With Hong Kong in the midst of another COVID-19 surge, people are staying home – again.
Office workers are back to setting up shop at home, and children are forced to get used to virtual learning once again. While some view lockdowns as just another lifestyle change, it’s always been more difficult for families.
In addition to having to work and learn in close quarters, parents have the added pressure of keeping their kids suitably occupied within the confines of a Hong Kong flat. Not an easy task, but we’re to help.
Here’s a list of simple eco-friendly activities for kids that are sure to be boredom busters, while also teaching them a thing or two about sustainability and preserving the planet.
See also: 8Shades’ Guide To A Greener Lockdown
1. Learn about the planet
To begin their sustainability journey, kids will have to learn the basics, and what better way to start than by learning about the planet we live on. Refresh or add to their knowledge by grabbing a book – like The Big Earth Book – or heading over to the National Geographic Kids, or tracking down a copy of David Attenborough’s seminal BBC docuseries Planet Earth.
2. Get a head start with spring cleaning
Now’s a good time as any to sort things out at home. Get your kids to go through their closet and find items that they’ve outgrown. Have them sift through their toys and books and let them decide which ones can be re-homed; you can consider PathFinders to help you out in that regard.
It doesn’t need to stop there – look around the house and see if there are any appliances or household goods that you no longer need and drop them off at any of The Salvation Army collection points.
Teaching kids to reduce, reuse and recycle is another important step towards becoming eco-friendly individuals. Get them into the habit of sorting by setting up and labelling bins (they can even design them) for paper, plastic and cans. Just as important, explain to them that it’s crucial to put things into the right bin so that they can be processed easily in the recycling facility.
See also: 8 Things You Should Never Recycle
4. Make art or toys
Once they have set up their recycling bins, these can also double up as a place where they can get materials for eco-friendly crafts. Overflowing stacks of paper? They can be re-used when learning origami or making paper planes or boats. What to do with cereal boxes? Open them up to make dolls or dollhouses. And for a truly retro playing experience, string up two cans – et voila, an instant telephone!
5. Teach basic repairs
Take this time to also level up the kids’ life skills by teaching them basic repairs around the house. Show them how to sew a hole or a button, get them to re-paint a toy or introduce them to the Phillips or flat-head screwdriver and tighten screws around the house. You’ll be thankful that you’re raising kids who will first try to mend a piece of clothing or fix a device, rather than going out to buy a replacement.
6. Calculate carbon footprint
For older kids, start introducing the concept of carbon footprint. It doesn’t have to be complicated – global reforestation NGO One Tree Planted has prepared a guide and even a deck to explain the subject to kids. You can also make it a challenge for them to calculate the family’s carbon footprint and incentivise them to find ways on how to lower it.
7. Make Plant-based Treats
The popularity of plant-based diets has made it easier and more palatable to create plant-based treats – from a three-ingredient brownie, no-bake almond butter cookies to low-sugar matcha balls. Who says desserts can’t be decadent and healthy at the same time?
See also: The Best Vegan Cakes in Hong Kong
8. Start a mini garden
If the kids always wanted to a mini garden in your flat, you can take baby steps towards setting one up, starting with an egg carton to grow seedlings. Not only are they zero waste, but the individual egg compartments are perfect for seedlings.
Plus, it’s unobtrusive enough that you can easily place this on the windowsill for sunlight. What to grow? Start them off with some herbs like mint and basil; they grow quickly and you can use them straight away for cooking (a win-win)!
See also: How to… grow your own herb garden
Besides all these great tips on how to keep the kids busy at home, don’t miss our 8Shades’ Guide to A Greener Lockdown. Stay safe and well, everyone!
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