Archive | Eco Kids Projects

Eye Spy Eco Activity or Kid’s Birthday Party Idea

At Angelo’s year end wrap-up party for preschool, the children and parents were surprised with an incredible forest walk.  We are lucky enough to have some forest left nearby our little school.  It wasn’t your ‘standard’ forest walk to find bugs or climb stumps…it was an eye spy adventure.  The teachers had pulled objects out of the classroom and placed them in obvious (and not-so-obvious) spots along the forest trail.  There was a doll baby perched in a tree, colored markers scattered along the forest floor, pretend food from the play kitchen, larger objects for kids that weren’t searching very hard <smile>, etc.  There were squeals of delight as they recognized what didn’t belong in the forest and where and what the object was used for at the preschool.  

Isn’t that a great idea for a fun Eco summer activity or birthday party event?  There was zero cost and the children LOVED it!  My girls were also on the walk and enjoyed it, so the age range for this could span easily from 2-10 years old.  My children would think it’s hilarious to find everyday items from our house on a nature walk in our nearby creek.  Place object in tree stumps, hang things from trees, and give them some easy to find treasures too.  Continue Reading →

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Reaction To Eco Kid’s Birthday Party

I’ve waited almost 1 month to post the reactions from parents and their children to the eco party we hosted to celebrate Francesco’s 6th birthday.  Nobody, and there were 20 kids with parents, had a single negative thing to say.  I wasn’t worried about the reduction of party supplies concerning my guests and I was pretty sure they would like the give-aways…it was feedback about Francesco not getting any presents.  I even had visions of children telling me I wasn’t a nice mommy for taking this away from him, but everybody, including the children loved it!  Most parents had never attended a party where the birthday child’s parent requests that a small donation is brought for the birthday child in lieu of a gift.  The total amount of dollars from the party is split in 1/2, the birthday child can purchase a special gift with their portion and a social cause is the recipient of the other 1/2.  Parents just LOVED this idea!  And the children all thought Francesco was the coolest for helping save the tigers.  Comments from parents included “Love the idea of reducing plastic from the large amount of toys everyone receives at children’s parties” and “My older children heard about Francesco saving the tigers and would like to help the planet at their birthday party too!” .

The best comment from a parent regarding the give-away (planter that was wrapped with a brown recyclable bag, with dirt and seeds) was “This is bar none, by far, no doubt about it.. the VERY BEST giveaway we have ever seen. And I love the fact that there is nothing commercial about it!! And it’s so… well, uh…. GREEN!!!! The planter alone serves as a constant reminder that we need to “get back to the basics” with the kids…  LOVE IT!!!”

As mentioned before, Francesco decided to donate 1/2 of his birthday money raised at the party to help the tigers.  We donated his money via the online donation through the Wildlife Conservation Society’s website.  If your child is a fan of wild animals, their website has some great information, very child friendly, and interesting.  Their commitment to involving children with the conservation of wild animals is clear.  One feature of their site has an awesome game for kids to play and learn (no donation is required) how their actions affect wild life and the planet.  The page is called The Human Footprint and there are three steps to complete.  First you choose to ‘Learn’ and you select one of the 31 animals featured.  It gives you information about where that endangered animal lives, the problem the animal faces, what the WCS is doing to help, and how your child can help in the long term or within 24 hours.  Pretty neat that my child can feel immediately empowered that they are helping their favorite animal!  The 2nd step to this exercise is to ‘Act’ , so you select the ‘I want to help GO’ arrow where your child can read about global challenges and options they can commit to in order to help their animal.  They can then select the ‘I want to do it’ box and realize that a very easy act can help make a difference for animals and the planet.

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Home Made & Eco Friendly Cleaning Solutions

A great question arrived recently via ‘Ask Suzanne’.  Here is a snippet:

“My kids love helping me clean the house, but I usually tell them that I am happy for their help but I don’t want them handling all those yucky cleaning products.  Do you know any good recipes for home made, eco and kid friendly cleaning solutions?”

I could not agree more.  I would love to hand my kids a rag when they follow me around wanting to help clean, but I don’t want them inhaling toxic products.  We all probably know the most common home made cleaning product – vinegar, but I’ve also included recipes that include baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil, and rubbing alcohol.  If anyone has other home made cleaning recipes that are favorites, please post them using the ‘comment’ feature.

I’m giddy after researching this question, because I had no idea vinegar has so many different uses.  I had no idea you can use it to kill weeds!  The front of my house is in need of a dandelion bombing, but I didn’t want to use toxic weed poison so this information is timely!  I’ll just fill up some squirt bottles with vinegar and let my boys have target practice….another eco friendly kid’s project.  Here are some other uses for vinegar:

Glass/window cleaner.  Mix 2 teaspoons white vinegar with 1 litre warm water to clean glass.  Use a soft cloth or crumbled newspaper to clean.  

Ant Repellent.  If you’re looking for an ant deterrent, white distilled vinegar is a natural product for this purpose when used to wipe counter tops, cabinets and floors.

Stainless steel appliance cleaner.  Apply vinegar to shammy or soft cloth and apply.

Fabric Softener.  Vinegar works great as a fabric softener substitute because it cuts detergent residue.  Add 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar in the rinse cycle – this is a good tip if you have a person with sensitive skin in your family.

Vinegar works as a deodorizer.  1 cup of apple vinegar set in a glass in the fridge will remove smells in 2 days.  Boil 1/4 cup white vinegar and mix with 1 cup water in the microwave and use to loosen food and it will deodorize at the same time.

White vinegar can be used to clean soap residue, bathtub film,  and toilet bowl stains.  3 cups of white distilled vinegar will deodorize your toilet if left for 1/2 hour.  Here is a recipe for toilet bowl cleaner:

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar.
Pour into bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Scrub.

This has nothing to do with cleaning, but I thought this was brilliant!  Apparently vinegar can fix a worn DVD that has begun to skip or suffers from freeze-frame (seriously!).  You apply vinegar to a soft cloth and wipe the DVD, ensure it’s dry, then insert into DVD player.  Good god, could it be this easy?  This one I’ll be trying tomorrow…stay tuned.

Baking soda is another commonly used home made cleaning product.  Get your child to sit on your kitchen floor, give him/her cups of vinegar and a box of baking soda.  They will believe they are mixing a ‘magic potion’ because of the fizzle/mild explosion effect.  The bigger the mess, the better, because you can clean your floors with the spills after play time is over.  Angelo washed his pennies doing little potions for over an hour last week.  It was a great way for him to pass the time and it forced mommy to wash the floors. Continue Reading →

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Kid Friendly Eco Project

My son Angelo loves wild fish and gets so excited when we drive by a sign marking the road of a fish route. For years he yells “fish sign!!” when we drive near a creek or local fish hatchery. So when I saw a blurb on our local Ecology Centre’s web site regarding a project with storm drain marking, my ears perked up.

Why is this important? The yellow fish are there to remind us that storm drains on our roadways empty directly into local streams. Storm Drain Marking is a conservation and education project developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

I had no idea this project was available to the public and I LOVE the idea of my family being able to assist with placing the fish stencils we’ve enjoyed seeing in the community for so long. With the fingerling festivals approaching in our local hatcheries it’s a great marriage of two very kid friendly projects.

The kits and procedure for storm drain marking has recently changed. The kits previously contained a fish stencil with a spray can of yellow paint. Now the kits contain a brush to clean the road, VERY powerful glue to spread in the cleaned area, gloves to handle the glue, and a fish sticker that actually gets glued to the road. There is also a huge mallet that you get to bang the fish so that it sticks to the road forever (smile). In a child’s eyes, what is there not to like about this project? They love glue, stickers, fish, and banging something with a hammer. I love it! Also included are door knob hangers that educate the neighborhood on the importance of caring for neighborhood streams and tips for protecting our fish. What a wonderful, educational project for young children. I have reserved my family’s kit and will post pictures and a description of the project when we complete. Oh yes, the kit comes with reflective vests….this is all just too fun. (Did I mention it’s free of cost??) I’m noticing a theme with ECO kids projects…most don’t involve money and everybody (including mommy and daddies) are learning!

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