I decided an eco project would be apt and fun and interesting and all things important. All our projects become very cross curricular and this was no exception.
We started with the idea of our carbon footprint and what it means.
Learning how the ozone layer works
Understanding the concpet of 'biodegradable' with our own biodegradable confetti.
A study of wildflowers for bees and other insects
Using our own compost from the compost heap!
A trip to 'Lush' where we asked for non-plastic wrapped shampoo bars and conditioner.
We loved everything about our purchases: the smell, the volume, the lack of plastic...but for so many of us in the family with long hair and regular showers it is too great an expense to maintain. Back to the drawing board.
We made our own natural cleaning product using white vinegar and lemon and essential oils.
We wrote down all our recipes for future reference:
Castille soap and essential oils to make washing up liquid
Olive oils and essential oils for furniture polish
Window cleaner with white vinegar
We used blackboard paint and then chalk to label our products
Bicarb in the drain and then vinegar for an explosive reaction to assist cleaning
Carpet deodoriser using bicarb and essential oils
We learnt that horse chestnuts (conkers) contain saponins which is a cleanser/soap. The bubbles that came from crushed conkers were quite astonishing!
So we crushed lots to make laundry detergent like the Vikings did!
5 - 6 conkers is about 66 grams of crushed conker.
Soak in a cup of hot water and leave overnight.
Drain the liquid and use 50ml per wash! It works beautifully!
Boiled avocado stones...
...mixed with shampoo for extra shine!
Beetroot hair dye for pink hair!
...written with a biodegradable pen.
Our conker detergent worked so well we went on lots of conker hunts.
We learnt that cherry pits retain heat well so we are saving as many as we can to make a microwaveable heat bag. In the meantime we made some using rice, 100% cotton so as not to catch fire in the microwave, and new fleecey socks for an outer layer once warmed.
We made lemon cider vinegar using lemon peel soaked in white vinegar for two weeks. We used it as another natural cleaning product and it smelt great!
And apple cider vinegar for skin toner
Making natural dyes on 100% cotton fabric from one of Papa's old shirts:
Fabulous colours and quite pre-Renaissance!
Panda girl made them into bunting! From shirt to bunting :)
We made our own re-usable wax wraps
And mini snack bar bags
We experimented with beeswax, coconut oil and vaseline to make our own lip salve with essential oils. Vaseline is not good for the body and we all preferred the beeswax ones anyway!
We had some silly fun making natural face masks.
A big lavender bag for our neighbour, using lavender from our garden
Drawing the musculoskeletal system for a deeper understanding of the value of essentail oils on the body
Making a natural antiseptic using essential oils
We studied the theory of thermodynamics and applied it to a home made heater using terracotta flower pots. It worked amazingly well!
A lesson about acid and alkali, using cabbage water as a ph indicator
We tried making dyes with our new colours but they didn't succeed as well as our previous dye experiments
Using the dictionary for the definition of 'zero' and 'waste'.
I was planning a trip to our local recycling centre so the kiddies could see first hand how it all works, but during the organising of it we realised we were out of 'catchment' so we weren't entitled to go! So we made do with a few videos about recycling centres and water treatment facilities.
Did you know, there is a 280, 000% mark up on tap water vs bottled water?! We talked about mark ups and profits and percentages...
...and then Panda Girl did her own research on plastic facts.
The Boy and I came up with a slogan for cleaning your recycling properly before you send it to the recycling centre.
Ugh! The children went over the fields and came back with a bag of litter each. We talked about what we found, how long it may have been there, its environmental impact on wildlife, and then we disposed of it in the right bins.
Sunbaby has had lots of fun with all our conkers!
And we completed our project with two days studying sustainable housing, alternative living and designing our own sustainable homes.
Good work, my eco warriors!