Mamatoyz: Plastic Free July Ideas for Children
Every July, the month is dedicated to educating more people about plastic waste and providing ideas and inspiration for changes that reduce the amount of plastic we all use. Plastic consumption is not a new topic of conversation and this awareness month has been growing every year. The detrimental consequences of plastic to the environment has been a growing concern for many years and the future of our world relies on us all making efforts to make a difference with our consumption. As all of our efforts are for the generations below us including our own children, it’s important for us all to teach our little ones why we’re involved with things like Plastic Free July and what it means! Here’s everything you need to know and some ideas to get your children involved with the conversation about plastic waste!
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a global movement formed by the Plastic Free Foundation. The month encourages millions of people to make a difference against plastic pollution by challenging individuals, households, organisations and businesses to go plastic-free for the month of July. The main focus is on single-use plastic and dramatically decreasing the need and therefore the manufacture of this polluting material.
Why is it important for our children to learn about plastic?
Our children will be the generation teaching the next and the hope is that by the time it comes to their time to educate others on plastic pollution it will be more about the history of why we don’t use plastic anymore, rather than trying to reduce it. If we can teach our children about this now and from a young age they can make healthier choices in their future and we can all work together to create a healthier world for everyone to live in.
What has Plastic Free July achieved for our children’s future?
The more people that get involved with this month, the more differences are made and the popularity of the Plastic Free July continues to rise. In 2018, it was reported that 120 million people were involved and that was across 177 different countries. This volume of participants is making a dramatic difference and this ultimately impacts the health of the world that our children will be living in. Those who are involved in Plastic Free July have:
- Reduced their household waste by an average 76kg per household per year (7.6% of their yearly total).
- Cut their use of recyclables by an average of 28kg per household per year (5.6% of their yearly total).
- Contributed to a total saving of 490 million kg of plastic waste each year!
Plastic Free July Activities for Children
If you’re interested in participating in the challenge this year or looking to make some sustainable changes, you’ll want to help your little one understand why you’re doing it but also make it fun and interesting for them to stay engaged. Here are 8 of our favourite activities:
To help your little one understand the scale of the issue and do a little bit extra for the cause, we love walks that involve (safely) picking up rubbish that needs to be disposed of correctly. This helps your child understand how much plastic is discarded just around their local area. We love these walks on the beach too, bringing up conversations about sea life and ocean pollution too.
Whether you’ve been out collecting rubbish or just using some things from home, a great experiment for the whole of July is to set up three containers with three different plastics in them with soil or water. When it comes to the end of July, you can then go back and see how these plastics have biodegraded, demonstrating visually how they remain for a very long time.
Shopping role play
If you’ve got your own mini shop set up at home, it’s a prime opportunity to role-play purchasing plastics and establishing alternatives. From choosing vegetables that are loose and putting them into paper or string bags to deciding if your home should continue to buy a favourite product or look for something different because it’s not wrapped in nonrecyclable plastic. We also love to play this with the Sera Kitchen!
For older children who enjoy doing research, a question time session can work in many different ways. You can provide your child with questions to go and find the answers to or you can ask them to write their own list of questions to discuss with you.
We love a creative upcycle session! Whether you’re thinking about a new decor piece for the nursery or playroom, or if you’re looking for a collaging activity, upcycling is a great option for reusing and learning more about why this is such a creative and useful activity.
Learning about materials
Activities like upcycling allow the conversation to open about materials and why things are made the way they are. This is a great time to look at items within their home and what they’re made of. It’s also great to spend the time talking about the alternatives and if you’re looking at purchasing something new, how can plastic be avoided!
Create plastic-free lunches
We love the crossover of healthy eating and a healthy world. With the investigation of when and how plastics enter the home, it’s a great time to look at how these then create lunches that we all love so much. We love an activity that gets our little ones to see how this journey from product and plastic to being used happens. Don’t forget to use your Kule Learning Tower!
Try something new
If you’re looking to really get into this challenge and make a difference, we think coming up with a new plastic-free choice within your home is a great way to go. It’s also a great idea to let your child be involved with the choice so they see that their family is committed to this cause. Maybe you’ll swap to reusable shopping bags or water bottles, or maybe you’ll vow never to buy another plastic toy, the choice is up to your family!
We hope we’ve offered some new inspiration and wish you the best of luck on your plastic-free journey!