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Get your children involved in litter picking this Summer holidays

Be like the Wombles and become the worlds best litter pickers and recyclers, making good use of bad rubbish, says Sara Whatley

What is a great way to help your children feel good about the environment? Get them involved in recycling and litter picking! Children are being taught about our climate crises in schools and questioning it themselves, but this can have the unwanted effect that they can develop climate anxiety, a well-recognised condition by mental health professionals. 

The good news is, there is a simple fix to climate anxiety: take action. Feel like you are doing something positive in response to the situation. Feel empowered. Feel like you are making a difference, and with litter picking, seeing you are making a real difference.   

With the summer holidays starting this month it is the perfect time to get some litter picking gear and start making a palpable difference to the spaces around us. You don’t need much – some gloves, a litter picker grabber and a bag – before you can go out and find a place to tidy up. The results are immediate and the sense of satisfaction that brings is huge. For all ages. 

Do a little research and you will soon find a whole host of litter picking groups in your local area (some are called Wombling groups after the great recyclers themselves). Join a group as a family for a perfect way to introduce children to litter picking, and a great way to spend some time outdoors and meet new people too. 

Now lets look at recycling. The Wombles motto is ‘Make good use of bad rubbish’, still a sentiment that runs very true 50 years later. It is vital for children to understand the significance of recycling as they get older, and when they are younger recycling can be a fun game for them too.
Young ones love to be given a task so why not make them the recycling monitors in your house? Arrange your recycling bins so children know what goes into each one (if your recycling has to be separated); you could use colours, signs and pictures to help. Then encourage children to fill them up! You could even give them incentives – see who can fill their bin first. 

Children might find it fun to make good use of bad rubbish by transforming it into other things. Toilet roll crafts are endless! Make a shaker, a rocket, or some friendly-faced scarecrows. How about squashed water bottle fish, or tin can plant pots? Cardboard box monsters are always a scary must too! 

Remember the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and we will all be on our way to living on a happier, healthier planet.