Getting out in nature is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your physical and mental health.
The daily demands of life, in between commuting and dealing with school, work and social life can, can lead to a lot of stress.
Whereas, being in a natural environment provides a therapeutic respite that gets us away from daily worries and the gadgets we often use to palliate ourselves from stress.
It’s a real tragedy to think that kids often get hooked on gadgets only to miss out on the ability to form real-life connections.
And while movies are fun, your idea of ‘going out’ as a family shouldn’t be to stare at a big screen for 2 hours in darkness.
After all, the memories you create as a family should add value and richness to your family life while helping your kids to acquire wholesome earth-friendly values.
Here are a few eco-friendly activities that are both fun and wholesome for the whole family.
Journey Into Nature
Getting out into the great outdoors can do you a world of good.
It is calming and peaceful, with plenty of scenery to enjoy.
The following nature excursions are also sure to get the blood flowing and provide plenty of opportunities for kids to race around with the wind in their hair.
Take the whole family on a hike.
But, don’t just charge through a mountain.
Take your time and check out the unique rock formations, plants, and wildlife around you.
Also, do some birdwatching or make a game out of spotting unusual animals; whatever it takes to truly take in your surroundings.
Just make sure to bring plenty of snacks and water to stay hydrated, as well as a portable first-aid kit, especially if you’re hiking with kids.
You never know what might happen out there, so make sure everyone has an extra jacket or sweater packed in case the weather changes.
If hiking seems a little too extreme, consider taking a stroll through the park.
Rambling is one of those gentle outdoor activities that are inclusive of everyone-even your dogs! But, you’d do well to pack some eco-friendly sunscreen and maybe bring home-cooked snacks to nibble on once your route is done and you’re ready to walk back home.
The benefit of making your own snacks is that you get to determine what’s in them, so make sure to include the healthiest ingredients.
There are so many natural water sources that are free to enjoy which most people often take for granted.
If you live near the coast, take a trip to the beach or check out a nearby waterfall.
Instead of going to the local staking rink on a really hot day, consider swimming at the local lake to cool down.
As always, leave only footprints.
Take it Outside
Ditch the stove, save on gas and take the gourmet home cooking outside.
Get the kids to gather some wood with you, chop it up and get a barbecue going.
Kids love getting involved and helping out in the kitchen, so you can just imagine how excited they’ll be at the idea of cooking outside.
You could even make a weekend project out of building one of those earth ovens and experience what it’s like to eat sun-cooked food.
We all know about deforestation in the Amazon and that the world needs more trees.
Make a pledge to plant a tree with your family every once in a while to teach your kids about the importance of environmental responsibility.
Or better yet, try rainwater harvesting. It’s one of the most sustainable ways to use water while ensuring that you and your family have a guaranteed water supply all year round.
Feel at Home in the Wilderness
Take the family out on a camping trip and make it an immersive experience by setting your tents up as though you’re going on a very long safari.
It doesn’t matter if you’re camping out in your backyard or a National Park, bringing all of your camping supplies will also make it easier for everyone to lose themselves in the experience.
And don’t completely eschew technology either.
While lying down staring at the stars, you could use the Google Sky Map app to identify different constellations or even spot a meteor zooming by with your telescope!
Whatever you do, make sure you have a picnic basket and cooler stashed away somewhere with staples like grapes, crackers, and cheeses, so there are plenty of snacks to go around.
And if there’s enough space left in the car, feel free to bring a few board games for some family-friendly competition under the open sky.
Although we all participate in consumer culture in one way or another, nothing is more rewarding than making something with your own hands, especially if that something is earth-friendly.
Luckily, not all arts and crafts projects require you to purchase brand-new supplies.
You can create the prettiest DIY projects using stuff you already have around the house, such as newspapers or even natural objects like fallen tree leaves. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices going:
· Next time you cook breakfast, save the eggshells and use them to create a beautiful egg mosaic.
· Create a necklace using pebbles or small, pretty rocks that you’ve picked up. This one will be a hit with the kids!
· Pick some pinecones and see what creatures you can turn them into.
· Don’t throw out plastic bottles, turn them into colorful planters for herbs and small plants. This will also encourage kids to take an interest in gardening and plants, which brings us to our next few tips.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spacious backyard, now would be a great time to give it some attention and perhaps plant a few trees, flowers, and veggies.
Make gardening a family affair and a fun learning experience for the kids.
There are so many teachable moments that you can make use of, from counting seeds to measuring the garden bed or keeping track of plant development over time.
This will teach your kids valuable lessons like patience and math.
While you want every member of the family to be involved in the planning and preparation of the garden, you should get everyone in on harvesting as well.
There’s nothing better than enjoying the fruits of your labor and when it comes to gardening, that’s exactly what you get to do.
Teach your kids to harvest without leaving behind any damage and involve everyone in the food-to-table process.
Here are some of the benefits of growing your own food:
- You get to save money by buying fewer groceries.
- You get to enjoy more nutrient-dense food.
- It’s therapeutic and it keeps you active.
- Growing your own food offers you and your family better food security because you do not rely on outside sources to eat.
If you don’t have the space for a garden or it just isn’t possible to have one, you can take weekly trips to your nearest U-Pick.
You still get the joy of harvesting your own food and they might even allow you to have a taste while picking.
Set-ups like this are great because there isn’t any waste from packaging, which promotes the idea of sustainable shopping.
A Family that Cooks Together
It might not seem like it, but home-cooked meals are good for the environment too.
The processing of commercially sold food involves a lot of waste and there are so many unnecessary by-products that come of it.
Instead, of ordering in, why not prepare something to eat together? The grown-ups can do the chopping while kids mix all the ingredients together.
As a family, your values must include collaborating for the greater good.
You can try to replicate a recipe from a cookbook, putting an eco-friendly spin to it wherever you can.
Be careful with the ingredients you use though, and try to keep everything as organic and local as possible. Also, seasonal produce is best!
Green is the New Gold
The planet is slowly dying, and if the next generation isn’t aware of this, things might get as bad as predictionsindicate.
That’s why it’s important for families to work towards low carbon living and make zero waste part of their lifestyle.
It all starts with the principles you have as a family, so you need to educate everyone on why conservation is important.
See if you can create some sort of incentive program for family members that go out of their way to engage in environmentally-friendly activities.
For instance, instead of giving kids cash for their chores, get them to pick an environment-related charity of their choice to donate to.
That way, they’ll associate eco-friendly behavior with a reward, and as they always say, “giving is better than getting, right?”
Give Green a Go
Most people assume that you need loads of money to have fun.
But, these eco-friendly activities are proof that making memories with family is truly priceless.
Plus, it’s incredibly easy nowadays to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle as a family- even while having fun!
But, the best way to make this lifestyle sustainable is to make it intentional.
Your reasons for going green must be crystal clear so that even the youngest member of your family understands the motive behind it.
Explain to everyone why you do the things you do, show them a nature documentary about the effects of waste on the environment.
Even movies like Free Willy and Happy Feet can teach kids a wealth of information about the environment in a way that they enjoy.
Anyone can recycle a few things here and there or start a garden to save some cash, but the best way to make it stick is to cultivate a real love for the environment.
If each and every family took it upon themselves to live this kind of lifestyle, the world would be a very different place.
And while it’s not yet hip or mainstream to live this way, you and your family could be the trailblazers of your community.
You could be the ones who inspire others to take part in more eco-friendly and environmentally meaningful recreational activities.
And now that you know what eco-friendly activities you can engage in to keep your family busy, consider having a calendar or schedule where you do one eco-friendly activity each week.
This will make it easier for you and your family to make space for more of these activities.
Of course, you don’t have to do everything at once either.
Take it one step at a time, gradually building up the intensity as you go.
Pretty soon, living green will be a part of your lifestyle even when having fun!