Protect our planet



Save our planet



We all want our kids to inherit a greener world.

So how can we, as parents, help them to take action to

make the planet a better place to be?








In her long-awaited 25-Year Environment Plan announced earlier this year, Prime Minister Theresa May waged war on plastic waste. Setting out steps for a greener Britain, she pledged to:


Eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042.


Persuade supermarkets to introduce plastic packaging-free aisles where food is sold loose.


Fund new research for ‘plastics innovation’.


Provide aid to help developing countries manage plastic waste.


Alas, the pledges are so long-term that they’re more likely to affect our children’s future than ours! Indeed, the only immediate policy was to extend the successful 5p charge for plastic bags to smaller shops in England, as in Scotland and Wales.)




Greener living means limiting your consumption. Buy fewer, hard-wearing toys rather than overloading children with ‘stuff’. Wear

second-hand clothes, initiate toy swaps, support charity shops

and organise car boot sales. Visit farmers’ markets and shops so children see that food doesn’t magically appear on supermarket

shelves! Encourage children to donate old toys to those in need.


Bargain Bingo!

Draw up your own Car Boot Bingo cards and enjoying tracking down the listed items with your little helpers. Be warned – it’s addictive!




‘Upcycling’ is all the rage – think Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘Fill Your House For Free’. Re-use discarded objects to create something better, such as revamping scrap paper into a pretty notebook. If you’re party planning, choose an ‘Eco’ theme with eye-catching decorations crafted from items you’ve reclaimed from home and outdoors.


Stunning signs

Give children a sense of ownership over the recycling. Together, create signs for your recycling containers, transforming them into beautiful artworks.


Puppet pals

Make puppets together from old socks, with buttons for eyes. The possibilities are endless.




Typically, people in the UK throw away their body weight in waste roughly every seven weeks. That’s about a tonne of waste per family, per year. Recycling is the perfect introduction to greener living. Toddlers love sorting! Demonstrate how to categorise using building blocks, then let them sort through food packaging. Leave recycling bins in bedrooms and craft areas.


Devise a super-simple recycling plan with separate boxes for different materials. Attach pictures to boxes so little ones can identify the right place to put things.


Visit your local recycling centre to see how it works. Children won’t

forget this hard-hitting visual of the magnitude of waste we accumulate.


Toilet roll snake

You’ll need: one toilet roll, ‘googly eyes’, paint, glue, felt-tip pens, red paper and scissors


Paint the outside of the toilet roll and let it dry. Cut a spiral strip from the roll, shaping one end like a tail and the other like a snake’s head. Glue on the ‘googly’ eyes. Cut a red, forked tongue from the paper and glue it to the snake’s head.

Finish by adding designs along the length with felt-tip pens.





What sort of world could our children inherit if nothing changes?

Populations of vertebrate animals (such as mammals, birds and fish) declined by 58 per cent from 1970-2012, and freshwater

wildlife populations have dropped by 76 per cent since 1970, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


For four decades, our ecological footprint has been the size of one and a half Earths. We’re rapidly using up more resources than our planet can provide.


The number of cars on roads and airmiles from planes will nearly double by 2040, according to US researchers, Bernstein.


The human population has (roughly) doubled since the 1960s.

By 2030, it’ll expand by another third!


The good news is that the next generation takes saving the planet seriously. A study by Explore Learning found that the biggest worry amongst four to 14-year-olds is ‘saving the environment’. So, how can families harness this enthusiasm and play their part? A great starting point is to teach children the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.






The average person uses 150 gallons of water daily. But globally 1 in 9 people still don’t have access to clean water near home.


Turn taps off while children clean teeth, record how long they’re in the shower with a funky timer, and bathe pre-schoolers together. Why not install a rain barrel together, for watering fruits, vegetables and flowers?


Make your own rain

You’ll need: a glass jar, a plate, hot water and ice cubes.


Pour 5ml of hot water into the jar. Cover it with a plate and wait a moment. Ask your little ones what they think will happen… While they ponder, put the ice cubes on the plate and instruct them to watch inside the jar. Soon, the hot and cold elements will cause the water to condense, rise into the air, and form rain droplets from the top of the plate! Once the water cools, explain that you’ll re-use it, for instance to water plants.



Explain the importance of turning lights off when they’re not needed and closing doors in winter. Just switching off lights can save over £50 a year! Turn off central heating in rooms rarely used during colder months, too. Encourage (nag!) everyone to switch off electricals at source, not on stand-by.


Serious stickers…

Nurture a competitive spirit around energy-saving – design a

sticker chart for the kitchen! Every appliance or light that’s switched off earns a sticker. Ask older children to think of other energy-saving ideas for the chart.














Out and about

Anything that gets children out in the fresh air and increases awareness of their surroundings helps to ignite interest in protecting the planet.


Take the bus

Use public transport where possible. Children love buses and trains. Air pollution is increasing in cities, globally, and Sustrans estimates that a typical school run by car costs £400 a year!


Grow your own

Courgettes and strawberries are perfect for first attempts at growing. Don’t despair if you’re short on space. Old wellies make comfy homes for chilli plants and hanging baskets can produce lots of strawberries.


Dig for spuds

Grow potatoes in rubbish bins. Once ready for harvesting, children can help to dig through the dirt to find the potatoes and then enjoy cooking them with you!


Bugs and compost

If you’re blessed with outdoors space, start a compost heap. Toddlers love carrying scraps to the compost bin. They also adore minibeasts so invest in some worms to munch through household waste, turning it into compost.


Wiggly Wigglers

They sell ingenious Can-O Worms and Worm Café composting systems. Shifting fresh compost to feed the garden is exciting and children can count the worms too!



Forest Friends

Follow Dan the Gardener & Friends’ adventures in Three Little Woods. These gutsy green gurus encourage children to respect nature and have fun! Visit


Wonderful WWF

WWF’s Green Ambassador programme teaches youngsters about the natural world and how to safeguard it.



Woodland Trust

Nature Detectives has heaps of activities for kids from birth, from

sensory boxes for babies and toddlers to tree identification kits for older children.








July/August 2018

All information is correct at time of publishing