As I mentioned in my previous post, this summer we decided to cover an environmental theme, called Happy Earth, In the first week we looked at issues relating to wildlife and the following week we tackled waste which is the topic I’m covering in this post (I was aiming to write a post each week but I’m a couple of weeks behind now!)
When looking at this topic we discussed the problems relating to waste going to landfill along with waste in the form of litter and causing issues for wildlife, linking back to last week’s theme. We identified the primary ways to help with waste are the four R’s:
These formed the basis for our activities this week:
Over the course of the week we saved suitable compostable items sorted as green (nitrogen-based) or brown (carbon-based) and reused an old wooden crate covered with an Ikea carrier bag to start a small compost pile in the garden. The boys added the items in layers and we gave it some water to get it started! Since then we’ve been regularly adding-to and checking on our “compost” but it hasn’t changed much yet and is mostly serving the role of another bug hotel! I’ve read that it takes around six months before we will have any usable compost so hopefully it will be ready to use next year.
The boys love junk modelling so didn’t need much of an excuse to build something new from our old rubbish! My younger son chose to turn an old egg carton into a monster while my five-year-old decided on something a little more elaborate which he planned out on paper first after seeing the the resources available; he chose to build a castle complete with a secret hidden area. He even managed to construct most of it himself and was really pleased with the end result!
To deepen their understanding of the types of things that can be recycled we made a simple game together using ScratchJr. Various items of rubbish are displayed on the screen and the player has to tap the recyclable items, if they tap the wrong ones the item goes to landfill! (That was my son’s idea!)
In addition to their game we also wrote an email to our local councillor in an effort have recycling bins installed in our local parks; currently all rubbish goes in mixed bins meaning a lot of recyclable items are being sent to landfill instead of being recycled. We have yet to receive a response!
The boys had a lot of old toys they no longer play with so agreed to sort some out to be rehomed, they were surprisingly ruthless in their plight (I even fished a few back out of their collection!). We decided it would be a good idea to ask for donations in return for the toys to raise money for the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit (the unit that looked after my twin boys when they were born four months early – full story here).
I advertised the sale within local groups on social media and displayed the items in our front garden over the weekend (alongside a QR code for people to donate contactless if they preferred), most people donated fairly, with one lady even returning with more money later as she only had a little bit of change at the time! In total we raised £76, so we were really happy with the generosity of the local people!
As litter is a problem, not only aesthetically but harms wildlife we joined up with some of the boys’ friends to go litter picking (after first using their artistic skills to spruce up their litter pickers into “Litter Monsters”!). We were pleasantly surprised to find there was not a lot of litter around. We did manage to find a little bit and received lots of compliments from local walkers who all appreciated our efforts!
Here’s an overview of our waste themed challenges: