A big part of making sure our world is a better place for our children and grandchildren is to show them now how to reduce their impact on our planet. Teaching them sustainable habits will ensure they continue to make better decisions for the planet as they get older. It’s never too late to start.

Here are 5 kid-friendly ideas to encourage sustainable habits:

  1. Get your kids outside to play every day. According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), “The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11.” And outdoor play builds healthy bodies, raises levels of Vitamin D and “improves distance vision and lowers the chance of nearsightedness.” There are so many benefits to getting your kiddos out in the fresh air, away from their electronics and connecting with nature.

  2. Make sure the whole family is using reusable water bottles not “recyclable” ones. Seemingly everyone in my daughters’ schools has a HydroFlask, finally something that “all the kids have” that I can get behind, so it shouldn’t be hard to encourage your little ones to carry a reusable bottle with them. Personalize their bottles with stickers and they’ll never want a single-use plastic water bottle again. Not only is this a win for the planet it helps them remember to stay hydrated.

  3. Take time to clean up a local park or playground with your kids. Make it a fun family clean up game. See how fast you can clean up the area and then enjoy the space with your children. This is an excellent way to make your neighborhood more beautiful while teaching your children about civic responsibility. Talking about why littering is bad for your community and for the environment is a lesson that is appropriate for any age.

  4. Plan and plant a garden with your kids. The fun part about a garden is you could plant one in your backyard, indoors or on a balcony. Your kids will love to watch something they’ve planted grow into a plant. Better yet, into a plant that they can eat. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about healthy soil and how what is in the soil ends up in our bodies. Also, it’s a great way to get them to try vegetables they maybe won’t try before.

  5. Make something with your kids by repurposing or upcycling something that would normally be thrown away or recycled. You could make recycled journals (maybe a nature journal) with paperboard and other items from your recycling bin. You could make crafts with clothing you’re getting rid of, the possibilities are endless.

    You can even have fun reusing edible items, if you are going to carve pumpkins any time soon, here’s 5 Ways to Reuse Pumpkin Guts.

There are so many ways to model sustainable habits so just remember, even if they don’t show it, they’re paying attention to the things you do. Make your actions speak just as loud as your words.