The IPCC report has been published for 2021 and it is clear that humans have not been doing enough to halt climate change. We have made many “green” changes at Spielwelt, won environmental awards, and implemented our Keen-to-be-Green initiative.
As a parents association responsible for our children’s future, we applaud the ACT government’s efforts, and although we are just one of many organisations in Canberra, we feel we must ramp up our efforts further. We all should. And can.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale
The place we can make the biggest difference is in education (our specialty!) and leading by example.
Starting straight away, we will:
Decommission the children’s fridge, and have children store their food in their insulated lunch bags (like in schools).
Encourage meat-free days.
Offer more vegetarian options at our special events.
No longer use plastic googly-eyes, craft pompoms, foam stickers and plastic stickers in craft, as they are non-biodegradable.
Encourage families to walk or ride to school where possible.
Ban little plastic toys (like the little collectible toys used in supermarket or restaurant promotions) and educate children about why we don’t want them. (If children bring them to school, they will need to leave the toys in their bags.)
Run two toy swaps per year.
Run two clothing swaps per year.
Ensure Nikolaus gifts, Mothers- and Fathers- Day gifts are “green”.
Educate and encourage children to use the backs of paper as well as the front; and using recycled paper.
Replace wet-wipes with reusable cloth wipes.
Replace sponges with reusable cleaning cloths.
Gradually replace as many of our plastic sand toys with metal or wooden pots or implements from the GreenShed.
Replace our many plastic playdough implements with a few simple wooden ones.
Replace our double-plastic-wrapped rice crackers (that we give to children who are still hungry even after eating all their lunch) with similar products in more friendly packaging.
We are further committing to:
Install ceiling fans to make our heating and cooling more efficient.
Provide a reusable yogurt container to each family and strongly discourage single-use yogurt pouches and plastic tubs. (We already provide a bees wax wrap to each child, in their Schultüte, and discourage cling-film.)
Examine how we can reduce any excess use (or waste) of soap, by changing soap formats and educating children on proper use.
Explore options for environmentally friendlier cleaning products.
Teach our scouts about the mountains of waste caused by toothpaste packaging, and ask our scouts if they would like to try making Zero Waste Toothpaste.
Here’s an extremely simple and fun activity that children (3yrs and up) can do themselves.
Give your child some paper, scissors, a straw and little container.
Your child can cut the paper into little squares (or other shapes). For those who like learning to cut in straight lines, here’s a downloadable sheet of squared paper to print.)
By sucking through a straw, your child can vacuum up the paper pieces, one by one, and them drop them into the container. (The vacuuming can sometimes make a funny noise, which adds to the entertainment!)
Once you have a pile of papers in your container, try blowing down the straw to make a little snow storm in your container! You might even be able to blow the papers out of the container… and start the game again!
As you know, we love art and craft using natural and recycled items!
The educational value here is developing fine motor skills, art and creativity, counting, colours, and the concept of symmetry, if you like.
You can download Gerda’s Bohnenblumen instructions (in German and English) to augment your educational experience by reading aloud and following instructions in German, and be inspired by some of her example pieces.
Please supervise and/or discuss safety with children, as we have heard stories of children putting beans up their noses… and nobody wants that to happen!
Once you have made your flower, try some of the variations below.
Kite vocabulary: In German, we say “einen Drachen steigen lassen” (to let a kite rise). For fun, when you are letting your kite fly, be sure to call out, “Alle Vögel fliegen hooooooch!” (This actually refers to another popular German children’s game, the instructions for which are below.)
Game: Alle Vögel fliegen hoch! Alle Mitspieler sitzen an einem Tisch. Der Spielleiter beginnt indem er ruft. „Alle Vögel fliegen hoch!“ Die Kinder trommeln während er dies sagt leicht mit beiden Handflächen oder de Fingerspitzen auf die Tischplatte. Bei „…fliegen hoch!“ heben alle Mitspieler die Hände mit aus gestreckten Armen in die Luft. Danach ruft der Spielleiter ein weiteres Tier, zum Beispiel, „Alle Pferde fliegen hoch!“ Die Mitspieler müssen nun blitzschnell überlegen, ob das Tier fliegen kann. Kann es dies nicht, dürfen sie auch nicht die Hände hochstrecken. Hält jemand fälschlicherweise doch die Hände in die Luft, sagen alle “Ausgetrickt! ___ [Tier] können nicht fliegen!” Nennt der Spielleiter wieder ein Tier, das fliegen kann, schnellen die Hände wieder nach oben. Vergisst dies ein Mitspieler, sagen alle “___ [Tier] können fliegen!” Ein spaßiges Spiel bei dem man blitzschnell überlegen und reagieren muss.