Finding things to keep you and your kids entertained during the school holidays can be difficult. Luckily there are an abundance of activities that you can do that are not only fun, but will teach your kids the importance of sustainability.

“The holidays can be overwhelming for parents, and with such a long break over summer, it can be hard to keep the kids occupied and entertained,” says Martin Walters from TOMRA Collection. “However, it’s also the perfect time to reconnect with your kids, and share valuable life lessons, including how to be more sustainable.”

Here are the best sustainable school holiday activities to keep you and your kids sane, without harming the planet:

With a little imagination you can make up your own backyard games that are fun for everyone.

Make your own backyard games

Rather than buying new toys for the holidays, there are a range of sustainable backyard games that you and your kids can make reusing household items. If you have tennis balls and leftover plastic bottles, paint them white with a couple of red stripes to create your own family bowling league in the backyard. If your kids love mini golf, use items around the house to create a course in your backyard – the family member with the most creative hole wins!

Lots of kids love sorting and organising, so get them involved in recycling and ‘playing’ with a reverse-vending machine.

Gather your recyclable containers

Collect leftover bottles and cans from home, or from a beach or bush clean-up, and head to a reverse-vending machine to recycle them with the kids. Not only is it fun for the kids to watch their bottles and cans disappear and to get their 10 cent refunds for each container, it’s also a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Some reverse-vending machines such as  TOMRA’s reverse vending machines also allow recyclers to donate their refund to the Starlight Children’s Foundation through the Containers 4 Kids campaign, so your kids can help other kids and learn to be charitable.

It doesn’t take much to encourage little ones to get out looking for creepy crawlies.

Go on an insect scavenger hunt

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt, so why not make it interesting by creating a search for bugs and insects in the garden. All you need to do is head outdoors with a paper, pen, list of garden bugs and a magnifying glass, and the kids can learn all about the little critters that live in your garden. While out exploring the depths of your backyard, not only will your kids find out about the secret lives of their new six legged friends, and their critical importance to our Australian ecosystem, they will develop valuable nature lessons.

Craft is fun but it’s even better when you’re creating with your pet in mind!

Create something for your pets

Why not get crafty with materials from around the home and give your pet something to enjoy. Use empty boxes, decorations and craft supplies to create a sustainable toy for your furry family member. If you don’t have a pet but still want to create something, Cat Protection Society NSW has a craft club stocked with a range of designs that you and your kids can make at home. These can then be donated to the cats at the shelter.

Learning how to grow food is a life lesson that ends in the kids eating their own handiwork! They just need to be patient…

Make a sustainable veggie garden

Make time during the school holidays to start a garden project with your kids and you can teach them not only how to grow plants, but also how to be more sustainable and responsible. Start with easy veggies that love the sun and will thrive in the warmer months like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. So you remember which plants are which, reuse paddle pop sticks from your summer ice blocks to write the name of each vegetable!