The world has come to a stand still. Malls, theatres, parks, gyms, museums and other places of recreation and work are shut. Families are self-quarantined with schools and offices not functioning. The airline industry has taken a beating and the roads are empty. The world’s carbon footprint must be at its lowest in decades! As much as the COVID-19 virus is a scare, this is a time for mother earth to heal. It is also a great moment to spend time with loved ones and take life slowly—live in the moment, as they say!
Right now is an opportunity to do activities together as a family and teach our children skills that are earth-friendly—skills that will make them independent and prepare them for more trying times in the future; some of which we may have missed out on doing or learning amid our busy schedules.
Here are 5 interesting earth-friendly ideas to do as a family during this quarantine period.
- Ditch the food delivery service app and cook as a family: Pull out old family recipe books and teach your child (or husband) a dish that brought beautiful memories to you as a child when you ate it off your grandmother’s hand. Involve the child in the cooking process based on what is appropriate for his/her age. Make easy, everyday food items like rice or dosa. If the child wants to buy a packet of cookies or a bottle of juice or jam, attempt making it at home instead! You can make fun dishes that children will love to eat and involve them in the process too. It would be far healthier and the child will also know what goes into making his/her food. Even if the first attempt doesn’t turn out great, he/she will value the time invested and spent together. Pickling, juicing and making jams are great ways to preserve fruits and vegetables and are excellent skills to possess too.
- Plant a seed: Pull out an old cup and sow some methi or mustard seeds from the kitchen. Don’t have access to soil? Put an onion in a bottle of water instead! These seeds will sprout quickly and by the end of the quarantine period, will even be ready for harvest. Your child will have learnt where his/her food comes from and how long it takes to grow it.
- Declutter: This is a good time as any to empty your cupboards and sort things as a family. Discard what is broken or old and take stock of your shopping habits! I am sure this is an activity that has been long pending. This activity will help you realise the amount of materialistic things that you own. You can encourage your children to keep aside some of their things that they hardly use or that are in excess to donate, swap or share with a friend.
- Sew a button: Many of us have forgotten the art of sewing or mending which is a great sustainable activity. In case you are not sure how to go about it, there is always YouTube to the rescue and this can be learnt as a family!
- Be bored: Allow your children to be bored and make them come up with imaginative ideas to keep themselves occupied. They can even use existing materials at home to make something useful or play a game. Upcycling things is the way of the future. A friend of mine was saying how the children of a family she knew conducted a play on coronavirus. Sometimes we are so anxious about children being bored that we don’t allow them to be creative or think for themselves, which is a vital tool for survival!