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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:10:10 12:12:55

Spending time with kids in the great outdoors can instill a love of nature in youngsters that compels them to embrace eco-friendly practices throughout the rest of their lives.

Children often aspire to emulate their parents. Young boys who see their fathers shaving might reach for dad’s shaving cream, while young girls may find their way into mom’s closet in an effort to dress up like their mothers.

Kids’ curiosity may be similarly piqued when they see their parents going green. Parents who reduce, reuse and recycle are setting positive examples for their kids, who may inquire about the ways they can follow suit. While going green might not seem like the most kid-friendly activity, there are myriad ways for parents to involve children in their efforts to live eco-friendly lifestyles.

Donate clothing and toys

Children outgrow their clothing pretty quickly. Rather than discarding items kids can no longer wear, parents can take tots along to donation centers or thrift stores to show them how their clothes can be reused. Use this as an opportunity to teach kids how donating or recycling old items cuts down on the need to use natural resources to create new items. Do the same with toys, which kids tend to outgrow almost as quickly as their clothing.

Bike to school

Stay-at-home parents, telecommuters or those who have time to escort their children to and from school can bike to school with their children. Teach them how biking in lieu of driving helps to conserve fuel and how such conservation benefits the planet.

If biking is not an option due to weather or distance, parents can organize carpools, teaching kids how traveling together instead of individually helps to conserve fuel.

Avoid plastic water bottles

Plastic water bottles might seem more convenient because they don’t need to be washed after using them, but the environmental organization Clean Up Australia notes that plastic bottles, many of which are derived from crude oil, generate enormous amounts of waste that ultimately end up in landfills. In addition, the transportation of such bottles from factories to store shelves requires the burning of significant amounts of fossil fuels. Take kids along to the store to purchase their own reusable water bottle, explaining to them how they’re doing their part to protect the planet by choosing reusable bottles over bottled water.

Visit the library

Young children who love to read can borrow books from the library rather than asking mom and dad to purchase their own copies at the bookstore. Explain how borrowing cuts down on the need for paper, which helps preserve forests and reduce waste.

Spend more time in the great outdoors

Many parents want their children to spend more time outdoors and less time on the couch playing video games or watching television. Parents can make an effort to spend more time outdoors with their children engaging in fun activities like hiking, camping or fishing. Such excursions can instill a love and appreciation for nature in youngsters, and that love can compel them to a lifetime of protecting the planet and conserving its resources.

Kids who want to follow their parents’ example and go green can do so in various ways, many of which are as fun as they are eco-friendly.