Summer is near and we’re ready for the heat! No matter where you live or what your hobbies and interests are, we have a seasonal activity that suits you. From crafting with kids to exploring the outdoors, we’ll keep you busy all season with these sustainable and eco-friendly ideas.
1. Grow Your Own Garden
There are so many benefits to growing your own produce and herbs. Fruits and veggies at the grocery store most likely traveled thousands of miles to get there, consuming fuel and expelling pollution along the way. When you shop local you’re drastically reducing your environmental footprint—and the backyard is basically as local as it gets! You also get to ensure your garden is pesticide free, which is better for your body and the planet. And lastly, and maybe the best reason, you’ll save money on groceries!
When you decide to invest in your own garden, make a day of it with the kids. Bring them to the store to help pick out seed packets for the fruits, veggies, and flowers. Let them help you plant and choose where in the backyard the garden will go. What better way to entertain your kids on a beautiful summer day than to keep them busy in the garden, right?
*Tip: Don’t forget to compost your vegetable peels and scraps! You’ll be reducing food waste and creating your own nutrient-filled soil to use in your new garden!
Now that you have a garden full of delicious fruits and veggies, don’t let them go to waste! A great way to extend the life of your produce is to pickle them. Pickling, in simple terms, is a method of preserving food by using an acidic solution, like vinegar. There are many types of pickling that involve different lengths of time or processes such as heat and salt content. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it and experiment! You can even add herbs and spices to make the pickled veggies even more tasty!
Since we’re always looking to keep waste low and reuse what we have—sauce, salsa or jam jars are sustainable options for storage for your pickled goodies. Mason jars work too! Just work with whatever you have around the kitchen. Check out this article for tons of pickling recipes.
3. DIY Citronella Candles
Summer BBQ’s and pool parties unfortunately come with pesky mosquitoes—they’ll find you anywhere! We suggest making your own DIY citronella candles to keep the pests at bay. This will help you cut back spending money on those expensive, chemical-y candles that don’t always do the job. Not only are these homemade versions beautiful and cost effective but they are eco-friendly, too! They also make for pretty patio decor, if we do say so ourselves!
If you took us up on the grow your own garden suggestion above, you can even use your homegrown herbs to fill up the jars. How cool is that? All you’ll need for this project is herbs, lemon slices, lime wedges, essential oils, water and a floating candle. Again, feel free to use jars from your kitchen or drinking glasses from a local thrift shop. Get the full tutorial here.
4. Reusable Water Balloons
Everyone loves a good old fashioned water balloon fight, especially on a hot, humid day. The problem is, traditional balloons are harmful to the environment. If you dispose of them, latex is technically biodegradable but can take anywhere from six months to four years to decompose. Even worse, animals might ingest the leftover bits you forgot to pick up from your water battle thinking it’s food and end up with blockages in their stomach!
Don’t fret though, we’ve got an eco-friendly alternative that’s colorful and reusable. Try making some adorable handmade crochet water balloons. They are washable, super absorbent and easy to put together. Check out the full tutorial here.
5. Get In Touch With Nature
Now that the weather is nice, it’s a great time to get outdoors! Embrace all the amazing things Mother Nature has to offer and take your family and friends along with you for an adventure! Here are a few nature-filled suggestions:
Visit National Parks
From Yosemite to Zion—the national parks in the U.S. are full of gorgeous landscapes and wildlife in their natural habitat. These parks are stunning to look at and fun to explore but they are also important to preserve natural resources and support critical scientific research. It’s crucial that we help conserve and protect these parks for future generations.
Consider taking a trip to one of the many spectacular parks in the U.S. Check out the National Park Foundation or the National Park Service for help with planning. The NPCA (National Parks Conservation Association) also provides a ton of resources for how you can help protect parks, too!
If you’re a beach lover and plan to spend most of your weekends this summer in the sun and sand, consider a beach cleanup! You know by now about the plastic problem threatening our planet, so whenever you have the opportunity to pitch in, take it! After your day at the beach, take an hour at the end of the day when it’s cooled down a bit and gather your friends to help collect trash. You can even make it a competition and award prizes for the individual or team that collects the most.
Hit the Trails
If you can’t commit to a trip to a national park, explore a local hiking trail—it’s a great alternative and a good workout! Try it solo or bring friends along; whatever you choose a hike is a nice way to challenge yourself and then be rewarded with a fantastic view at the end. If you’re feeling intimidated to do it on your own, do some research and see if your neighborhood or town has a hiking club you can join.
We hope this list of fun ideas inspired you to try something different this summer and protect our planet at the same time. Everyday is a new opportunity to explore something new, so take full advantage of what this amazing world has to offer. Comment below if you tried any of these and tell us about your experience!