Green Summer Fun - Activities with a Purpose That Your Kids Will Love!

As the kids finish up their last days at school, the pools open and the beaches fill up you may be searching for low cost, fun ways to impart some green values to your young ones. Here are some ideas.

Pine cones Repurposed

If you have pine trees in your yard like I do, you are constantly searching for ways to use the bags of pine cones that pile up every season. This summer, use them to create a welcoming habitat for local birds in need of a snack and a rest!

All you need is a pine cone, some peanut butter (preferably organic- birds don't deserve those pesticides either!), bird seed (different mixes can attract different birds), twine, a plate and a spatula.

Smooth peanut butter over the pine cone, covering it on all sides. Sprinkle some bird seed onto a plate. Roll the pine cone across the plate until it is evenly covered with seeds. Tie one end of the twine to the top of the pine cone and the other end to a tree branch. Now sit back with a cold drink and watch the birds enjoy their feast!

This is a great opportunity to teach kids about the different species of birds, bird habitats and coexisting with nature.

I recently did this project with my daughter and her cousin (ages 2 1/2 and 3 1/2). They loved sprinkling the seeds and getting to spread the peanut butter. But what excited them even more was peaking out the window and seeing the birds stop by for a yummy treat!

Sprout Seeds

Children love gardening for much the same reason that adults do. It is always amazing to start with a seed and end up with a beautiful sunflower or pumpkin! (Sunflowers and pumpkins are two great plants that are perfect for a seed sprouting project.) Invest in a pot or sprouting tray, some soil and a packet of seeds. Read the directions out loud and let your little one do the planting. Put the tray or pot in a window that gets plenty of light and is easy to see so that they can check on the seeds regularly. Watch their wonder as they see the first sprouts break through the soil! When the sprouts have matured sufficiently, transplant them into the garden or a larger pot and coninue the lesson up to harvesting!

It's a wonderful opportunity to explain the importance of sunlight, clean air and clean water.

Garden Together

If you have older children that are up for more of a challenge, start an organic vegetable garden. Get them involved in the planning. Go to the library together and research local gardening. Find plants that will thrive in your area during the summer and fall. Start small and keep it simple, especially if this is a learning experience for you as well. Don't do all the work for them! Make regular gardening dates. Consider setting aside one hour early in the morning a few days a week. This way you can beat the heat and enjoy the quiet while connecting with nature and each other.

If you do not have a back yard, there are many vegetables and small fruits that do well in pots. Consider container gardening or find a community garden in your area that you can join. Community gardens are a fantastic way to learn gardening skills from the experienced while improving your area and building stronger community bonds. Some are even committed to causes such as feeding the homeless.


Social responsibility is such an important lesson to pass on to our children. The socially responsible mentality creates an inner sense of duty to make the right choices and go the extra mile for the good of everyone. Once this lesson is learned, being green and eco-friendly will be a natural approach to life instead of an inconvenient chore.

One of the best ways we can impart this to our kids is by doing volunteer work together.

The SPCA allows kids between the ages of 12-17 to volunteer with a guardian. Give animal loving teens and preteens an outlet for their passions.

Church and religious groups often organize community outreaches that are family friendly. Check with your religious leaders for any upcoming opportunities.

Visit to find programs in your area that need you. You can specify "Great for Kids" in your search. I searched my area and immediately found trash cleanup days, native tree planting days, food drives, fundraising walks/swims, and so much more!
If you have a teen in highschool, volunteer work has an added bonus. Colleges love to see charity/volunteer affiliations on applications!


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