By Liza Littenberg-Brown
I loved being in the kitchen with my father when I was little. The crackling of the frying pan and the hiss of the steam were exciting, and he made everything fun. We scrambled around catching run-away grapes and played basketball with overripe fruit and an open garbage can. Taking out the trash was not a tedious chore but rather a challenge to toss bags from our porch all the way to the garbage bins.
My father was an expert inventor; he also devised engaging games to encourage my brother and me to recycle. One of my favorite activities was stomping on empty cardboard boxes and juice containers to get them ready for recycling. It was satisfying to hear the crunch of the boxes and the whoosh of air escaping empty containers.
There are many ways parents can make reducing, recycling, and reusing fun for kids. Make grocery shopping a game. Have your children guess how many reusable bags you’ll need for your groceries. Encourage them to find products that use recycled material, such as cereal boxes made from recycled cardboard. At home, challenge kids to reduce the number of paper towels and napkins they use by substituting cloth for paper. Reuse empty paper towel and toilet paper tubes to make mesmerizing kaleidoscopes. Or cut the bottom part of an egg carton in half the long way and make dragons with brightly painted humps and wings.
You can also practice environmentally friendly habits at Providence Children’s Museum in March. Join a series of creative, hands-on programs that teach families to reuse, recycle, and explore using materials in a whole new way. Explore an exhibit of “Trash-imals” — imaginative creatures sculpted from funky junk and found treasures Â¬— and make some crazy critters of your own. Discover the new “Blue Bin Recycler” in the lunchroom, where you can learn fun facts and jokes about recycling and get some crafty ideas for projects to try at home.
Start thinking green! You and your family can find new ways to have fun together and benefit the planet at the same time.
News and Notes from Providence Children’s Museum: Occasional posts about things to do with our kids – from places to go, things to make, ideas to think about, and ways to explore.
Providence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI. 401-273-5437 (KIDS)