each vegetable and then stick it in the soil.

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