8 Cost-Effective DIY Projects To Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

DIY projects to teach your kids about sustainability

May 20, 2021

8 Cost-Effective DIY Projects To Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

At the heart of it, sustainability is all about saving the environment and creating a healthy future for our kids. It’s something that your children should definitely learn about so that they’ll know how best to help our planet as they grow up. 

With sustainability issues now taught in many school curriculums, your child might even be able to teach you a thing or two about reducing, reusing, and recycling! 

Many parents are now looking for ways to teach their kids the importance of sustainability. Luckily, there are plenty of methods to help your kids understand what sustainability is, and one of the best ways to teach them is with easy, fun DIY projects about sustainability that you can do at home. 

In this blog post, we’ll share 8 cost-effective DIY projects to teach your kids about sustainability – and have fun doing it too!

1. Bee Gardens

How to create a bee garden

Building a bee garden with your kids is a great way to get them to learn how to protect bees and why bees are so important.

Bees are often seen as scary, stinging flying insects, but bees have a vital job when it comes to our planet and the environment. Bees pollinate about 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops and 1 out of every 3 or 4 bites of the food you eat is all thanks to the bees.

You should definitely teach your kids the importance of bees. It’s true that if they sting you, it’ll hurt, but this doesn’t mean they’re terrible! Start this DIY project by showing your kids some videos on how bees work and how they make honey. You could even buy some different types of honey and do some fun taste testing to see how different kinds of honey taste different. 

As soon as your kid understands why bees are so important, you can start building a bee garden with them!

A bee garden is a great way to help bees, and it’s easy to do.

  • You dig an area in your garden 
  • Research what kind of flowers bees love (let your kids pick their favourites!)
  • Purchase the seeds 
  • Let your kids plant them, make sure they’re evenly spread out
  • Get some bowls of rocks and water them to provide the bees with something to drink while they’re busy at work. The rocks give bees a safe place to drink from so they don’t fall into the water

As the plants begin to flower, you’ll get lots of bees drawn to your garden. 

Did you know that bees love flowering thyme, oregano flowers, lavender, and common sage? 

These can then be used in your kitchen too, which will make this DIY project even more sustainable and eco-friendly.

2. Egg Container Seedlings

Egg container seedlings

One of the best DIY projects to teach your children about sustainability is egg container seedlings. This project will help teach them how things produced by living things can become living things again!

Before getting rid of your paper egg containers or cardboard egg cartons, put them aside for this easy and fun, sustainable children’s project. 

Start this project by soaking your egg containers in water before placing them on a large baking sheet. Then, get your kids to fill up each cup with potting soil. Let them choose which seeds they’d like to grow and plant them in each cup. 

After ensuring your kids have covered each seed with a small amount of soil, get them to water everything. 

Now the fun part for your kids!

They can monitor the egg containers and be on the lookout for any sprouts. 

While the sprouts are growing, you can help each other:

  • Make sure the soil is moist but not too wet
  • Put the sprouts outside on sunny days as they get larger

When the sprouts get big, you can cut out the cups and plant each of them individually in your garden. The cardboard is compostable, so it’ll break down into the garden, where it’ll be absorbed back into the soil. 

3. Worm Farms

Worm farm project for kids

A worm farm is one of the best ways to teach children how composting works plus, who doesn’t love to watch loads of worms digest some food waste?

Did you know that about 50% of municipal garbage sent out for regular curbside pickup is compostable? This is why composting is so important to creating a greener future for our planet. 

Adding worms to your composting process will make composting a lot more fun for your kids, and it might get them more interested in sustainable living practices like composting. 

Worm farming is an incredibly effective way to compost food scraps. It converts your food waste into nutrient-rich worm poop (manure), which can be used as fertilizer in your garden (or bee garden). 

How do you make a worm farm?

A worm farm doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it’s a DIY project for your kids after all. So here are a few easy steps for you to follow when making your worm farm. 

  • Get an old cooler and drill a hole in the side and at the very bottom 
  • Place a layer of crushed stone on the bottom (enough so it’s higher than where you drilled the hole) 
  • Cover the stones with some pet-proof screening (or regular screening)
  • Place some manure on top of the screening – you can let your kids do this part
  • Add some soaked shredded up paper, wood chips, or a mixture of both
  • More manure!
  • Then, it’s time to add the worms – you can collect worms yourself or purchase some from a farm 
  • As soon as the worms have settled, you can add some coffee grounds or vegetable waste for the worms to chow down on

The more the worms eat the food scraps, the more nutrient-filled manure will be produced. As they eat away, you can keep adding more food scraps to the worm farm. 

You might see a liquid draining from the hole; this is called ‘worm tea,’ and it contains liquid from the worm manure. 

Try to keep the worm farm at room temperature and moist. You can get your kids to take the temperature every morning with a thermometer as a fun activity. If the worms get too hot, they’ll overheat or dry out. 

Worm farms don’t tend to smell when they’re producing either, so you can keep them inside your garage, basement, or shed. 

4. Nature Diary

Kids nature diary

A nature diary is a fun activity you can show your child how to do. Not only will it help them learn more about nature and the environment, but it’ll also help with their writing!

You don’t have to buy anything fancy to start a nature diary; all you need is a basic notebook (and maybe some fun stickers)!

You can get your child to make some little notes about all the different animals, plants, insects and birds they see in the garden, on walks and even in the schoolyard. 

They could even draw a little picture of the new plant or animal they encounter, and you can look up some facts about each one so they can write about it in their diary.

5. Compost Bottle

Compost bottle project for kids

Compost bottles are a great activity you can do with your kids to demonstrate how food waste is broken down to create compost. You’ll definitely need some patience, though, as compost can take over a month to form!

Make things more exciting by getting your child to write or draw the changes in the compost bottle every week. This way, they only have to wait a week until they can do something fun with your project. 

Compost bottles are also easy to make. All you need is:

  • An empty, 2-litre clear plastic bottle
  • Some soil
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Some food waste like vegetable peels, bread, or tea bags

How do you make a compost bottle?

  1. Remove the lid and put it to the side 
  2. Add a layer of soil into the bottle and push it down to the very bottom
  3. Add a layer of food waste as well as some shredded newspaper 
  4. Pour in a little bit of waste
  5. Repeat these four steps until the bottle is three-quarters full
  6. Fill the remaining space with soil
  7. Replace the lid 

Every day you should: 

  • Shake the bottle 
  • Remove the lid (this allows any gases to escape)

About a month later, all the waste you put into the bottle should have decomposed. Now you can use the compost in your garden, or you can plant some seeds directly in the bottle!

6. Rain Barrels

There is a drop in water resources in some areas of the world, even here in Canada. In some places, there are even bans on watering lawns and washing cars. It’s important when teaching your kids about sustainability that you’re also teaching them the value of water waste and how reusing water can help the planet. 

You can make your own rain barrel with your kids by purchasing a spigot kit and large plastic trash can at your local hardware store or online. 

  • Drill a hole in the trashcan and insert the spigot
  • Place your newly created rain barrel under the downspouts of one of your gutters
  • As it rains, the water will go from the downspout straight into your DIY rain barrel

If you attach a hose to the spigot, you’ll be able to show your children how you can use rainwater to water the garden. This will teach them how easy reusing water can be!

7. Birdhouse

Recycled birdhouse from plastic jug

Birdhouses don’t have to be perfect, and with an old coffee can, some scrap wood and a bit of artistic magic from your children, you can build an excellent and inexpensive birdhouse. 

Use materials you have on hand to craft a birdhouse that you can hang outside. Then add some bird feed to the house and watch as your local birds swarm it to get fed. Your kids can even make a note of what kind of birds are coming in their nature diaries!

If you have a pet dog or cat that needs brushing constantly, don’t throw that hair away! Birds love to use dog hair to fill their nests, so collect some pet hair and leave it tucked away in your birdhouse; you’ll be surprised how many birds want it for their own homes.

8. Upcycling 

Upcycled rainboot planters

Nothing says sustainable, like upcycling some old belongings to create something new. 

If you’ve got the urge to shop and buy new clothes, don’t! Think about upcycling them instead.

If you’ve got some young kids, then think about:

  • Creating a plant pot out of an old pair of rain boots
  • Turning a pair of old jeans into shorts
  • Tie-dying a shirt to add some new colour
  • Giving an old piece of furniture a fresh coat of paint

You can change and update loads of things to give your room or your style a fresh new look without the need to buy more things. 

Sustainability is so vital to our future and our children’s future. By teaching them how to be sustainable and why it’s so important, we can make sure that they help our planet stay green and clean. 

We encourage you to try out some of our fun, cost-effective DIY projects with your children. We know they’ll love them and who doesn’t want to be involved in an educational and exciting sustainability project?

Whether you’ve decided to build a rain barrel or have already started plotting out your bee garden, we’d love to know how you got on, so feel free to tag us in some photos on Instagram of your kids enjoying their sustainability projects. 

If you’ve chosen to teach your child all about recycling and the importance of recycling correctly but have some questions, then feel free to get in contact with our recycling experts and don’t forget to bring all your recyclable beverage containers to East Hills Bottle Depot, where they can be appropriately recycled.

We hope you enjoyed our blog post! Stay sustainable!

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