4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth Day


I love spring. As green leaves reappear and fruit trees burst into bloom, I start feeling that spring fever–a budding momentum that breaks up the inertia of late winter and revives my energy. But I also know that within a month or two, that momentum will have sped up into a full blown sprint (a sprint I have trouble keeping pace with!). The “end of school” rush will entail graduations, parties, and BBQs that give way to the long days of summer. Days filled with lots of play, lots of travel, and still just as much work for us working moms. So, spring is a time when I remind myself to look for ways to embrace the concept of slow living before the summer haze sets in.

» » » » » » »  RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Celebrate Earth Day in Albuquerque  « « « « « « « «

What is slow living? Slow living is not necessarily about going slow, although you might slow down as a result.

4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth DaySome call it a lifestyle, a philosophy, or a movement. I like to describe it as a choice to be more self-aligned, self-paced, and eco-conscious. In other words, slow living is about intentionally prioritizing the well-being of our spirits, of humanity, and of our planet through our daily actions.

Earth Day, falling in the middle of spring, always calls to me as a time to adopt (or re-adopt) a slow living mindset. This Earth Day I’m aiming to involve my whole family. Here are my top four suggestions for family-friendly, slow living activities to try this year.

1. Visit a Refill Shop

Refill models were the norm in the not-too-distant past (my mom grew up in the ’50s with weekly bottle deliveries from the milk man!). The ethic of reusing all but disappeared when women entered the workforce in droves in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Fast food (and fast everything) became the norm. Women no longer had time to cook from scratch, hand wash laundry, use cloth diapers, etc. They were now working outside the home. While this shift was great for women in many ways, it directly coincides with the dramatic rise in plastic pollution that is now costing our planet dearly.

4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth DayLuckily, refill shops are making a comeback and ensuring the process is convenient for busy parents. Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, we now have five refilleries! You and the fam can visit your closest one to stock up on eco-friendly household essentials like laundry detergent, dish soap, and bath and body products all without the unnecessary plastic packaging.

Refill shops are free of greenwashing and make use of BYOC (bring your own container). So rather than sending your empty jug to a landfill, you can bring it back and refill it. Encouraging kids to participate in the refill process teaches them the value of reducing waste. Plus, they’ll get to try out new products like tooth tabs in kid-friendly flavors (warning: they look like candy and your kids will now LOVE brushing their teeth!).

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2. Start a Compost Pit

When we first moved back home from California to Corrales, I was frustrated that my county didn’t have curbside composting. So, we built our own. In the end, I think it’s even better than curbside! By building, I mean we dug a shallow hole in the ground away from the house, sunk four posts in each corner, used scrap wood to erect a small fence around all sides, and started throwing in food and yard waste. It was WAY easier than I imagined.

You don’t need a lot of space to have a compost pit, and it doesn’t take much tending. Our kids have learned about the natural cycle of decomposition and renewal–the science (and magic) of turning food waste into nutrient-rich soil for our garden! Check out your regional master gardeners website for resources on composting, or utilize YouTube videos about composting in the desert!

4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth Day3. Plant a Vegetable Garden

If you build a compost pit, the next natural slow living activity is to start a vegetable garden. And spring is the time to do it! There’s something incredibly satisfying about growing your own food, and gardening can be a therapeutic activity for the whole family. Dedicate a section of your yard or even just a few pots to planting veggies and herbs.

Last spring, I took my kids to our locally owned mercantile and let them choose which vegetables they wanted to grow. Since they had a say, they were more eager to help with subsequent steps like watering, harvesting, and eating. Throughout summer and fall, we got to enjoy homegrown tomatoes, chard, and cucumbers that taste a million times better than store-bought and were plastic-free from soil to table!

4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth Day4. Shop at a Farmers’ Market

By far the biggest source of plastic waste in our home is what we buy at the grocery store. I also hate going into grocery stores with kids in tow. Nothing feels more detached from slow living than a Sunday trip to Costco. The best way to curb plastic food packaging and improve the food shopping experience is by making your local farmers’ market your first “grocery” stop. Not only is this a great way to support local farmers and artisans, but it’s also an opportunity to be outdoors and let kids run free. I like to give each of my kids $5 and task them with looking through the whole market and interacting with the farmers before choosing what to buy. They practice math and the art of getting the most bang for their buck. By buying locally, we reduce our carbon footprint and enjoy the benefits of fresh, nutritious food. Don’t forget your reusable produce bags!

4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth DayThis Earth Day, I’ll do my best to engage in activities that promote sustainability, mindfulness, and connection. By incorporating these family-friendly ideas into our Earth Day celebrations, we’ll enjoy time together and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for our children’s generation and those thereafter.

About our guest writer:4 Family-Friendly, Slow Living Activities for Earth Day

Lauren Wenderoth (she/her) is a Corrales resident, mother, Earth-lover, and proud New Mexican. Post-covid after the loss of her father, she gradually left her career in dietetics to start a zero-waste business with the simple goal of reducing plastic in her local community.  She is the owner of The Village Refillery, a bulk refill shop in Corrales, NM and finds fulfillment in collaborating with sustainably-minded artisans, growers, small-business owners, and community members.



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