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Green Family Fun

2011 January 13

By Lina Younes

During the winter months, I find it especially challenging to identify educational activities for my youngest that will keep her away from the TV and other electronic gadgets. With the cold weather, some outdoor activities might be limited. So, what is a parent to do? Well, here are several suggestions to get the kids engaged and teach them about the love of nature and the environment.

My number one suggestion: teach your children to enjoy reading! Expose the children to good books at the earliest age possible. Reading bedtime stories or sitting together as a family reading aloud creates enduring memories. Even children who read well still enjoy being read to by their parents.

Number two: get a library card for your child and take them to the library often. Many public libraries have special activities for young kids during weekends. Having them explore the library and research issues of interest to them opens a whole world of possibilities.

Number three: invite children over for a play date and conduct some science experiments. You can find many basic science books in the library that teach you to do some simple experiments with some common household ingredients. The children will have a blast and learn some hands-on-science.

Number four: bake a cake from scratch! Teaching your children to cook or bake is very similar to conducting a science experiment. You need to measure all your ingredients, use the proper utensils, follow instructions, manage time wisely, and at the end you’ll have a tasty result. Even if the outcome is not fit for Julia Child’s kitchen, it’s great family fun. The lessons last a lifetime.

Number five: take your child to a local museum. In the Washington metropolitan area we are lucky to have many museums that offer special family events on weekends. You can go online for the latest information or check your local newspaper for information on weekend activities.

Number six: volunteer for the environment. Many community-based, faith-based, service organizations have events for the whole family to help with a local stream cleanup, a recycling campaign or some local activities that will instill the love of nature in our kids, the earlier the better.

So, while many of us are still mulling over our New Year resolutions, why not think of doing more activities with our kids? Would love to hear your suggestions, as always.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as acting associate director for environmental education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    January 13, 2011

    My Number.
    Number one is consistency
    Number two is relationship with the god
    Number three is thrown up opportunities
    Number four is growing up the skills
    Number five is proportional
    Number six is recommendation to the god
    Number seventh is monolingual
    Number eight is humble human
    Number nine is environmentalism forever
    Number ten is say thank you
    Number eleven is say no problem
    Number twelve is anything is natural
    Number thirteen is autocritics
    Number fourteen is cry
    Number fifteen is retrospection.

  2. Lina-EPA permalink*
    January 13, 2011

    Interesting list. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jorge G Hipólito permalink
    January 13, 2011

    Juntemos os números e os transformemos em apenas um. Esse
    significaria que os pais das crianças possam estar equilibrados sócio/econômico e psicológico, o que iria propiciar motivação para interagir com os filhos. Exatamente, como foi com os avós. Muitos pais estão desorientados diante das dificuldades da crise mundial, ou seja, o dinheiro pode estar faltando o que impede o atendimento das necessidades básicas.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink*
    January 13, 2011

    Obrigada por sus comentarios. Todos debemos de poner de nuestra parte para motivar a los niños a participar en el civismo ambiental. Saludos. Parabens

  5. January 15, 2011

    great list of ideas. very well thought out

  6. Linda permalink
    January 18, 2011

    If you have a sunny window-sill available (or care to invest in a grow-lamp), you and your youngest might enjoy starting seeds indoors; together, you can watch and tend the tiny seedlings and plan where you will put them when spring finally comes to your garden. Some items, like lettuces can be harvested from a window box when they are very small, leaving you space to plant some more … or plant something else and watch the process all over. A terrarium allows you and your daughter to plan a whole self-contained eco-system; with luck, it could flourish for years. The deeps of winter is when many of us most long for truly “green” activities; a terrarium or window box is a great way to bring a tiny spot of sring-time indoors.

  7. Steven permalink
    February 21, 2011

    If you have a sunny window-sill available (or care to invest in a grow-lamp), you and your youngest might enjoy starting seeds indoors.

  8. stone permalink
    February 21, 2011

    Great list of ideas !

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