by Rowdy Kind x The Beeswax Wrap Co.
At this point, we doubt there is a person on the planet that would deny that plastic pollution is a problem. That’s why teaching our kids to go plastic free this Plastic Free July is something we really wanted to highlight.
The tough truth being Brits make up much more than their fair share of the plastic pie, ranking as the second largest global contributor to plastic waste with an average of 99kg’s per person a year – this isn’t a podium finish to be proud of.
So why should we teach our kids from a young age to be plastic free?
The initial answer may seem obvious, because we have a problem and we need to solve it. This is absolutely true, but it hasn’t inspired rapid action from the population to date. So, we want to share four other reasons why we think there is an amazing opportunity to use plastic pollution as a tool for your childs’ (and family’s) learning and personal growth plus some of our favourite ‘little introductions’ you can buy from eco-friendly brands or activities you can do with them to help with their plastic-free learning.
It’s one thing for kids to learn that plastic pollution is a problem (cue picture of plastic wrapped around a turtle), but there is also a great opportunity to explore together WHY it is a problem. Industrial developments, a culture of convenience, global economic pressures – the list is endless. Of course the lessons and tools you use need to be tailored to your child’s age, but I think the “WHY” step is important – there is a reason that toddler’s ask why 400 times each day!
Our favourite little introduction for ‘Why?’
A Planet Full Of Plastic: And How You Can Help A brilliant little book for young, plastic pollution superheroes – this book teaches the why, where and how you can help reduce the plastic in and around your home. It’s easy to read, the pictures are fab and it really captures the message for young readers.
Now that you explored the problem together, investigate who is most impacted by it. Again, tailored to age this could be as simple as a trip to the beach or as in depth as researching the impact of UK plastic pollution shipped to third world countries. Empathy is an extremely important pillar in a child’s emotional development, in fact fostering empathetic thinking flow is directly correlated to vital adult attributes such as leadership and overall happiness – this is really good stuff!
Our favourite little activity for ‘Who?’
A trip to your local seaside town and/or beach could be the perfect opportunity for both an ice cream and a plastic picking adventure. Count how many plastic items you see washed up with the driftwood and the seaweed as you put them in a bag. Talk about the wildlife that may be in the sea as you collect it and how this plastic waste has affected this environment and their homes. Why not join the community, if there’s a date that suits you, by finding a close by beach cleanup here.
You’ve explored the overall problem together and built empathy for those impacted by it – now it’s time to make some changes! The most important part of this phase is empowering your kids to be involved. For younger kids this could look like “should we try bamboo toilet paper or reusable paper towels first,” for older kids they could be empowered to research and make a list of ‘eco-swaps’ the household could make and lead the family discussion about which to tackle first. As adults it’s easy to dismiss kids’ ideas based on life practicalities such as price, convenience, and just being set in our ways – try not to and instead work through the solutions together.
This lesson is very close to our hearts and the reason Rowdy Kind was born. Kate (Rowdy Kind co-founder)’s son Chris (then 7) felt empowered to question her regarding the amount of plastic bottles they were using at bath time. A year later, they launched the world’s first plastic free skincare range, for kids.
Good Decision Making:
This final step is really exciting and will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
After all of the family’s learning about plastic pollution, you can support your child in making good decisions and building lifelong sustainable habits on a daily basis in a multitude of ways. It’s truly exciting to see how this process has impacted their decision making.
So, when can this learning be implemented?
Keep reading for some of our favourite, fun examples of things you can do together!
Plastic-Free Activities For Kids
The Grocery Store Hunt:
“You can pick a treat but it has to be plastic-free!”
The Lunchbox Challenge:
Pack a single-use-plastic free lunch together
Got a Birthday or Holiday coming up?
1. Make a plastic-free wish list
2. Pick an eco-friendly gift for a friend!
Create Eco-Friendly Crafts Together
The Beeswax Wrap Co. FREE Kids Activity Pack includes a scavenger hunt, colouring and eco-friendly craft ideas for a rainy day.
We hope this has given you a different perspective on why we should teach our young kids about the plastic pollution crisis and the multitude of lifelong lessons they can learn if you do! We’ve mentioned some of our favourite little introductions and activity ideas along the way, but here’s a final list of our top five little introductions for the little people in your life learning to look after our planet!
Top Five Plastic-Free Products For Kids
1. A Sustainable Bathtime from Rowdy Kind
Mini Eco Warrior Starter Kit £29.00
Not an ounce of plastic in sight, just a ton of (guilt-free) fun to be had!
Your kiddo will enjoy colouring every bath a different hue with their Rowdy Rainbow Bath Bombs, then scrubbing up solo with an Orange You Awesome Hair & Everywhere bar. This bundle delivers the ultimate bath time, without the environmental footprint.
2. Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Land Print Beeswax Wraps £12.00
Reusable Beeswax Wraps from The Beeswax Wrap Co – Perfect for school lunches, picnic and food-on-the-go. These reusable, washable beeswax wraps come in a variety of prints and patterns that your children will love – they’ll be the envy of the class when they’re unwrapping their sandwiches!
3. Reusable Nappy Kits from The Nappy Guru’s
Nappy Starter Kits From £30.00
From complete kits to accessories and reusable wipes. If you are able to go plastic-free before potty training, these are the ones for you. They even do a ‘try before you buy’ programme where you can trial a starter kit for just £10 and return them after 30 days if you don’t feel cloth nappies are for you.
4. Seedbom Sets from Kabloom
Book & Seedbom Set From £30.00
Offering a variety of biodegradable, wildflower seed bombs both by themselves and in gift sets with some beautifully illustrated books. These are perfect for an educational weekend activity or children’s party present and to ‘rewild’ your garden for our bee friends.
5. Outdoor Play with The Den Kit Co.
The Original Den Kit £40.00
Set out into nature and build your own den with one of The Den Kit Co’s amazing kits. Each kit comes with a haversack, groundsheet, tarpaulin, mallet, jute rope, pegs, bunting and nature information cards as well as a kaleidoscope – all plastic-free. They come Good Toy Guide recommended and have won an Indy Best ‘Best Buy’ award.
What if you can’t go plastic-free?
Sometimes it’s not possible to find a plastic-free solution, especially if you have a very young child.
Buying baby food or wash products that come in plastic packaging sometimes cannot be avoided. That’s when it’s important to ‘spot the difference’ between a brand trying to do good, using recycled materials in their plastic packaging and even ones that have a recycling scheme for their packaging once it’s been used.
A good example of this is Little Freddie, who offer an award-winning recycling scheme; offering parents the opportunity to recycle their pouches, finger food packaging (plus those of other brands) as easy as possible – simply pop them in a postal bag!
When purchasing unavoidably plastic products, take a few minutes to have a quick look at the companies’ website and see if they have a sustainability page or any information about their plan for the planet.
Top tip: The smaller businesses are usually the ones doing it best! So avoid Amazon-like brands if you can.