How can you be kinder to the planet?

There are so many ways that we act in this present world that is thoughtless about the future we are leaving the next generations, and I feel that at this time of year it is the worst.

I love Christmas, I love the food, the gathering of friends and family and I love the decorations – but I hate the waste.

Christmas can be done cheaply – which is wonderful for so many families but what about those children who made those cheap gifts for you in China? What about the families that live down stream from the factories where those toys were made that will be lost or thrown out in a couple of weeks? Did you ever think about that?

Bah humbug you say – yes, I know but we can act sustainably at this time of year too.

We can decorate our tree using decorations that will last twenty years: Try Biome for some great deals today – Free shipping for over $50!

We can buy gifts that will last the latest fad and more than one child. AND we can move away from the need to give our children lots of toys. We need to stay strong against the big companies – our kids will be happy with less – they don’t need more.

Christmas is a time for giving – let’s give back to the planet that has given us life and think about everyone else who lives on it, not just the ones who can consume and throw away.

These books are great places to start your journey on being kinder to the planet too:

The secret of black Rock by Joe Todd-stanton

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly

Coral Sea Dreaming by Kim Michelle Toft

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

One Thousand Trees by Kyle

A-Z of endangered animals

Rhino in the house

Rock pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

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Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys: A bush Christmas by Lesley Gibbes

Have you started to think about Christmas yet?


If you’re anything like the little joeys in this story you’ll be thinking about all the different things that need to be done in time for Christmas day.

The busy little joeys in this story are not the quiet kind, they are full of energy and eager to decorate the house and Christmas tree – all in time for Christmas day!

Written with rhyme and repetition, young children will love reading this story and watching the little joey and his family have fun together bringing about Christmas cheer!

Doris Chang’s illustrations are cleverly drawn, showing the reader the key part of the joey’s actions. The colours she has used reflect summer in Australia – the parched greens, brown earth and the wildlife that abounds in backyards!

Bouncing bouncing little joeys: A bush Christmas is a fun way to inspire some homemade family fun and because of the rhyme and repetition, children can be involved in the storytelling.

So what else can you do with this book?

Literacy

  •  List all of the verbs used in this story. What other verbs might you use to describe actions when you are getting ready for Christmas?
  • Choose a part of the Christmas tree and write your own descriptive sentence that may have rhyme, repetition and descriptive adjectives.

Science

 

 

All i want for Christmas is Rain by Cori Brooke

All I want for Christmas is Rain by Cori Brooke and Megan Forward is an uplifting story about a young girl’s belief in Santa and the power of Christmas Spirit.

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A family of farmers are about to celebrate Christmas but the farm is parched, the dams are dry and spirits are low. The watercolored illustrations  by Megan Forward highlight the dryness of the country.

Jane, a strong and thoughtful young girl is an inspiration to any youngster who is yearning for more presents for Christmas. Jane encompasses the true meaning of Christmas when she travels into town on a ‘long shiny train’ and asks Santa for one thing – rain!

All I want for Christmas is Rain is a melodic read and the illustrations add to the emotions of the family over the Christmas period.

Children from the country will understand Jane’s position and children from the city will gain some insight into the harsh realities of farming life in Australia. Perhaps even gain more appreciation for the places our produce comes from.

All I Want for Christmas is Rainis a great new story from New frontier publishing would be an excellent addition to the Christmas gifts – alongside many local and handmade toys, tickets to shows and love rather than more plastic things.

How does this link in with sustainability?

  1. Precious water. 

Review or learn about the water cycle. Link this knowledge of the water cycle to a rain map of Australia or the country you live in. Why do some areas lack rain? Look at the influence of mountain ranges, coastal living and the role major rivers play in the outback.

2. Where does our produce come from?

Using supermarket brochures, local farmers markets and and social enterprise networks; work out where they get their produce from. Is it sourced local? Interstate or from overseas?

3. How is different produce made and does it rely on water? 

A great project could be delved into under this banner and interchanged with different produce. (Links with numeracy, geography and science)

EXAMPLE: RICE.

Where is rice grown in Australia? Create a map of the rice growing areas.

How is rice grown? What is needed – create a timeline of rice growing .

How much water does it take to produce a bag of rice?

Is white rice a good crop to grow in some areas of Australia?

Is there a better alternative to this grain that may not rely on as much water?

Create a more sustainable way to grow rice or a better crop for our environment.

4. Christmas gifts

Write down a list of things you can give to others for Christmas that have less of an impact on the environment. This could be tickets to shows or places, handmade items.

Home made Advent Calendars

Temptation abounds in supermarkets with the chocolate advent calendars in store!

BUT – you can avoid these additive fuelled, sugar infused and terrible tasting calendars for your own, homemade thoughtful one!

The one pictured above was made by my 5 year old. She copied the numbers down onto each envelope and clipped them to a piece of string.

We then wrote one activity down on a piece of scrap paper and placed it into each envelope.

These included:

  •  Go for a bushwalk
  • Made a seed bell for the backyard chooks
  • Have a dance off
  • donate a present to a giving tree
  • Plant some summer seeds
  • Write someone a letter and post it.
  • Bake a cake
  • Go and visit your next door neighbours with a Christmas card.
  • Create a new game to play outside.

There are so many options here – so have fun creating your own!

We also created our own chocolates which will be kept in the fridge and eaten each day!

Simple ingredients

  •  One block of dark chocolate
  • One bowl of Sprinkles
  1. Melt the chocolate using the double boiler method.
  2. Spoon the chocolate into moulds
  3. Place sprinkles over the top!
  4. Place in fridge over night.


 

Home made Bath bombs

Christmas is a time of giving and there are so many ‘things’ to give people that involve plastic and waste.

We decided that instead of buying our friends different presents, we could make our own.

Bath bombs were high on the list after being given some last year and we found out that they are quite easy to make.


There are many different recipes out there so I tweaked what I found and here is my recipe:

HOMEMADE BATH BOMBS

  • 1 1/2 cups bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid powder (We bought ours from Aussie Soap Supplies)
  • Food colouring
  • Lavender oil
  • Sparkles, potpurri (anything to add some surprise to the bath!)
  • Coconut oil
  • Silicon moulds.

  1. Line silicon moulds with small amount of coconut oil.
  2. Mix Bicarb soda and citric acid powder in a separate bowl.
  3. In another bowl add your food colouring.
  4. Use half a cup of the powder mixture and add to the food colouring – make sure you stir quickly so it does not fizz!
  5. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil
  6. Add a large teaspoon of coconut oil.
  7. Mix together with your hands until you can scrunch the mixture and it sticks together.
  8. Add sparkles etc.
  9. Place the mixture into a mould and leave for 36 hours.

Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Elf is another humorous tale written by Aaron Blabey of a pug called pig and his misguided ways.

Pig is very self centred and only thinks of himself and the wonderful gifts he will be getting from Santa. There is no Christmas spirit in Pig and his wish list is metres long! (and quite entertaining). Luckily for the reader, Pig’s selfish ways are dealt with in a humorous fashion with the word BUM getting a good laugh at!

Now Pig the Elf is by no means a book about sustainability or eco living BUT it made me think about how we can get very caught up in what we want for Christmas!

We need to encourage children not to get caught up in the material side of Christmas and this can be tricky with advertisements ramping up, toy catalogues in letterboxes and other children talking about what they want.

Rather than not giving presents (which is quite harsh at this time of year!) try to discuss how we can have a more waste free christmas. There are so many fun ways in which you can create gifts that have a lot more meaning.

  •  Make your own advent calendar
  •  Make your own bath bombs
  • Make your own christmas cards
  • Buy activities rather than gifts (movie tickets, theatre, museums etc)
  • Plant some living gifts
  • Give a book! 
  • Make your own wrapping paper out of scrap paper.
  • Give an eco gift – backyard chooks, worm farm or compost bin!
  • Donate to a charity which helps others or the environment.

 

A change in mindset is possible and I am sure even Pig the Elf could change his mindset if someone sat down with him and helped him to reflect on himself……but then we wouldn’t have anymore humorous tales from Aaron Blabey for next year, would we?