5 Things Families Can Do For a Happier Planet

National Recycling Day, on November 15th, is a great time for families to work together to protect our Earth. Recycling plays a key part in preserving natural resources and shows kids how to be caretakers of the planet. Families can reduce waste and help save the environment in fun and creative ways! Here are a few family friendly ideas to get you started.

1. Upcycle Old Toys

Collect toys, electronics, and other household items that would be thrown away. Think of creative ways to upcycle the items and give them new life. Turn these objects into art or gifts.

2. Use Reusable Bags

Bring your own shopping bags to stores or reusable lunch bags. Invest in reusable water bottles instead of disposable options. Giving kids their own bottles in kid-friendly colors and designs can help them develop good habits that reduce plastic waster. What to look for – silicone straw, stainless steel, BPA-free plastic.

Baggu Reusable Bag, Munchkin Sippy Cup, EZPZ Mini Cups

3. Donate

Give furniture a second chance in another home instead of ending up in the landfill. Post old furniture on your local Buy Nothing page or donate to a charity. Give worn out clothing a new life. Attend clothing swaps, donate, or resell. Find a clothing recycler in your area. Make old clothing in to something new like cleaning cloths or reusable bags

4. Grow Your Own Food

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is instill a love of nature in your children. You can easily start a small garden in containers or in repurposed plastic bottles. You can also invest in an elaborate set-up as a backyard dedicated to lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. The idea is for children to fall in love with the earth and discover its power by growing their own food.

5. Stay Informed

You can start small. If you and your family are looking for small ways to make big changes, familiarize yourself with things that can be recycled. Simply work together to create a refrigerator list to remind everyone in the household of what can be saved for recycling.

Small shifts in mindset that helps you understand the impacts behind our decisions. Once this happens, you are well on your way to living in a way that is healthier for you and your family and the environment.

Encourage kids to think creatively about how household items can be reused. Ask children how they can repurpose objects instead of buying something new. They are our future leaders and their ideas will help to protect the Earth and it’s resources.


Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.