Easy ways to go green at home with kids this summer

Kids getting antsy during their summer break? Here’s a way to keep them occupied, entertained and learning while they’re not in school.

The recently released children’s book Stewie Boom! and Princess Penelope: The Case of the Eweey, Gooey, Gross, and Very Stinky Experiment by Christine Bronstein is a fictional story about a kid who learns just how fun it is when he and his family make their home more environmentally friendly. And while a good story will certainly fill the time, it’s the real-life projects inspired from the book that will make the biggest impact on your family and home this season.

Stewie Boom! and Princess Penelope by Christine Bronstein, illustrated by Karen L. Young (NBTT, 2016)

Below, check out seven ways you and your kids can channel Stewie Boom! And Princess Penelope’s family when it comes to going green around the house:


1. Take the grocery shopping challenge

Gather up the kids and go to the store together with the mission to pick out healthier foods without chemicals together. Teach them about labels and then challenge them to find products with five ingredients or less.

2. Have a recycling show-and-tell session

Give the kids their own recycling bin and have them be responsible for tossing the appropriate items in there. Then, at the end of each week, have them present to the family some of the items they’ve chosen to recycle and explain why they did so.

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3. Play the “Where Does Everything Go?” game

All you need are three buckets labeled “Recycle,” “Compost,” and “Landfill.” Have the kids toss various waste items from the kitchen into the container they think it belongs. If they get it right, they get a point. If they get it wrong, explain to them where it should actually go and why. This is a great game to play right after a meal, especially when you’d like some extra little hands to help clean up.

Stewie Boom! and Princess Penelope by Christine Bronstein, illustrated by Karen L. Young (NBTT, 2016)

4. Decorate a water bottle

Plastic water bottles can be an environmental problem not only for the amount of trash they produce but also because 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture them each year, according to The Water Project. Instead, buy reusable bottles for the family and turn them into an art project, having each child decorate their own.

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5. Give pets a food makeover

Just as you and your family are eating healthier and making your diets more eco-conscious, your pets can also do the same. Take the kids to the pet store to pick out healthier food and treats for the furry members of your family. They’ll enjoy being in charge of Fido’s food, plus who doesn’t love a stroll down the toy aisle?

6. Plant a garden

Give each child a choice of which veggie they’d like to grow and the task of taking care of it (some research may be required). Encourage them to keep a diary and draw pictures of its growth over time as well as recipes they come across that would be yummy for it. You can also start a family pool with prizes to see who can guess closest to when the first crop will appear.

Having fun with veggies

7. Walk when possible

Going to a drugstore a few blocks away? Yes, we know the heat can make it tempting to hop in the car and drive there, but resist the urge to burn fuel if a place is in walking distance. Not only will you be more eco-friendly, but it’s great exercise and a perfect opportunity to enjoy some fresh air. Make it interesting for the kids by keeping track of how many steps it takes to get there and back with an app or fitness tracker. It’s always such a surprise to know how many steps you actually take.

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