This is a guest post from Sandra Magsamen, author of I Love You, Honey Bunny.
On a recent (pre-Covid-19) visit to a local elementary school to read stories with little learners, I was asked a question by one of the students: "How do I make a difference in the world?" It was a big question, an excellent question, and it really made me stop and think. I immediately thought back to when I was this student's age and remembered how I often felt like a small fish in a vast ocean. The world was big, I was small, and I didn’t know how to make my mark.
I think it is easy for even adults to forget that our actions, no matter how small, really do have a major impact on the world around us. For example, every positive step we take towards bettering our environment truly does make a difference, because when we each do our seemingly small part, it creates a massive chain of positive events. This is exactly what I said to my little student. Each day, we can make the decision to do things that keep our planet clean and healthy, and in doing that, each day, you are making a HUGE difference in the world.
With that in mind, here are a few things you and your little ones can do each day that make a BIG difference!
Water, water everywhere!
Water is SO important in our everyday lives. Our brains are made up of 70% water, and our bodies need lots of it to be at our best! Just like us, the earth needs lots of fresh water to be at its best too. Plants and animals rely on fresh water to grow and to stay healthy. There are lots of ways we can make sure we use fresh water wisely, so that there is always enough for everyone! Here are a few little things you can do each day that make a BIG difference:
- Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth – and remember to sing the "Happy Birthday" song two times while you brush!
- Reuse your bath towel (as long as you didn’t jump in a mud puddle!) twice before washing it.
- Take quicker showers – make this a fun game! How fast can you wash your hair and scrub your body?
- Write on both sides of your notebook paper – this is helpful for our trees and our water. It takes a whole lot of water to create paper, so we want to make sure we use paper wisely!
Bees are pretty incredible! Not only do they produce delicious honey that tastes delicious and that has many health benefits, but they also help us by pollinating plants we eat like corn, potatoes, strawberries, watermelons, cucumbers, lemons, carrots, avocados, and so many more. Here are a few things you can do with your family to keep bees happy and healthy:
- Plant wildflowers – either in your backyard or a window box. Bees love wildflowers because they are full of delicious nectar to eat!
- Leave water for bees to drink – did you know bees drink water just like us? Leave a small bowl of water near your wildflowers for bees to drink from. All that buzzing around can make you thirsty!
- Make a bee house – help bees make a safe and cozy hive by making a simple stack of wood for them to hide inside.
- Eat local honey – honey is a great immune system booster and can help with seasonal allergies. When you buy and eat local honey you are supporting your local farmers and also encouraging continued pollination in your area. Win, win!
Worms do not get enough credit! These amazing little guys have been around for roughly 120 MILLION years – that means they were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Worms play a huge role in our lives because they help add important nutrients to our soil, which allows the food we eat to grow. Here are a few ways we can help worms do their jobs:
- Create a compost pile in your backyard – give worms a delicious meal each day by adding food scraps, veggie waste, egg shells, and banana peels to your compost pile. This makes worms really happy as these are treats that they will help turn into nutrient-rich soil for use in the garden.
- Collect fallen leaves – worms love all the nutrients found in leaves. In the autumn, add fallen leaves to your compost pile and make a layer of them on top of your garden to make it cozy for wintertime.
- Clean up trash – worms love food scraps as I mentioned, but they do not love plastic, because it makes it harder to do their job creating healthy soil. If you see plastic bottles, plates, bags, or any other waste thrown on the ground, put it in a trash can where it belongs!
There are lots of ways you and your little ones can take small steps to conserve energy. Here are a few ways we do it in our house:
- Tech free days – every so often, we take a day to put the electronics away. No computers, no phones, and no TV. On these days, we read lots of books, cook together, take walks, and play outside.*
- Switch it off – when you leave a room, turn off the light. In our house, we made a game of this for little ones with a point system.
- Think before you eat – standing in front of the open fridge lets a lot of cool air out and wastes tons of energy. Next time your little ones are hungry for a snack, have them think about what they want rather than debating in front of an open fridge door.
- The sun is nature's clothes dryer – on warm, sunny days, we love to dry linens and clothing on the clothes line. It doesn’t take much longer when the weather is right, and the fresh air smell is wonderful!
*We encourage that you please follow federal, state, and local guidelines on social distancing if you go outside. Click here for more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Wearing a face mask when in public to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 makes a HUGE difference in the health of you and your family. Don’t forget to wash your hands too!