Even with the help of eco-friendly products and choices at home, summer activities can often make you feel like all of your hard work is going out the window. From disposable plates and utensils to excessive driving, keeping your family busy in the summer can lead to excess waste and not-so-eco-friendly actions. It’s important to be able to go on fun, family outings without feeling like all of your eco-conscious work is going out the window. Here are 10 family activities that you can feel good about doing this summer!
1. Junk Crafts
Even if your home is pretty eco-friendly, chances are you have some junk mail, toilet paper roll, and milk cartons laying around. Check out this Good Housekeeping article for a few great junk craft ideas to keep your kids entertained!
2. Opt to Take Your Bike
Whether it’s a quick trip to the grocery store or to drop your kids off for a playdate, take a moment before simply hopping in the car and consider taking your bikes instead! Not only is this an eco-friendly option, but it is also a great form of exercise and gives you the opportunity to teach your children a little more about bike safety
3. Take a Hike
You might not live in the middle of the Rocky Mountains or own a pair of hiking boots, but finding a new trail and hiking to get a great view of your town can be easier than you think! To help you get started, click here to see a list of the best day hikes in each state. Remember, stay on the trail and bring some water!
4. Go to a Garage Sale or Host One of Your Own
Clothes and other household items typically end up in landfills when people purchase something new. One way to slow this cycle is to opt for slightly used items instead of always purchasing brand new pieces. Another way is to sell your possessions instead of dumping them in the trash. Getting kids involved in this process can be fun, too! If you are going to a garage sale try giving your child a small amount of money, say $5, and letting them make a purchasing decision of their own. If you are hosting a garage sale, let your child pick an item or two of their own to sell in exchange for their favorite family outing or another reward that takes the emphasis off of accumulating too many “things.”
5. Visit Your Local Farmers' Market
Shopping for delicious, fresh produce at your local farmers’ market is not only a fun activity for your whole family, but it can also help cross a trip to the grocery store off of your “to-do” list! Bring your own reusable shopping bag or cooler and opt for items in sustainable packaging or no packaging at all. This is much easier to do at a local market than it is at a grocery store. Try getting your kids involved by having them search for a fruit or vegetable for every color in the rainbow, then, take their selections home and try them as a family. Check out this list of the best farmers’ market in each state!
6. Have a Picnic
No one wants to eat a boring old lunch at the table on a hot summer day! Pack a lunch for the family and ride your bike to the local park or sit on your back porch to eat and play. Use reusable storage containers when packing your lunches and try bringing package-free produce.
7. Go on a Nature Treasure Hunt
There are so many fun things to find just outside your back door. Create a list of items for your kids to search for while spending time outside. Some fun ideas could include a heart shaped rock, a piece of trash (to place in the garbage or recycle), or the brightest colored leaf they can find.
8. Pick Up Trash
While this option might not be super appealing at face value, taking a walk along a river or through a local park with a trash bag in hand can not only help clean up your town, but it can also teach a valuable lesson to your children about taking care of the environment.
9. Visit Your Local Recycling or Compost Plant
Many recycling or compost centers welcome visitors who want to learn more about the process. Try giving your local centers a quick call to see if anyone could show your family around and teach you about what they do and how it all works. You might even want to give composting a try for yourself!
10. Host a Book or Magazine Exchange
Reading is obviously a great pastime for kids, but what happens when the bookshelf begins to overflow and the stack of magazines on the coffee table makes it hard for you to actually set down your coffee? Instead of throwing the old away and buying something new, try getting a group of friends together to trade reading material. When you do this, everybody gets to read something new, and nothing goes to the trash!