School is out for Summer in most parts of the US, and that means the kids are looking for something to do. Studies show that kids who grow up in a healthy environment live longer, do better academically than their peers in the same age group, and are less likely to act out when they are stressed. What is a healthy home, you ask?
A healthy home is a home where allergens and dust are kept out, as well as street noise/environmental noise from outside. Fewer allergens mean fewer attacks of hay fever or other allergy issues, including asthma. This means better rest when the child sleeps. Less environmental noise from outside means it will be easier to concentrate on studies or schoolwork/homework. We already know about the health advantages of a green home for the whole family.
What can your child learn this summer from your green home, and to which courses in school do these lessons apply?
- The Rain Cycle (Earth Sciences) If you have a cistern installed or other rain collection system used for toilet flushing and laundry or watering of landscape plants, you can show your child the collection system when it is full of rain, and when it is dry or almost empty, to explain evaporation and cloud formation. If your system is on the roof, you can use a picture and tell them that you have one there.
- Life Cycle of Plants (Earth Science or Biology) Your grey water or rainwater system is used to water the plants in your landscaping year-round. Show your child how this is set up, and show them the seeds your landscaping came from, or plant some flowers or vegetables from seeds, and use the collection system to water them.
- Life Cycle of Animals (Biology and Earth Sciences) Show your child pictures of animals that live in your neighborhood or region. Explain that your green home helped these animals live near humans because it has little environmental impact. Use terminology that is age-appropriate. A Kindergartener only needs to know that rabbits have live babies, for example, while an older child will understand how many they have at one time (7-12, on average!), and why.
- Saving Money on Utilities ( Math, Home Economics) Show your child how much you paid for a utility; water, for example, before you moved into a green home, and how much you now spend on that same utility. Explain how you cut costs and why, and show them how to calculate the difference between the two.
These are only a few examples of ways to teach kids about the environment and keep them from forgetting important academic skills using your green home as an example to them. Kids are endlessly curious about their environment.
There are many ways you can teach them to care for the environment, and help prepare them for college and adult life. Summer is a great time to satisfy their curiosity while you spend time with them.