How to Volunteer with Your Kids from Home

Safe planet savers

This year, we’re bringing summer camp home.

So many parents don’t have the option of letting their kids run wild this summer. So we’ve tried to come up with some fun and unique ways of keeping everyone entertained and safe during Covid-19.

And, since we care about protecting the environment (and we know you do, too) we spoke with a few of our kid-centric Charity Pot partners like Ruckus Roots, 5 Gyres and Ocean Protection Action Kids. All three are grassroots groups devoted to helping kids and adults work toward a greener and more plastic-free future, and they’ve come back with great tips about how to help your little ones get involved in eco-friendly activities.

So let’s dive in!

Attend an online workshop

Protect the oceans

Can’t make it to the beach this year? You can still learn all about how to protect and preserve our oceans from the comfort of your own home. Ocean Protection Action Kids (OPAK) is hosting online versions of its usual in-person programs. It’s for slightly bigger kids but offers an interesting walkthrough in topics like marine biology, chemistry, geology, physics and policy. Each day focuses on a different aspect of marine science and provides follow-up experiments, activities and art projects that your kids can do at home.

Upcycle in style

Prefer something a little more artistic? Ruckus Roots has on-demand classes that show you how to create everything from a classic tie-dye shirt to a no-sew mask and recycled paper flowers. The focus is on taking what you already have and transforming it, so there’s no need to run to a craft store. Teach your kids how to recycle and reuse what they have on hand in style.

Cut down on plastic

And finally, help your kids learn the real value of using less plastic with Trash Academy: 5 Gyres’ online program that’s all about how you can build a plastic-free future. They take you through the history of plastic, its lifecycle, where things currently stand with plastic usage and more. It’s a great way to help kids (and even yourself) understand more about why we need less of this harmful substance in our daily lives.

Keep your neighborhood green and your kids engaged with a local cleanup campaign.

Two children hold a recycling bin while standing on grass.

Put your learning into action

Once everyone’s got a good foundation in how to use less plastic, keep our oceans healthy and turn everyday items into works of art, it’s time to get busy.

Clean up your neighborhood

Make sure everyone keeps their distance, of course, but now can be a great time to hit the streets, paths and parks to keep your environment green. We recommend avoiding using your bare hands to pick up litter or plastics, so a reaching tool (or even some BBQ tongs) can be a good way to get trash in a bin without direct contact. This is also a great time to teach younger kids about the difference between trash and recycling—you can even quiz them as they work to see if they know what goes where.

Make something beautiful from something you already own

Upcycling is a great way to help kids realize that they don’t need to buy brand new for things to be “new” to them. Transform an old white t-shirt into a beautiful tie-dye creation with the courses from Ruckus Roots or created mixed-media collages and handmade postcards that you can send to the loved ones you and your kids have been missing during Covid-19. And it doesn’t have to stop there: whether it’s candle-making, gathering flowers from your garden or neighborhood (with permission, of course), making your own soap or face masks or bottle rockets…there’s always a way to create something beautiful from everyday household items.

Celebrate Plastic Free July…and beyond

Covid-19 has ushered a lot of plastic back into our lives with single-use containers, masks and more being heralded as “safer” alternatives to our usual reusables. But this notion has been challenged by groups like Plastic Pollution Coalition and Upstream Solutions that argue that—with proper care and regular washing—reusable masks, bags and more are better for the environment and for your health.

Use resources like Ruckus Roots’ no-sew mask tutorial to avoid the one-time disposables for you and your little ones. Or just remind kids to carry a backpack or bag with them when they do go out for easy storage and shopping. This one might be a little less fun, but it’s just as important for raising future eco-minded adults.

These are just a few ways of keeping the environment in mind, even when you’re spending more time indoors this summer. Head to the landing page for more ideas on how to keep kids creative and engaged when their regularly-scheduled activities can’t carry on as usual.