When it comes to taking care of the Earth, kids’ passion can run deep. To spark their interest, start by focusing on your own backyard. These easy, kid-friendly ideas can green any outdoor space—and show kids the real power they have to make a difference. Dig in!
You don’t have to live on a farm or have acres of land to compost. You can start right in your kitchen by having kids decorate an airtight food-waste pail. Once it’s been filled with scraps (no meat, dairy, or grease), have them transfer the waste to an outdoor composting bin. If you have the time and space, you can also create an in-ground composting area: Dig a trench about 1 foot deep. Toss and chop remains into the trench, then mix them in and cover with soil. After a few months, your composting spot will be ready for you to plant on.
Make Some Birdfeeders
The more birds you have flitting around your yard, the fewer grubs, slugs, and snails there will be to gobble up your plants. There are loads of easy ones you can make with your brood from things you already have around the house. Type DIY birdfeeders into Pinterest to find your favorites.
Plant a Brown Thumb-Proof Garden
Pothos, jade, geraniums, and California poppies are all resilient plants that even the littlest gardeners can manage. Whether you want to start with seeds or plants that have already sprouted, kids will get a kick out of watching their very own flowers grow.
Put the Kids on Coffee Duty
If you’re not into composting, you can have your kids collect your used (and cooled) coffee grounds in a food-waste bin. Then once a week, they can sprinkle them in your garden or potted plants before watering. The grounds are filled with plant-loving nutrients like nitrogen and add organic material to the soil, which improves drainage, water retention, and aeration.
Create a Bat House
These winged creatures are mosquito-eating machines! Plus, they’re fascinating to watch. You can order a bat house for the kids to decorate (most are under $30) or make one yourself.
Invite Friendly Bugs into Your Yard
Butterflies, ladybugs, and bees are essential to keeping any green space healthy. “Plant native plants like milkweed, and nectar- and pollen-rich wildflowers,” says Jessica Culverhouse, senior manager at The National Recreation and Park Association. Then encourage your child to keep a journal of the wildlife that comes to visit.
Grow a Bean Teepee
In a matter of weeks, your kids will have their very own backyard hideout—complete with snacks! Dig a circle about 3 or 4 feet wide. Stick about seven long bamboo poles into the ground along the rim and tie or tape them together at the top. Have the kids plant runner beans on the inside of each post. By midsummer, you’ll never get them out of there!
PHOTO: Susan Chiang/iStockphoto