Originally published by Vitacost.

If you’re a parent, you already know that playdates help strengthen your child’s bond with classmates and neighbors. Playdates also encourage critical social skills like communication, negotiation and conflict resolution. But they’re also an opportunity to teach your little ones how to honor nature, protect the planet and develop lifelong earth-friendly habits. Here are four fun ways to green your child’s next afterschool adventure.

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Serve sustainable snacks

Learning takes serious fuel, which is why kids always come home from school famished. Serve healthy snacks without processed sugars and artificial flavors that will satiate their hunger without spoiling their dinner. You can prep these snacks ahead of time and have the children assemble them themselves.

  • Yogurt parfaits. Layer fruits like strawberries, blueberries and banana with granola and organic low-fat yogurt.
  • Hummus and veggie sticks
  • Homemade kale chips. Cut kale into 1-1/2-inch pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, and bake at 275 degrees F. for 20 minutes, turning once.
  • Rice cakes with almond butter and apple slices
  • Popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes.

For an extra dose of sustainability, serve snacks on Repurpose tableware. Made exclusively from plants, this super sturdy line of compostable plates, bowls, cups and utensils are free of BPA and chlorine.

Go for “green” slime

DIY slime is all the rage, but most recipes call for sodium borate, a compound found in detergents that can irritate skin, eyes and lungs. Instead, help your gooey gunk makers whip up a batch using the fiber supplement psyllium.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. psyllium
1 cup water
Natural food coloring

Directions

  1. Add psyllium and water to a 16-oz. Repurpose microwave-safe bowl and stir well to dissolve.
  2. Add a few drops food coloring and stir completely.
  3. Place bowl in microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes, stopping to stir the mixture halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove bowl and cool. Slime will still be liquid at first; it will begin to congeal as it cools.
  5. Repeat with different colors.

Opt for the outdoors

Kids are spending half the amount time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. Studies have shown that children who play outdoors are more physically active, creative in their play, concentrate better and show less aggression. What’s more, a new study in Canada found that kids who play outdoors are more likely to protect nature as adults. So head outside with these easy eco-activities:

  • Pack a picnic with Repurpose’s compostable cupsplates and utensils and find a shady spot at the park.
  • Visit a nearby hiking spot or wilderness area. Point out local birds, bugs, plants and critters and see if they can find others.
  • Participate in a mini-cleanup to see who can pick up the most litter. You can talk to the kids about the impact of litter on our natural world. Just be sure to pack gloves and hand wipes.
  • Stage a nature scavenger hunt. Have the kids find natural objects like wildflowers, pods, acorns, feathers and leaves.

Make cleanup clear

Post-playdate can look like the aftermath of a tornado. Involve kids in the cleanup by having them create signs for the trash, recycling and compost bins, listing the kinds of items that go in each one. Then, 30 minutes before the end of the playdate, ask them to pick up, looking for things that go in each bin. You can also ask them to think of ideas of how they could reuse any of the materials.

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