“Mum, you shouldn’t accept plastic bags in the supermarkets”, “Mum, we’ve been taught not to use straws”, “Dad, why are you not bringing your own mug for your coffee?”
Some parents might recognise this friendly advice if they happen to be so lucky to have kids in schools that are already eco-conscious and teaching our little ones about our planet. However, as role models for our kids, why not inspire and educate them from an early age – on the beach, in the garden or by getting creative inside? We’ve put together 10 spots and 10 tips to where and how you can educate your child to become an eco-warrior in Singapore.
PLASTIC OCEAN INSIGHT
Many of us have heard that our seas are being destroyed by plastics, but for our kids to really understand the scope of the situation, start off by showing them the Netflix movie “A Plastic Ocean” or some of the other great documentaries that will visually document how our fish, turtles and whales are affected by plastics. Often this could be a kickstart for your child to refuse straws in the cafés or picking up trash from the beach.
I would love my child to become a MARINE eco-warrior, what do I do?
If your child is 8-yrs+ and a competent swimmer, diving can be a great way to understand the plastic problem. Ask your children’s school, if they have a partnership with e.g. Orcanation, if not perhaps ask them if they could get one? Your child can do a bubble-maker dive from the age of 8, and junior open water from 10-years-old – read more about this here.
If your child is not yet 8, they can still easily get an understanding of how the plastic affects the seas. A great family outing that will make a difference is one of the many beach-cleans on the shores of Singapore:
“Where does the food come from?” and “How does it grow?”. It’s only a few generations ago that most Singaporeans were farmers, but for many, the connection with soil and nature has been replaced by shopping sprees in the mall. Running around barefoot in nature and teaching kids that you can pick up things from the ground and embrace nature, is not only a good lesson for the kids but for our city-parents too!
I would love my child to become a GREEN FINGER eco-warrior, WHAT do I do?
Farms and organisations often hold holiday programmes for kids and families often – here the children look at the basics in gardening, like watering, growing vegetables, composting and learning what insects do. The kids will also prepare meals out of the garden veg and organize lunches.
WHERE DO I GO?
CITIZEN FARM: “Urban Farm School” and “The Family that Farms Together”
Cultivate Central: “Let’s dig, sow and grow” and “Little Green Thumbs at the Green Garden”
Organic Farms: Quan Fa, Green Circle Eco-Farm and GUI Kampung Farm often have farm tours for families as well as harvest tours.
UPCYCLING ARTS AND CRAFTS
Your bin is full and on your dining room table are piled up with white paper and Toys’r’Us art gadgets, but how about combining the two? If you plant some boxes, egg holders, jars or other household products, you’ll be surprised to see, how your kids can get creative with very little.
I would love my child to become a CREATIVE eco-warrior, what do I do?
Have a think before you throw, and get inspiration for eco-crafts online. If you want more hands-on help – ask your local arts and crafts studio if they offer classes on this, or visit these specialised eco-spots for arts and crafts:
Playeum at Gilman Barracks are open Tues-Thurs – look HERE for their holiday camps!
UpGround Initiative: Basic woodwork workshops out of recycled materials – create your own toys or speaker
10 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR CHILD AN ECO-WARRIOR
- AVOID PLASTIC: Bring your own bags to the supermarket and say no to plastic ones. Avoid plastic straws when buying drinks and bring your own cup and bottle when eating out.
- SAVE WATER: Turn off taps, use a cup for brushing teeth and use the cooking water to water plants.
- OFF THE AIR-CON: Teach your kids to turn off the air-con when leaving their room.
- RECYCLE TRASH: Get your kids to take the trash down, and separate what you can with them! – HERE’s how to.
- POLLUTION SAVER: Car/bus/taxi-free day. Dedicate days to just walking, cycling or scooting. Also, don’t be worried that the kids pick things up from the ground – they need to become friends with nature and learn that it’s not ‘dirty’.
- AVOID FOOD WASTE: When having dinner, only serve what you can eat, and save the rest in a container for lunch the next day.
- RE-USE CLOTHES & TOYS: Go through the kid’s room with the kids – pass on your children’s clothes and toys to others – and of course accept passed-down clothes/toys for your own kids too!
- UPCYCLE: Use articles at home for arts and crafts like egg cartons, used cardboard, straws and milk cartons and start creating art at home – youtube has a lot of inspiration!
- CLEAN UP: Get involved in beach cleans or organize one yourself.
- SPREAD THE WORD: Get your kids to join eco-groups at school and teach them to share their eco-warrior experiences with family and friends. One person’s efforts will make a difference! The 5’s R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot are good to know and learn for teaching others!
Get more DIY tips for your kids and ideas for how you can do Eco-friendly Birthday Parties, Upcycled Glitter Globes, Declutter Your Kids Wardrobe and a lot more on Singapore’s Guide to a Green Lifestyle, orgayana.