SCHOOL’S OUT: FIVE LOW COST ACTIVITIES FOR MINI ECO-WARRIORS THIS SUMMER 

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Angela Terry, CEO of One Home and leading environmental scientist lists her top five budget and eco-friendly ideas for entertaining kids during the holidays.

(Thursday 27 June, 2024) With the school holidays looming large on the horizon across England and Wales, it’s no surprise that many parents and caregivers will be worrying about the cost of occupying their energetic offspring over the course of six long weeks. 

Data published in 2023* revealed that a fifth of UK parents were concerned about being priced out of entertaining their children during the summer break, spending an average of £635 on additional activities. 


Today, leading environmental scientist Angela Terry, CEO of climate solutions charity, One Home, has revealed her list of top five budget friendly things-to-do that will also encourage young minds to consider how they can live more sustainably, helping to protect the planet around them. 

Recent research shows that children are keen to learn more about climate change and sustainable living. Results from The Big Ask – the biggest ever survey of children which quizzed 550,000 youngsters from around the UK – revealed that almost four in ten (39%) young people aged nine to 17 years old said ‘the environment was one of their main worries for the future’.   

One Home CEO and leading environmental scientist, Angela Terry, said: “Many families may feel pressured into spending money on expensive and consecutive days out over the summer, which can cause additional worry against the backdrop of an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“There’s never been a better time to plan some fail-safe and inexpensive activities that also encourage children to care for the natural world. The brilliant thing about nature is that it can be completely free and simple ideas such as cycling, instead of taking the car, are great ways to combine activities for kids with caring for the planet.

“We know that young people are rightly concerned about issues such as plastic pollution and global warming. Learning through play and hands-on experiences is a great way to engage and educate them in positive ways they can help live a more sustainable life.”

One Home’s top five low-cost summer holiday activities for mini eco-warriors:

  • Plan a nature scavenger hunt: Scavenger hunts are an exciting way to get children to explore the natural world and can add fun to family walks. Whether you’re at a local park, in a forest or woodland or at the beach, why not task youngsters with finding a number of items including different types of rocks or pebbles, flowers, trees or insects. Summer scavenger hunt templates can be downloaded at Woodland Trust. You could also report your findings to a Citizen Science project, tracking creatures including hedgehogs and snakes. Find out more at the Wildlife Trusts. Cost: £0
  • Make a bee hotel: Give solitary bees a home – and flying visitors a spot to rest – with a simple bee hotel. You can make your own by cutting the ends off a plastic water bottle and securely inserting a bunch of bamboo canes or twigs and stems into it. Friends of the Earth have a step-by-step guide to follow. Hang your hotel or nest around head height in a sunny, south-facing spot. Cost: Bamboo canes start at around £5
  • Arrange a litter walk or beach clean – A litter pick can be a fun and social outdoor activity which encourages children to consider why littering is bad for the environment. Why not invite your friends to join, split into teams and see who can collect the most litter? There’s a full guide at Keep Britain Tidy. Cost: This compact litter picker made from 100% recycled plastic costs £9.60 and is perfect for little hands. Alternatively, use protective washing up or rubber gloves from home.
  • Create your own wiggly worm farm: A worm farm or ‘wormery’ is an ideal way to turn kitchen waste into nutrient rich compost, not to mention a great project to do with youngsters to introduce them to the idea of food waste. Worm farms are easy to make at home – you’ll need two small plastic bins or boxes. Drill several air holes in the bottom and sides of the top bin. Sit them inside each other with a lid on top and rest the whole contraption on some bricks. Then, ask your child to add food scraps, ripped up newspaper and worms to the top bin, and the wrigglers will help themselves to the delicious waste. Beware – you can’t just use any old garden worm – the best composters are red worms because they produce the richest nutrients. They cost about £15 for a bag from online suppliers but if you make them comfortable in their new home they multiply and you won’t need to buy more. In a few days you should see compost collecting in the ‘sump’ – the bottom layer.  Keep your wormery warm in winter and moist in hot summer spells, and there’s a step-by-step video you can follow from the eco charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. Cost: Around £15 for red worms.
  • Start a food scrap garden – Active involvement in the growing and harvesting of their food can help kids develop more positive attitudes towards fresh fruits and vegetables. And you don’t even need a garden to start – many veggies grow surprisingly well in pots, making them ideal for window sills. Children will be amazed at how something that is often tossed in the bin can take root:
    • Strawberries – slice a few strawberries in half and leave them on a paper towel to dry. This allows the tiny seeds to become detached from the fruit and easily scraped away from the berry. Once you’ve collected enough seeds put them in the fridge for a few weeks to germinate and then plant in a soil-filled pot. 
    • Lettuce – place the base in a container of shallow water and in direct sunlight. Once it begins to sprout, transfer to soil. 
    • Carrots – place the tops in a shallow container of water and allow roots to form in a sunny spot for about a week. Transfer to soil and watch them flourish! 

For seriously green little fingers, check out The Royal Horticultural Society’s free ’grow your own’ app which breaks down the veg-growing process into simple steps. And if you’re harbouring a future farmer, consider applying for a space on a local allotment – gov.uk’s allotment finder will point you in the right direction. Cost: £0

One Home is a UK charity which aims to help households adapt to a low cost, low carbon lifestyle and provides impartial information and advice on practical solutions that improve people’s lives whilst saving money and reducing carbon emissions. For more information, visit One Home, or download the charity’s energy saving guide.

 

* Survey carried out by TrustPilot in 2023.

** Research from The Big Ask by the Children’s Commissioner carried out in 2022.