It’s summertime in sunny South Africa and all your children want to do is lie under the sprinkler this holiday. With drought warnings and water restrictions throughout the country, this is probably not the best idea! There are plenty of other ways to keep cool and stay entertained while still being eco-friendly this summer. Here’s a list of top green activities for youngsters to stay cool.
In the kitchen
Sunny days are not complete without an ice-cream or a refreshing glass of lemonade. Here are some DIY, eco-friendly ideas to keep your kids hydrated and refreshed.
- Ice lollies
You can make your own ice lollies to keep cool this summer. Clean some empty yoghurt cups or any small plastic containers and fill them with juice. Insert an ice-cream or lollipop stick and place in the freezer. If you don’t have any ice-cream sticks left over from your homemade fans, just use teaspoons!
- Minty ice cubes
Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated in the summer heat. Flavour your water with some delicious mint ice cubes. Simply put a leaf or two of mint in your ice tray before freezing. You can substitute the mint with anything else from your fridge or garden too, like berries, grapes, juice concentrate or lemon slices.
- Homemade lemonade
Lemonade is compulsory for hot summer days! Make your own with organic lemons from your local farmer’s market. Squeeze the lemons until you have one cup of lemon juice. Add the juice, 1 cup of sugar and 6 cups of water to a large jug and stir thoroughly. Quick and simple lemonade, ready to drink!
In the garden
Do you fancy getting some gardening done this holiday? Let your children help out with these exciting activities.
- Homemade pot and planters
Using old containers for pot plants is a great way to help the planet, and saves you cash too. Get your kids to hunt down all the used plastic cooldrink bottles, food tins and Tupperware that you don’t need and pull out the paints. Their creativity can run wild with a multitude of designs and styles, and your flowers will have a lovely handmade home.
- Homemade fans
What can be more luxurious than keeping cool with a fan? Your children can make their own with just glue, some wooden ice-cream sticks and a scrap piece of cloth. Cut a semicircle from the cloth roughly the length of the ice-cream sticks and glue the sticks to the cloth in a sunburst pattern with all the centre ends overlapping. For extra strength, use a small clamp to hold the ends fast, or use a split pin to make a collapsible fan. Alternatively, you can go all-natural with large, sturdy leaves from your garden bound together with some string.
In the water
If you live near a natural water source like a river or dam, you are incredibly lucky! Slap on some sunblock and get your towels. These fun water activities are great for all ages, provided there’s an adult to keep an eye on things.
- Handmade boat races
This project can be as simple or advanced as you want it to be. Using natural found objects like logs, twigs and leaves, children can create miniature boats to sail around on the water. Use long sticks to guide the boats or let the stream take them. If you’re playing near a contained body of water, you could even upgrade to a crafts session and make boats out of recycled materials such as bottles, cloth and paper! Just make sure these don’t get swept away or left behind to become litter.
- Mud houses
Let the kids get their hands (and faces, feet and clothes) dirty with mud building. If you can’t make it to the beach this summer, a muddy spot at your nearest river, lake or dam is equally exciting for youngsters. Let them create mud castles, houses, sculptures or anything their hearts desire. Instead of seashells, use twigs, grass, flowers and other natural bits ‘n’ bobs to decorate their creations. The best part of this activity is that they can wash off in the water when it’s time to go home. No sandy footprints in your car this time, mom!
These are just some of the ways you can keep young minds busy this summer without damaging the environment (or your wallet). Recycled items are great for crafts of all sorts, and if you want to encourage environmental awareness, why not visit the bird park, go for a hike, or just have a picnic in your back garden? The possibilities are endless!