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Published March 30th 2016
Bring 'em up right and get out of the house too
We all want to raise kids that are considerate of how their actions impact on the people, animals and environment around them.
One way to give your kids a values education is by cleverly planning your next outing together - taking them somewhere fun to show them things they've never seen and start a conversation you wouldn't otherwise have.
School-aged kids will benefit the most but even very young kids can benefit from broadening their horizons with these excursions. And most of them are free.
Discover who the supermarket gets its milk from
Not just a chance to pat a cow or feed a chicken, a farm visit also makes it easier to talk from a young age about animal welfare and where our food comes from.
Maleny Dairies in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland runs popular tours for families, or you can spend a weekend at a farmstay near you.
Op shop donations
Spend your money where it will help others, for a good price too
First, involve your kids in choosing some toys and clothes to donate (don't sneak them away when they're not looking), then take them to one of Australia's 3000 charity shops.
While you're there, hunt through the shelves for new treasures, pick up cheap books for everyone, and explain how your money helps people in need.
They might find Save the Children easy to identify with, which has op shops throughout Australia.
Appreciate animals by coming face to face. White rhino at Werribee Zoo
As well as appreciating exotic and native animals "in the flesh", many zoos actively open the eyes of both young and old visitors on how looking after the environment helps us look after wildlife.
Werribee Zoo, 30 mins outside Melbourne, has a fantastic set-up for kids, with play areas throughout the zoo. You can even stay overnight on the Slumber Safari.
Fair trade shops
Think outside the square for your next gift
For the next family birthday, visit a fair trade shop to buy a gift and talk about the people who handmade it.
For a gift for their friends, the Trading Circle (in Sydney and Brisbane) and Oxfam shops (across the country) stock brightly coloured kids mobiles, dolls, puppets and fabric books.
Bring green values home by spending time in nature together
Go for a bush walk to marvel at nature. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 82% of Australian adults are concerned about at least one environmental issue, and getting amongst some greenery is an easy way to pass on that appreciation for our environment to little ones.
Pack a picnic and put conservation into practice by leaving nothing behind and picking up any rubbish you see.
Great article, some really good ideas here. I think it's really important to start these discussions early and get kids thinking about the world (and the people) around them. Plus, when you can do that AND make it fun, everyone wins!