Our children will face the greatest challenges when it comes to environmental preservation. If we don’t teach them how to conserve resources and care for the environment, they won’t have a good future ahead of them. Learning in the classroom is more than just about books and knowledge – it is also about being conscious about the environment.
Starting from small acts of kindness to Mother Earth, with the efforts of parents and teachers, all schools and institutions can help children/students to learn more about environmental sustainability in a fun and creative way.
So, if you’re looking for some go-green activity ideas for school, worry not – we’ve prepared a list for you to check out. These activities will be more than just fun and laughter but they will also help kids understand the importance of going green in the long run.
- 1 1. Recycled Paper Art
- 2 2. Plastic Bottles as Plant Pots
- 3 3. Waste Segregation Game
- 4 4. School Yard Gardening
- 5 5. Solar Oven Cookout
- 6 6. Visiting a Local Landfill
- 7 7. Learn Organic Composting
- 8 8. Visit an Organic Farm
- 9 9. Bottle Cap Art Projects
- 10 10. Donation Drive or Garage Sale
- 11 11. Sewing Projects from Old Clothes
- 12 12. Tree Planting
- 13 13. Clean-up Drive
1. Recycled Paper Art
For this activity, all you need to do is to ask your students to look for recycled paper, which may come in the following formats:
- Old newspapers
- Old magazines
- Printing errors from offices
- Physical receipts that are no longer used
- Flyers from stores
- Grocery lists
- Notes that are no longer used
Teach your students creativity and eco-friendliness by prompting them to create any recycled paper art using these materials. For instance, they can create a paper-mâché or a simple cutout project depicting an object they like. Forming collages from various recycled materials will help exercise your students’ creativity.
2. Plastic Bottles as Plant Pots
You can create a plant pot from old plastic bottles. Plastic is a waste material that is non-biodegradable in a landfill, causing pollution and harm to wildlife, especially sea creatures like whales and dolphins. By teaching your students how to recycle plastic bottles into plant pots (or any creative project whatsoever), it has two benefits:
- Students learn to plant more crops to help the environment grow
- Students learn the importance of recycling materials
Simply have them bring plastic bottles, such as those from soft drinks, juices, sodas, and the like. If the bottles are too big, they can be cut in half and it will serve as a pot. Either use these plant pots for hanging small little plants around the school premises or near the classrooms as small decorations. Mother Nature will be proud to see a green school with plenty of these.
3. Waste Segregation Game
To help your students easily remember which waste goes to which bin, have them play a waste segregation game. Turn your boring old garbage bins into a fun activity that your students will love. Here’s an example game that you can implement:
- Students will form two teams.
- There will be a big pile of garbage in a box or container in front of them.
- Each team will send one member to the garbage bin set, which has color coding:
- blue = paper
- green = food and organic
- yellow = metal and cans
- red = plastic and glass bottles
- The two teams will each have one set of these four (4) bins.
- Each member will have one turn to shoot the right waste to the corresponding garbage bin set.
- There will be 2 minutes for the game to take place.
- The team that will have the most number of correctly-tossed waste materials is the winner.
Through this activity, the students will easily remember which garbage to throw to the right bin. This will help them follow local and national ordinances regarding waste segregation. Moreover, the awareness of waste segregation is an important step to going green.
4. School Yard Gardening
Keeping a school garden will help students realize the importance of maintaining plants, flowers, and even fruits and vegetables. Start by giving them assigned areas to tend. You can also grow edible harvests and they could be used by the school canteen for food.
When students tend to a garden, they’ll learn responsibility at a young age. It will also help them to be more familiarized with the benefits of keeping plants around in terms of food security and fresh air. Gardening is also part of the most curriculum for students, especially if in their Home Economics subject, so it’s not difficult to implement.
5. Solar Oven Cookout
Teach your kids how to make a DIY solar oven. They will know the importance of harnessing the sun’s power to create a cooking device that’s safe, sustainable, and easy to use.
A solar oven is simply a cardboard box that’s lined with aluminum foil inside. This will serve as the material that will catch the sunlight and reflect towards the food that you intend to heat.
Try having a cookout with your students using their DIY solar oven. If you already have a school garden, your students could even pick the ingredients from there, as well as a couple of others from the market.
6. Visiting a Local Landfill
Landfills are eye-openers for students when it comes to the disposal of garbage. When your students visit a landfill as an educational trip, it will give them knowledge and awareness of the trash that they throw every single day.
A landfill will only take a set amount of garbage and that’s why plastic reduction is a problem that nearly everyone in the world is currently facing. To lessen plastic consumption and purchase is to help these landfills to have more space for other trash that needs to take its place there.
7. Learn Organic Composting
You can prompt your students to create their organic compost using various items around the schoolyard, such as grass clippings, twigs, dead leaves, branches, and food scraps. This is a great activity to go along with a school garden. Composting has the following benefits to the environment:
- There’s less likelihood of soil erosion due to a stable soil structure
- You aren’t throwing chemicals into the soil since it is organic
- Composting reduces garbage that goes to the landfill
- The soil will retain more water with composting
- An improved soil quality means healthier plants
8. Visit an Organic Farm
Going to a local organic farm as part of an educational trip will help students realize the importance of organic farming. They will be taught by the staff and caretakers how to manually fertilize the soil, feed the chickens, and get the grass feeders like cows and horses to munch on green pasture.
Organic farms teach children the benefits of such practice, such as:
- saving energy resources
- less carbon footprint
- fresh air to breathe
- protection and strengthening of soils
9. Bottle Cap Art Projects
You can also ask your students to create bottle cap projects. To do this, they’ll need to collect a lot of bottle caps – either from glass beverages (the crown cap type) or from plastic bottles (the screw type). These are usually colorful but they’ll end up in a dumpsite for years if we don’t give them a new purpose.
With a bottle cap art project, you’re teaching your students to be creative and eco-friendly at the same time. They can mix and match the colors to create artworks of anything that they like.
10. Donation Drive or Garage Sale
By giving away or selling items that you don’t need, it will reduce the need for companies to manufacture, thereby helping the environment. It will create less waste and it will also lower energy consumption.
11. Sewing Projects from Old Clothes
If your students have old or small clothes, curtains, and anything else that they aren’t using anymore, they can be given a new purpose by turning them into any sewing project. By doing this, we’re saving the old clothes from getting thrown into the landfill – plus points for Mother Nature.
A sewing project can yield simple results, such as a rug, a home décor item, a small bag, and others. You’re teaching children and teens the importance of preserving old clothes to avoid clogging up the dumpsite, especially if the old clothes aren’t made from biodegradable materials.
12. Tree Planting
By having a tree-planting program, your students will learn the importance of giving back to nature. You can cooperate with your local natural resources department and government bodies to have a tree planting activity in your area. When students plant the “happy little trees” (as Bob Ross calls them in his paintings), we’re readying the next generation by preserving our resources.
13. Clean-up Drive
A clean-up drive will help spread awareness of how plastic could harm the environment. If you live near coastal areas, having shore clean-up drives will be a fun activity for kids, aside from a breathtaking view of the sea. It will also become a great summer activity and your students could go for a swim afterward.
If you live in an urban area, having a community clean-up drive to unclog drainages will also do. This will help lessen the likelihood of floods.
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin,2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth