(for Children Ages 6-10)
Pesach is right around the corner and there’s loads of cleaning to do! Have the children in your class help their parents get ready for Passover by creating their own green cleaning supplies. Hopefully their little ones’ efforts at making these eco-friendly cleaners will encourage the adults to clean green this year!
Teachers/program leaders send out a notice to parents explaining this project, and asking for empty cleaner bottles. Explain the importance of cleaning the bottles extremely well before delivering them to school.
Choose which cleaning solutions you would like the children to make (or have the children choose). Purchase sufficient quantities of the ingredients so they are ready on the day of the activity.
With the children:
1. Introduce the activity by discussing how Pesach is coming, the first seder being on the evening of April 8, 2009, and that Jews everywhere need to clean up every crumb of chametz in their possession before that time. (For more information on what is chametz, visit http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/269152/jewish/1.-What-is-Chametz.htm.)
2. Explain that most of the time people buy commercially prepared cleaning solutions found at their local stores that contain potentially harmful chemicals. Many of these chemicals are harmful when people inhale them when cleaning their homes and are very dangerous if they are ingested. Since these chemicals enter the water supply as they go down the drain and are difficult to remove from the water, they are bad for the people who drink the water, the plants that rely on the water, and the fish that live in the water. (See Chemical Toxicology for more information on chemicals and the environment.)
3. One option is to compare the labels of commercially prepared cleaners with a list of the natural ingredients they will be using in their cleaners. Ask the children which ones they think are safer for people, animals, and the environment. Ask, “Why?” Answers may include: we eat some of them (lemon juice, oil); we use them to bake with (baking soda, vinegar); we use them on our skin (liquid soap).
4. Tell the children that they have the opportunity to help the environment (and themselves and other people) by making their own non-toxic cleaners with natural ingredients that are not harmful to people, animals or the environment.
5. Tell the children that they will be using empty cleaning bottles to use for their green cleaners so they will not be adding to the waste in landfills by buying new ones. (Perhaps discuss more about landfills and waste by showing pictures of landfills and doing further reading about waste.)
6. Tell the children that they will be decorating/re-labeling the re-used bottles, filling them with the cleaning solutions they make, and then giving them to their parents before Passover to use in their holiday cleaning.
7. Children decorate the bottles with labels, including their names and the new name for the cleaners. For example, “Shmueli’s Green Glass Cleaner.” The old name of the cleaner should be covered up. You can use large size mailing labels for this purpose and decorate them with crayons, markers and/or stickers.
8. Children make the cleaning solutions as a class, in small groups, or in pairs. The teacher/program leader should carefully pour the new cleaning liquid into the decorated bottle.
10. Have the parents pick up the green cleaners before Pesach to use in their pre-holiday cleaning. Do NOT give the cleaners to the children to take home, as this could be dangerous.
Many thanks to Rena Dubensky for suggesting this program, and to Stephanie Frumkin for preparing the write-up.