Tag Archives | eco families

9 Eco-Friendly Family Activities To Do This Spring

As the spring season approaches, it’s easy to start thinking about the warm weather and longer daylight hours, but it’s important to also think about the earth. Earth day falls on April 22nd each year, but it’s important to think about how to be eco-friendly year-round. Below are a few ideas of how to keep your family entertained and environmentally conscious this spring.

Make Recycled Crafts

Making fun crafts can be a great way to spend time together and make something fun. To add an eco-friendly spin to crafting, challenge your kids to create something that is entirely made up of recycled or reused materials. Depending on their age, you can give them a handful of materials to choose from, or you can let them loose to find things in your home and yard that are going to be discarded that they can use to make something new. This can help them develop their creativity as well as see that new things don’t have to be made up entirely of new materials.

Garden Together

Gardening is a great family activity that is also very eco-friendly. As the ground thaws in the spring, it’s a great time to get outside and get started on your gardening for the year. Your kids can help you with many gardening tasks, just make sure to take into account their age and ability levels when you’re asking them for help with different tasks. Plant some fruits and vegetables to be a little extra eco-friendly!

Find Ways to Save Electricity

There are many ways to use less electricity in your daily life, but if you work as a family to brainstorm ways to use less electricity, it can stick better in your kids’ minds. There are 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines for electricity in the United State’s electrical grid, and taking some of the stress off of that system can help it work more effectively and save energy. Something as simple as unplugging a device once you’re done using it or making sure that you turn the lights off when you’re the last one to leave the room can help save a lot of electricity over time. Figure out some specific ways that your family can decrease your electricity usage to make sure that you can actually cut back in your daily lives.

Bike Around Your Town

Once the weather is warm enough, start taking weekly bike rides to explore your town and the surrounding areas. It’s a great way to have fun family bonding time without worrying about polluting the environment. You can find new places that you might not have noticed if you were driving around your town, get some good exercise, and bond as a family. That makes bike riding one of the best eco-friendly spring activities for your family.

Cut Back on Your Water Usage

Similarly to saving electricity, talk as a family about ways that you can use less water. Only 1% of the water on earth is suitable for drinking, and while we can take that for granted in developed countries, it’s important to think about conservation. Some easy ways to cut back on your water usage include taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and using a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes by hand. Ask your kids what they think they can do and try to achieve those water-saving efforts together.

Do a Park Clean-Up

Litter is a big problem everywhere, but especially in the places that see a lot of foot traffic, like popular parks or walking paths. Every time that you go to a place like that, challenge everyone in your family to pick up a certain number of pieces of litter. If you’re worried about what’s on the litter, you can pack gloves to use to pick up the litter as well as hand sanitizer. Over time, your family will be responsible for picking up a lot of litter and making the earth a little bit cleaner of a place.

Exercise Outside

When the weather starts getting nicer, it can be easy to want to spend every moment possible soaking in the outdoors. It’s a great opportunity to encourage some healthy habits with your kids by finding new ways to get moving outdoors. Depending on the size of your family, you can arrange games like soccer or basketball, or you can try for more solitary forms of exercise, like yoga. 28% of Americans have tried yoga at some point, and doing yoga outside is a great way to soak in the good weather and take care of your body at the same time. Getting outside to enjoy the weather while also getting out some energy and helping your body is a great way to spend the spring.

Go on a Flower Hunt

A flower hunt is a great way to spend time outdoors and keep your family entertained. Next time you’re at a park, challenge everyone to find as many different types of flowers as they can. If you can, have everyone take pictures of their flowers instead of picking them so that you aren’t disrupting nature too much. After you’ve found as many flowers as you can, go home and do some research to find out what kind of flowers they are.

Play in the Rain

Spring means a lot of rain in many climates, and playing in the rain can be a very fun activity. You don’t want to get sick from spending time out in the rain, so make sure that you’re being smart about it and properly layering up in raincoats and boots, and not spending too long outside. Once you’re done, dry off and warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea and watch a movie to get the full rainy day experience.

Being eco-friendly and bonding with your family can go hand in hand with these springtime activities. Teaching your kids about the importance of being eco-friendly is a great way to help prepare them to have eco-friendly habits as they grow up.

Helping Holidays: 4 Green Gifts That Give Back

 

The holidays are all about celebrating acts of giving, making it the perfect opportunity to make your gift giving smarter this season. There are so many amazing businesses out there that give back when you purchase one of their products. These companies are tied to doing good somewhere in the world every time a purchase is made. Read on for my 4 favorite gifts that give back – and if you hurry you can still get these goodies by Christmas.

1. Warby Parker Glasses
Eben and I both wear glasses and love the stylish, affordable frames from Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses that you buy, a pair is donated to a person in need. If you don’t wear glasses, that is alright – Warby Parker also offers fantastic sunglasses.

+ Warby Parker  

2. Feed Bags
I have been familiar with FEED Bags for a very long time – I remember first seeing them in Whole Foods back when we lived in Georgia! FEED Bags come in a huge selection of styles and sizes and with each purchase a portion of the proceeds go towards feeding the children of the world.

+ FEED Projects

3. TOMS Shoes
Most likely you are already familiar with TOMS shoes – for every pair you purchase a pair is donated to a child in need. With a great selection of shoes for everyone on your list, TOMS is the perfect holiday gift!

+ TOMS

4. Bogo Brush
Every year I stick a toothbrush in the holiday stocking – this year I will be stuffing a brush from Bogo Brush! Bogo Brush is another company that donates a product to a child in need – in this case, an eco-friendly toothbrush made from waste – because a healthy smile is a happy smile.

+ BOGO BRUSH

Do you have a favorite gift to give that gives back too?

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

Hello, Friends! I am pretty excited, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year. Most gatherings will be super small or social distanced.

Either way, it will still be a ton of fun and work! To get you started, there are many eco-friendly ways to green your Thanksgiving dinner – all of which are easier to implement if you plan ahead. Many of these ideas will save you money and time while cutting down on the amount of waste that can accumulate from a big family dinner. Read on to learn my 5 favorite eco-friendly ways to plan your Thanksgiving dinner and start planning today!

1. Decorating 101
You don’t have to spend any money when decorating for Thanksgiving, instead use items that you already have or consider bringing natural items indoors. We always have a handful of pumpkins leftover from Halloween that we use as Thanksgiving decorations. And Eben and I like to take a nature walk to collect natural elements (pine-cones, acorns, branches, and leaves) to display as our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

2. How Much is Enough?
It is really easy to go overboard when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Consider the dishes that you will be serving and ask yourself if you are making more than is necessary. Choose a few dishes that you are sure your guests will love and skip the rest. Also, consider which parts of Thanksgiving dinner you want to or can afford to purchase organic and whenever possible, avoid pre-packaged items.

3. Consider the Table
Do you have enough dinnerware for everyone at your dinner party? If not, consider borrowing place settings from close friends or family members instead of purchasing new. If you aren’t a china and tablecloth kind of family and choose to go with disposable place settings, choose a great compostable version that is made from 100% recycled materials.

4. Think Seasonal
When choosing fruits and vegetables for your Thanksgiving menu, think seasonal. You want to avoid purchasing produce that is imported from far away. You may consider joining a local CSA for the holiday season – not only will you have delicious, local foods to serve this Thanksgiving, but you will be supporting a local farm too.

5. Plan for Leftovers
What do you plan to do with the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? If you are planning on sending goodies home with your guests, have glass reusable storage containers ready to go. If you made more than your family can consume, you could donate some of the leftovers to a local food bank, freeze them for later or have a menu plan for the days after Thanksgiving so all of the leftovers will be used.

How do you green your Thanksgiving dinner? I would love to hear – please share your thoughts in the comments!

3 Smart Ideas For Creating An Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume

It’s no secret that many people who celebrate Halloween do so by getting together with friends and getting into the spirit of the spooky season. For many of those who celebrate, creating a unique costume that showcases your individuality is the biggest appeal of the holiday altogether. But instead of heading to the nearest chain store to spend money on an overpriced costume made of cheap and wasteful materials, consider taking some extra measures to ensure sustainability while maintaining creativity makes all the difference in your costume’s environmental impact. Here are just a few ways to keep Mother Nature in mind while preparing your Halloween costume.

Skip The Synthetics
One eco-friendly rule of thumb when shopping for Halloween costumes at big box stores is to look at the labels and do your best to avoid synthetic and toxic materials.

“Halloween costumes are supposed to be fun-scary, not scary-scary. Yet, store-bought costumes are often made up of nonrecyclable petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers,” writes Laura Bailey on Wilderness.org. “Those Halloween costumes can include one of the scariest plastics — polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic and known carcinogen that releases harmful toxins in its creation and breakdown.”

Instead, look for costumes with natural materials and fabrics if you’re shopping at a big box store. Better yet, you should consider looking into small businesses that may specialize in eco-friendly products. There are currently around 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, and many shoppers may be surprised at the number of eco-friendly products both small and large businesses are now incorporating into their inventory. Don’t hesitate to take up your inquiry with a store employee, as well.

Consider A DIY Project
If you consider yourself to be the crafty type, you can easily purchase some organic or otherwise eco-friendly materials and create your own costume. Sales of organic non-food products in the U.S. were up 8.8% in 2016, meaning there are more options than ever as far as styles, colors, and materials. If you have the resources, you can make a DIY version of any costume you find in a big box store, and you may even spend less doing it!

Incorporate Recyclable Elements
Finally, whether you buy your costume from a store or make it yourself, try to incorporate some reusable or recyclable materials. About 60% of the U.S. population, or about 148 million people, have access to a plastics recycling program. Similarly, if you have any young kids who may be participating in trick or treating festivities, be conscious about the bag or container they’re using to stash their sweet treats.

“Avoid the ubiquitous bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns that have no chance at ever breaking down in a landfill. Instead use reusable shopping bags, canvas totes or the ole pillowcase trick. A funky thriftshop handbag can add a fun twist to a green Halloween costume as well,” writes Bailey.

Ultimately, it doesn’t take much to make a few small changes toward sustainability. By keeping an eye out for reusable and organic materials, you and your family can enjoy all the traditional festivities of Halloween while doing your part to preserve the Earth’s resources.

How to Make Simple Upcycled Halloween Lanterns

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One of my favorite areas to decorate for Halloween is our front porch. It’s the perfect spot to share your Halloween decorations with visitors and neighbors! These painted glass lanterns are one of my favorite projects to pull out of storage every year. They are just so delightful!

What you will need:

What to do:

1. Spray the glass containers inside and outside.
2. Once dry, paint on the design or face that you would like.
3. Place a rechargeable or solar powered tea light inside.
4. Watch the delight on the faces of your neighbors as they walk by.

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What do you think of my Halloween lanterns?