Here at HEART we have many hands-on projects that get kids thinking about how to make the world a better place. Perhaps one of the most popular activities is decorating reusable bags.
Plastic bags are given out without a second thought all across the country at grocery stores, pharmacies and shopping malls. But once they are used and discarded (often in a matter of hours), they don’t just disappear. In fact, throwing them in the trash is just the beginning of their journey. Many end up in landfills. Others can be found anywhere from the stomach of a beached whale to the middle of the ocean. All of them stay on the planet for generations. While plastic bags are commonly used, they don’t have to be. Bringing your own bag is a great way to reduce trash and protect the planet.
After teaching kids about the dangers of single use plastic items like plastic bags, utensils, cups and plates, we show them how easy it is to use alternatives. That’s when we give each student his or her own fair trade recycled canvas bag to decorate.
What You Will Need:
- Fair trade recycled (or organic) bags
- Fabric Markers
This activity is fun, easy and great for all ages. We do recommend stencils because it allows kids to be able to use their creativity, but still keep the bag neat. (Although, any child who wants to draw freehand certainly can.) Kids can decorate both sides, the straps and even personalize it with their names. Best of all, they leave with a bag they can bring with them anywhere.
We love this activity so much because it not only teaches kids about why plastic bags are bad for the environment, but also gives them an alternative to be able to use instead. It’s one thing to know the problem, but another thing entirely to have the tools to fix it.
Why Fair Trade:
When doing a good deed for the planet, it’s important to make sure that good deed extends to everyone. By buying fair trade, you make sure that the workers who made the bags were paid a living wage. That goes hand-in-hand with the humane message.
Why Recycled (or Organic):
Buying a bag made from recycled materials means that you are keeping more discarded items out of the landfills. If recycled is not an option, buying organic means that harmful pesticides were not used in the making of the bag.