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Greening Your Kids

Greg Gerber Adventures
Now that I’ve got a couple little ones, that old chestnut about children being the future feels a lot less laughably cliché. (Though the smooth stylings of Randy Watson are still wholly laughable. Sexual Chocolate!)

So when a cool press release/flower seed note arrived about how Curious George is debuting new episodes on Earth Day as part of “PBS KIDS Share the Earth Day,” it made me think about raising my 3-year-old’s awareness. Not like I’m going to have her organizing a recycling drive or anything, but just a way to give ‘green’ some visibility in her tiny-yet-ever-expanding universe – a universe that is, by the way, already dominated by aforementioned monkey.

Come to find out, there are many green campaigns aimed at kids – some probably more noble than others. I’ll list a few I found, and leave it up to you to determine each’s value-instilling value.

PBS is devoting their kids’ programming to Earth Day-related topics. They’ve got new, green-themed Curious George, Arthur and Cyberchase episodes, plus plenty of “eco-focused Web content.” I’ve already broken my promise about limiting my kids’ time in front of the TV (made in that blissfully ignorant time when my wife was still expecting), but my guilt is assuaged a bit knowing that I limit them to PBS. It’s boob-tube, but it’s smart boob-tube.

Disney’s new green venture, Disneynature, is releasing its first film, EARTH. I’ve seen the ads, as we probably all have, and it looks awesome. The press release says the film, opening on Earth Day, “tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their amazing journeys across the planet we call home.” It’s from the guys behind award-winning doc Planet Earth, so expectations are high. Disney doesn’t always get it right, but this seems like a can’t-miss, from a “teaching while entertaining” perspective. Also, they’re planting a tree for every ticket sold. A few days ago, they were already up to 500,000.

Illinois-based plumbing-fixture supplier Gerber, which seems to put a pretty strong emphasis on the EPA’s Water Sense program, has a coloring book detailing the wonderfully wet adventures of Greg Gerber. The story tells kids how they can help save water. The book is supposed to be downloadable at their site, but I couldn’t find it, so I’m not sure how great it is. I’ll leave it at this: I hope the lamely pedestrian name for their protagonist (Greg Gerber sounds like a dentist or a math teacher) isn’t a clue to how engaging the story is.

If they’re not going outdoors anyway, you may as well get the kids into faux-outdoors activities, right? How about through the world’s first gardening video game, Gardening Mama? The New York Times explains how the Nintendo DS release captures the vibrancy of planting by letting youngsters grow 37 varieties of fruits, flowers and vegetables. By the way, this was brought to my attention via Mother Nature Network, which has a nice section of kids-related green news.















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“Greening Your Kids”