One of my major goals for my children is to teach them to respect and take care of the world around them.  However, kids are still kids and love to have fun.  Finding ways to make ecology exciting and fun can sometimes be a challenge.  Here are some ideas to get your kids thinking green:

Use recycled items for projects. The backside of used of printer paper goes a long way for drawing paper.  Staple several pages together to create a book for your child.  Use boxes from mailed packages as painting surfaces.  Kids will love painting on something other than paper, and who knows where their imagination will lead them!  Some retailers pack their goods with paper filler, such as lengths of kraft paper or blank newsprint.  Use this for big art activities, such as sponge painting or finger painting, and use the product to create gift wrap or wall decorations!

Check into your local recycling.  Many places are going to curbside recycling.  Get your child involved in the process of sorting and identifying recyclable items.  No curbside?  Call your city offices to find a drop off point.  Collect aluminum cans for recycling, and if you live near a place that pays cash for cans, make it a mission for your child.  They can either donate their profits to a charity or use it to improve things around the house by purchasing a plant or pitching in for other earth-friendly products.

Water, water everywhere – so create a way to save a little!  Have children find containers to collect rainwater to use on container plants and flower beds.  Set buckets out in a shower or rainstorm and use that water both indoors and out.  Children will enjoy seeing how much water they can collect (you can even keep track of the number of inches you collect each time, which would be a terrific math activity), and the plants get a good drink of water.

A little flick of the switch can make a huge difference in your electric bill.  Teach children to turn off lights when not in use, and to make sure they need a light on before turning it on.  Open window shades to let in natural light, and head outdoors to enjoy the delightful daylight hours while they last.  Your body will appreciate the fresh air, and your electric bill will appreciate the break.

What are your ideas to teach the life-skill of taking care of our world?