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How to Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

13 parenting tips from environmental leaders.

How to Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

Trying to live eco-friendly and green in today’s environment isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It’s hard enough trying to explain a compost bin to your toddler, let alone why recycling and conservation is important. But getting kids involved early and sharing the importance of living green is not only critical to shape the next generation, but it can help you stick to eco-friendly practices. Repetition and starting early will pay off big time in the long run.

In celebration of Earth Day, we asked some enviornmental leaders who are also parents how they teach their kids about living green. Here’s 13 of their best parenting tips for you to try with your own little ones at home.

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1. Talk about simple, tactical stuff. We began talking with them about sustainability from the moment they could talk and listen. We talked about why recycling makes sense, why daddy is in the ORGANIC yogurt business (supporting family farmers, healthy animals, people and planet), why we separate and compost our food waste, why we never use chemicals in our gardens and why we try to only buy organic foods and shop at the co-op. -- Stonyfield Organics CEO Gary Hirshberg, who has 3 now grown children

2. Give them the bigger picture. I try to discuss the bigger picture with them and let them know that we all have the power to make choices for a more sustainable future. -- Boob Design’s Founder Mia Seipel, who has 2 daughters (ages 11 and 13)

3. Volunteer! We used to volunteer to clean up areas of our county when the kids were young. They went to an amazing summer camp at a place called Slide Ranch that taught us all a lot about sustainability. -- True Botanicals’ Founder and President Hillary Peterson

4. Normalize it. Every adult has likely experienced first hand a time in their lives where everything went into the garbage. Making more sustainable decisions takes more effort, and that in itself is a challenge for our generation. The good news is by making changes now, our kids will think it’s normal to recycle everything. -- Parkland mfg’s Business Development Manager Sean Miller, who has one 4-year-old daughter

5. Stick to your principals. No kid likes to be different and especially girls really want to fit in with the crowd so she used to complain that her parents were “Organic freaks”. But the fun thing is that now that all the kids are in their 20’s, their peers (especially the girls) all choose Organic and think it, and we, are really cool. Stick to your principles and it will all work out in the Long run! -- Stonyfield Organics' Gary Hirshberg

6. Get outside. Take walks in the forest. Go swimming and fishing. We have a house in the countryside on a family farm where it is very obvious that what goes around comes around. -- Boob Design’s Mia Seipel

7. Let them help. Sundays are when we clean up and prep for the week ahead. Goldie loves to help with sorting the recycling and compost. -- Parkland’s Sean Miller

8. Pick your battles. When the kids were little, they wanted to do whatever their friends were doing and they thought that some of my concerns about things like plastic, synthetic fragrance and using a safe deodorant were extreme. When they were teenagers, they thought that I was so “paranoid.” I had to learn to pick my battles and trust that eventually they would come around which they did...100 percent. -- True Botanicals’ Hillary Peterson

9. Take the time to explain the “why” behind your everyday choices. You can’t take for granted that your thinking always makes sense and the conversations are always rich and interesting. -- Stonyfield Organics' Gary Hirshberg

10. Read to them. When they were young, we loved the LORAX...because it made complete sense to all of us and got them thinking about the big picture in a really easy-to-digest way. -- Stonyfield Organics' CEO Gary Hirshberg

11. Support eco-friendly brands. I never go anywhere without one of my Swell water bottles. They keep hot beverages hot, and cold beverages cold. And as shallow as it sounds, I love how they look. I happily refuse plastic water bottles on my many flights and a great bonus is that you don’t need to wait for a flight attendant to offer hydration. -- True Botanicals’ Hillary Peterson

12. Walk the walk. I have tried to eliminate BPA and BPS -- some of the worst ingredients polluting our bodies and planet -- from our home. That means no more canned beans...I soak and cook our own which is actually so easy. And I buy tomato sauce in reusable glass jars. We have a water filter in the kitchen and no one is allowed to buy plastic water bottles. To store leftovers, I am a huge fan of Ball jars, available at most hardware stores. -- True Botanicals’ Hillary Peterson

13. Listen to them. I think that I have learned as much from my kids along the way as they have learned from me. -- True Botanicals’ Hillary Peterson

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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