At a time of increasing environmental awareness it is important that we all play our part in looking after the planet and consider the changes we can make to help protect the environment. To support providers PlayBoard NI hosted a number of Eco Play Clusters, designed to assist providers offer practical play tools for their setting. Eco Play encourages children to take an interest in, get involved and take responsibility for the changes they want to see to improve their own Afterschool environment.
Take a look at our top 25 Eco Afterschool Activity Ideas below:
- Encourage the use of glass milk bottles which can be sterilised and used again.
- Use (unrecyclable) milk or plastic bottle lids for an art project.
- Build an igloo or greenhouse from plastic milk containers.
- Encourage waste sorting – have a paper bin and general waste bin.
- Compost food waste.
- Have a compost bin and greenhouse in your outdoor area.
- Have an afterschool ‘green team’ responsible for educating others on becoming more environmentally friendly. Members could have an eco-school badge and meet monthly to discuss new projects.
- Turn lights off and ensure all plugs are switched off at the wall when appliances are not in use.
- Recycle batteries.
- Have a clothing recycling bank on the premises for lost property that never gets claimed, as well as a bottle bank.
- Organise litter picking and sort into recyclable and general waste.
- Recycle plastic milk cartons into bird feeders for the playground.
- Grow your own vegetables. Learn what it takes to look after plants and vegetables as well as observing the life cycle of plants first-hand. You could sell the produce at your summer fair.
- Recycle old wellies by filling with compost and sowing seeds into them – you could also sell these!
- Organise an eco quiz.
- Pond dipping and river walks – discover bugs and nature. How much plastic did you see? How do you think this impacts nature? Take clipboards, magnifying glasses and a camera to record the findings.
- Watch the BBC documentary Drowning in Plastic to educate children about the impact plastic is having on our planet. Have your tissues at the ready.
- Go on a free trip to your local recycling plant. Did you know that recycled plastic bottles are turned into fleece that we wear?
- Visit a local power plant to learn about our consumption of electricity and power. This may help children understand the impact it has and encourage lower usage in school.
- Create junk models – recycle old egg boxes, cardboard tubes, cans, cereal boxes and plastic bottles and have a team or class competition for the best model. They could create robots, vehicles or large scale masterpieces!
- Organise a recycled fashion show.
- Make eco-bricks using plastic bottles filled with plastic bags. You could use these to make your greenhouse or igloo.
- Build a wormery.
- Conserve rainwater to feed your seedlings with a water butt.
- Make a bug hotel using old pieces of wood, palettes and tubing.
Have fun playing with used or recycled materials
Appreciate that used or recycled materials can be a valuable resource. Contribute positively to the environment by playing with and reusing these materials.
Remember … these are only ideas. The activities should be incorporated with other play enabling ideas to get the right mix for children.