Just because school is out, doesn't mean learning has to stop. The summer months are a great opportunity for families to spend time together and see firsthand that small actions to live more sustainably can together make a big impact on the future - a concept that echoes the mission of Unilever Project Sunlight. The company behind many of the food, home and personal care products many people use every day launched Project Sunlight in 2013 to help make sustainable living commonplace.
Get your family in on the action and encourage others to adopt sustainable habits at home by trying one of the below Summer Sunlight Activities:
Go Green in Your Bathroom
Nearly 40 percent of Americans toss plastic bottles from the bathroom in the trash, not realizing that along with cardboard product packaging and toilet paper spools, many bathroom toiletry bottles - including Dove and Suave shampoos and body washes - are recyclable.
One Ingredient, Five Ways
Each year the world produces about 1,477 pounds of edible food for every person on the planet, but only about half of that is ever eaten. Empower the kids of the household to plan a menu for the week by thinking up five meals with one main ingredient, and teach the entire family that simple ingredients can go a long way. Challenge your children to get creative with their menu planning - there are plenty of recipes to choose from on www.knorr.com or www.hellmanns.com for inspiration.
Transform Shampoo Bottles into Decorative Caddies
It's important to green your bathroom and recycle plastic bottles whenever possible, but there's also some fun up-cycling you can do to make use of empty plastic bottles. Turn your empty Suave or Dove bottle into a handy caddy for everything from keys to mobile phones - a craft that's perfect for kids to create for everyone in the house.
Be Your Own Farmer's Market
Growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and positively impact the environment. Add some fresh flavor to your next family dinner by up-cycling empty containers like Hellmann's mayonnaise jars to create a garden of your favorite herbs and vegetables.
"Teaching the next generation to live sustainably is essential to ensuring our children and our children's children thrive in a world with clean water and food on the table," said Sarah Michelle Gellar, Unilever Project Sunlight Ambassador, actress and mother. "Whether it's challenging their creativity to reimagine the use of a box, turning off the faucet while they brush their teeth or growing a summer garden, we can build a world where everyone lives well - if we all do our part."
Ready to get started? Here are the step-by-step instructions to one of the activities that will get your family on the path to a more sustainable future.
Go Green in Your Bathroom
What You'll Need:
* Empty box (diaper boxes work well)
* Gift wrap paper
* Spray adhesive
* Packing tape
* Trash bag
What to Do:
Step 1: Cut off flaps of box and set aside for later use.
Step 2: Measure paper needed to cover large sides and bottom of box and add two inches on each side; do same for small sides and bottom of box.
Step 3: Choose side to start working on first (large or small side), and spray adhesive on respective paper.
Step 4: Place one side of box onto sprayed paper leaving two inches on each side and top. Lay bottom and then last side, then fold two inches of extra paper into box neatly and secure with adhesive. Repeat same steps to cover other sides.
Step 5: Take both longer flaps and place them side by side (on long side). Cut enough gift wrap to cover one side leaving 1-2 inches on each of four sides. Spray paper with adhesive and place two pieces in center; fold over four sides and secure with tape. Don't worry about exposed cardboard, which won't be seen.
Step 6: Line your bin with trash bag and place wrapped longer flaps at bottom of bin (pretty side up).
Step 7: Take both shorter flaps and place one atop of other using longer side and mend the two together with packing tape to tightly secure. Cut piece of gift wrap large enough to cover two pieces leaving two inches on shorter sides, and wrap cardboard as you would a gift. Affix into bin to create divider and two compartments - one for plastics and one for cardboard recyclables.
For instructions for all the activities to keep kids entertained all summer long, and tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle year round, visit www.projectsunlight.us.
Smarter Green Living
There are many small changes you can make in your daily life to help build a better, more sustainable world. Check out these simple tips that can lessen your family's carbon footprint:
Save Water, Change the World
In just one year, the average family could save nearly 5,000 gallons of water and up to $150 by shortening shower time by just two minutes. The Suave Turn-Off-the-Tap program encourages everyone to also turn off the water while shampooing and conditioning, which can save an additional 3,000 gallons of water per year.
One Tote Bag Can Make a Big Impact
Carrying a tote bag to avoid the use of plastic grocery store bags while out and about can make a big difference. Less than five percent of plastic bags are recycled in the U.S. - that's up to 95 billion bags in the trash system, where decomposition can take hundreds of years.
Love Your Leftovers
No one wants to eat the same thing over and over, which is why it's time to get creative. It's possible to transform your leftovers into a delicious new meal, cut down on waste and save money. For a leftover makeover, check out: http://ulever.us/leftovers.
(two photos: family of four, and mother and daughter at grocery photos)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images