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Tuesday, April 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Do Your Part: Give kids a summer of eco-friendly fun

By Terri Bennett McClatchy Newspapers

It’s summer and there’s one thing parents hate to hear from the kids: “I’m bored!”

While you’re looking for easy ways to entertain the kiddies, you can also do your part to pass along important lessons on being eco-friendly. Here are my top five green ways to keep kids busy all summer long.

1) Have an eco-adventure.

This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It can be anything you want it to be.

A simple walk or hike is the perfect opportunity to learn about the trees, flowers and insects you might see. Or, think bigger: America’s national parks are affordable and filled with all sorts of possible adventures from camping to horseback riding.

If you’re not sure where to get started, check for links to help you search by ZIP code.

2) Get crafty.

One of the best ways to take care of the planet is to get more life from things you already have. So instead of tossing out things like milk cartons, cereal boxes, or old T-shirts, show your kids how to transform them into something new and useful.

Some crafts we love are making bird feeders, crafting T-shirt tote bags and creating a kids’ organizer from “trash.” You kind find how-to videos at

3) Grow a garden.

This activity is downright fun for parents. Watching children turn seeds into food is always a thrill.

They learn about where their food comes from, how to care for their crops, and they get to eat up all their hard work. Plus, you’ll know exactly what’s in the fruits and veggies your family is eating.

Give your kids a couple packets of seeds and a window box or planter full of healthy soil and let them have fun getting dirty.

4) Visit the library.

Don’t spend money or resources on brand-new books and videos when you can get an endless supply at your local library. Plus, most libraries have special readings and presentations for every age group throughout the summer at no cost.

If you’re looking to check out books that teach an important environmental message, start with “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss, which teaches children about the importance of trees.

“Here Comes the Garbage Barge” by Jonah Winter talks trash and shows us why we can’t keep adding to the garbage pile. And “Good Growing: A Kids’ Guide to Gardening” helps kids start a garden no matter how much (or how little) space they have.

5) Be charitable.

An important lesson for all children to learn is to how to be charitable. This summer, don’t let shoes, clothes, toys, bikes and the like sit around your home when there is a lot of life left in them. has information on where to donate old toys, bikes and even shoes.

So do your part and find entertaining things for your kids to do this summer without taxing the planet, or your budget.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and host of Send questions to

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