Five Simple Ways to Help Your Children Live a More Sustainable Life

This post is in partnership with IKEA, all opinions are my own.

I believe most parents want their kids to inherit a cleaner, greener world. As an adult I try to live a greener life, and I want to be an example to my kids as well.

Today, there are so many opportunities for kids and adults to live sustainably, many of which are things our grandparents probably did without thinking. As a society we’ve been accustom to convenience, but sometimes that means more waste and it isn’t always best for the world we live in.

5 simple ways

I find that the easiest way to get my children involved is to make greener choices the most convenient option in our home.

IKEA has some great inexpensive items you can use in your home to help your children learn how to live a more sustainable life. In fact some of these items are so popular you probably already have them in your house.

Use less paper products in the kitchen. 

If you know me, you know I love my paper towels, but I also try to use dish cloths and rags whenever possible.

To make this happen I have a drawer of dish towels in my kitchen. We use them for drying dishes and hands and cleaning up spills.

IKEA dish towels

We use two to three towels a day and I throw them into whatever load is in the wash at the end of the day.

Every few months the dish towels get moved to the rag bin and we replace them with fresh towels. Not only are we creating less waste, we are saving money by not using a roll of paper towels every single day.

ikea towels 2

Having the towels close to the sink and easily accessible encourages my kids to grab a cloth towel instead of a paper towel when they need it.

Smaller bowls = less food waste.

 Most of my children have eyes bigger than their stomachs and tend to take huge helpings if I’m not watching. Usually they can’t finish their food because they filled their grown-up sized plate with a grown-up sized portion.

I solved this problem years ago by using the dishwasher safe, unbreakable IKEA plates and bowls. They are cute, colorful and small!

Kids can’t help but take smaller servings on these kid sized dishes and if they are still hungry they are always welcome to get seconds, or even thirds.

IKEA bowls

Ever since I started using smaller dishes for the kids we throw away significantly less food every week.

I also use these plates and bowls for myself! They are great when you want to track how much you are eating and make sure your portions stay in check.

Reusing bath and pool towels to save water and money.

With six kids at home, we do a lot of laundry. One way to live a little greener is to encourage the kids hang up their towels after their showers instead of getting a new one every time. (There are even hotel chains who are rewarding guests with extra points for doing the same thing!)

However, it can be hard for younger children to reach the towel bar in most bathrooms.

We install a lower towel rack in our bathrooms so the kids can easily hang up their towels after they swim or take a shower. If the towel is hung up immediately after they use it, it can be used for several days without smelling gross.

When we rented our house we used the over the door towel racks so the kids always had a place to hang their towel. We also use them for pool towels and guest towels. This rack from IKEA has pads on the hanger so you don’t damage your doors when you use it.

Make it easy to recycle.

We have two recycle bins outside, but I don’t always want my younger children going out at night by themselves to throw something in the bin.

Keeping a small bin inside the house encourages kids of all ages to recycle and makes it easy for them to put boxes and cans in the bin throughout the day.

Ikea Recycles

A small lightweight container like the IKEA DIMPA fits anywhere in your home and has handles so it is easy to carry out to the recycling bin several times a week. It folds up when not in use so you can put it away if necessary.

I’ve come to realize that if I make it easy for my kids to do something, there’s a significantly greater chance that it will get done when I’m not around to remind them to do it.

Encourage outside free play.

One of the best things we’ve done as a family is live close to green spaces (or have a large yard for the kids to play).  Our kids love being outside, and finding fun activities that don’t require a ton of resources or electricity.   outdoor play

Not only does outside free play give them the opportunity to appreciate the world around them (and hopefully help keep it cleaner) it limits their screen time.

I hope as they grow older they will continue to appreciate the environment around them and be good stewards of their resources.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Get Rid of Ants with Three Ingredients

The following is a post from Angie.

Before calling the exterminator, save yourself money and avoid chemicals with this simple, three ingredient solution that will get rid of ants in your home.

When ants show up in your home, often your first reaction may be to grab the phone and call the exterminator.  (Or, perhaps that is your second reaction, as your first reaction may be to want to squish them all.)  Before calling the exterminator, save yourself money and chemicals in your home by trying a simple, three ingredient solution that will get rid of ants in your home.

After adding a screened-in porch, we started getting ants in our home from time to time.  We tried ant solutions that we could buy at the store, as well as numerous exterminator visits (spending almost $300 one winter because of multiple visits).  This three ingredient solution was the cheapest method, using only items that I happened to have at home.

Supplies Needed

Instructions

1. Mix the Borax and sugar together until well combined.

2. Add the mixture to your warm water and mix constantly until the powder has been completely dissolved.

3. Seal the mixture in a jar or container for future use, and use only what you need in the next steps (and save the rest).  It is important that you clearly label the jar, as it will just look like water.  Do not leave this where children can get to it.  (Because this is such an easy solution to make, however, I only kept what I made until after the ants had been gone for a week or more.)

4. Fill some jar lids, milk caps, or other shallow containers with cotton balls or a wad of paper towel.

5. Add the sugar-Borax solution to the prepared lids making sure to soak the cotton balls (or paper towel).

6. Wait.  It may take the ants a while to find the solution.  But, once they do, let them feast (and take the solution back to their home).  At our house, to speed up the finding process, I placed a couple of the soaked cotton balls directly on the ledge in my kitchen where most of the ants were.

Before calling the exterminator, save yourself money and avoid chemicals with this simple, three ingredient solution that will get rid of ants in your home.

Be prepared – more ants will probably show up once they find the solution.  However, within a day, you’ll probably see much fewer ants.  Over the course of just a few days, all of the ants should likely be gone.  Because we had watched the ants quite a bit, we noticed where they were coming from and made sure to use a sealant to seal the area to stop them from coming back in the future.

What other solutions have you taken to solve an insect problem in your home?

You could also try this method for how to get rid of black ants.

Home-Management-sidebar2

And, be sure to check out all of our Home Management Cleaning & Maintenance Tips!

More posts from Angie

photo credit

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5

By contributing writer Beth

These Easy Embellished Flip Flops are crazy simple to do. I made these from beginning to end in less than an hour. This is a super easy craft for kids and adults. There’s no sewing and no glue. Just flip flops and cute fabric.

These Easy Embellished Flip Flops are crazy simple to do. I made these from beginning to end in less than an hour, and they cost under $5! It's a great craft for kids too.

And how cute is this stretchy fabric with the lace stripes in it? I love how girly this is!

I paid less than $5 for the supplies. I bought the flip flops at the craft store for $1.99. You can also use any flip flops you have lying around that could use a facelift. I paid $2 for 1/3 yard of knit fabric, and I already had the pinking shears. So $3.99 was all it cost. What a sweet deal!

If I made another pair, I’d pick navy and white jersey knit and put them on red flip flops. How nautical and cute would that be with your favorite t-shirt and cropped jeans?! You could do this for a birthday party craft if you have a beach theme or a nautical theme.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Supplies

Supplies Needed

  • 1 pair of flip flops (I got these at the craft store for $1.99)
  • 1/3 yard of stretchy knit fabric
  • pinking shears or scissors

Instructions

1. Cut the length of the fabric to form a long strip 6 inches wide. You’re essentially cutting the fabric in half.

I use pinking shears because I like the way it makes the edges a little more fancy. You can definitely use regular scissors for this if you’d rather have a nice, neat straight edge on your ruffles.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Step 1

2. Cut the fabric into strips about one inch wide. For these large flip flops, I used 48 total strips of 1 inch x 6 inches of stretch knit fabric.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Step 2

3. Tie a double overhand knot (yes, that’s a normal knot) securing a strip to the strap on the flip flop. You’ll want the knot to rest on the outside of the strap. Slide the knotted fabric down to the bottom of the strap before adding the next strip.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Step 3

You’ll keep pushing the strips down each time to make sure they’re snug and tight against each other with no gaps. The inside of the strap will look like this when you’re done.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Step 3

4. Repeat with both sides of the strap and then complete the other shoe.

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5 - Step 4

If one of the strips gets tied funny or sticks out in a weird way, you can trim it to make it match the pieces beside it.

You’re ready to sport your newly embellished flip flops!

Easy Embellished Flip Flops for Under $5

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Edible Marshmallow Paint

This easy edible marshmallow paint is safe for kids and is made from common kitchen ingredients. You can let young kids help to measure and stir, and, of course, choose the colors!

Summer is a great time to enjoy doing crafts with your kids. Most kids love to paint and are proud of their creations, but they’ll be even more proud if they help to actually make the paint. This easy edible marshmallow paint is safe for kids and is made from common kitchen ingredients.

You can let young kids help to measure and stir, and, of course, choose the colors, and they’ll be happy to sample a few marshmallows while you’re at it! Just remember to be careful and help protect your kids from the hot bowl and ingredients.

And to protect kids’ clothes while you do art projects, try our Easy Sew Waterproof Art Smock. If you have older kids who like to use acrylic paint, encourage them to try Painting on Recycled Materials.

Edible-Marshmallow-Paint-ingredients

Supplies Needed

Instructions

1. In a small bowl, combine the marshmallows and corn starch. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and then mix.

2. Stir in the water and heat for another 30 seconds.

Edible Marshmallow Paint - Step 2

3. Stir in the corn syrup and heat for another 30 seconds.

4. Separate into four small containers. Add 1 small drop of food coloring to each one and mix with your stir sticks or spoons.

Edible Marshmallow Paint - Step 4

5. To use, dab a small amount on the end of a paint brush and paint away!

This easy edible marshmallow paint is safe for kids and is made from common kitchen ingredients. You can let young kids help to measure and stir, and, of course, choose the colors!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.