It’s no secret to parents that our children are watching our each and every move. Tie that to the fact that their minds are running at a constant speed of 100 miles an hour, and more often or not (whether we like it or not), they’re going to ask us “why?” “Why are you doing that?” “Why aren’t you doing that?” and, most importantly: “Why should I do that?”
Now, while we might get frustrated with the questioning, when it comes to training by example, children make this incredibly easy for us.
This fall as you begin to make your lists and start thinking about fall & winterization prep, don’t leave the kids sitting in front of the TV, bring them with! Make them a part of it. They’ll probably ask you why they are raking the yard with you, which gives you the perfect example to explain composting. They might ask why you’re changing out all the light bulbs to more eco-friendly carbon fluorescent (CFL) varieties. And, just like that, your boring, must-do fall activities that were once just tasks to check off a list become fun and exciting family activities that have a built in teaching function. If you’re not sure how you can actually get them involved, here are 3 easy starting points!
1) Clearing UP Those Leaves!
This fall when it comes time to start cleaning up the leaves, put the leaf blower away. Or, better yet, get rid of it altogether! The emissions produced by a gas powered leaf blower is the equivalent of the emissions produced by a car over a 350 mile drive. And, if you think about it, all those emissions won’t be spread out over 350 miles. They’re going to be sitting right in your front yard. And that’s less than appealing. So, get some kid-sized rakes (and your sized too!) and make it a family affair to go out and regularly rake up those leaves.
You can make this fun, trust me. Play games, undo each others piles, collect the most colors. Turn on your family’s favorite tunes and make it a full out dance party! After you’ve got the piles together, skip leaving piles of leaves on the sidewalk for the garbage truck and instead, keep them and try your hand at composting! They’ll love getting a pile started that they can keep contributing to all fall and winter and then you’ll be able to take this and teach them about gardening with good soil next spring. It’s a never ending lesson!
2) Sealing UP the House
One of the biggest tips for winterization is to seal up the house. That covers everything from finding hidden cracks and holes, covering up the windows and making sure appliances like your hot water heater are well insulated. Make this a game for the kids, a little bit like hide and seek but with a twist. See who can find the most holes that need to be caulked and keep a running competition going. Let them help put up window sealing kits, and maybe even let them go an extra step just for the day and hang up blankets while you’re at it for an afternoon “movie night” inside! There’s nothing quite as fun as turning the entire house into a fort for the day! Let your kids help you “dress the hot water heater” with putting insulating blankets over it to conserve heat. See if your kids can find other household items and rooms that could be insulated or blocked off for the winter.
3) Crafting UP Homemade Door Draft Stoppers
This is one of my all time favorite craft ideas and perfect for a lazy fall Saturday! Creating door draft stoppers can be as easy and as sophisticated as you like. For the easiest options, find extra, extra long tube socks and have your kids decorate them with felt pieces, buttons, crafty bead eyes, antennas, old ties of dad’s, scarves of mom’s, anything! Stuff the sock with something thick and heavy (rice, sand, corn, etc.) and tie it up for the perfect stopper that will keep hot air in and cold air out! If you’re feeling advanced, you can sew long tubes out of material that matches your home décor and then let your kids have the fun of stuffing them and placing them around the house. Extra points for whose stopper is the most creative and whose has the best name!
Freelancer Jocelyn Anne is dedicated to helping families live healthier happier lives in the home! At the moment she’s writing alongside Air & Water, helping them promote a family safe gas water heater that can cut energy cost and use all winter long.