15 (out of 101) small ways to change the world
It’s hard to believe that one child could change one habit that eventually changes the world, but it’s true! All big ideas start with just one person who decided to do things differently. You could be that person.
Here are just a few ways that small actions can make a big difference, inspired by our new book 101 Small Ways to Change the World.
Caring for others
A smile is the universal symbol of kindness. When you smile, it actually makes you feel good even if you’ve been feeling down. And have you ever noticed that it’s contagious? Try it! Smile at someone in the hallway and see what happens.
Give a compliment
Tell a friend exactly what makes them great – just because! You don’t need an excuse to remind someone why you think they’re awesome. Write them a note or, even better, give them a compliment in person. It will make their day.
Take on some chores
Ugh, chores. They’re not fun but they have to be done! It’s not fair if your parents do all the chores, right? Offer to help tackle some of these boring daily duties like laundry, dirty dishes, bin duty and making the beds. Sit down with your family and create a list of all the chores that need to be done each week. Then assign certain chores to each family member and put up the list in a place you can all see it. Teamwork works!
Donate your old stuff to younger kids
Look around your room. Is there a toy, book, stuffed animal or piece of clothing that you haven’t used in more than a year? It might be time to let it go. Instead of letting it sit unused, that item could be used and loved by someone else. Wouldn’t that make you feel good?
Donate items to charity shops, local libraries or children’s groups, or organisations that help families in need. Or just pass them on to some younger kids you know.
Your community is just a snapshot of the diverse world you live in. And it’s the perfect way to learn more about some of the people and cultures around the globe. Our differences make us interesting!
Do you know of a family in your neighbourhood, or a classmate at school, that’s different from you? Maybe they are from a different country, speak another language or celebrate different holidays. Ask them about these things! In addition to all the interesting differences, you may find you have a lot of similarities, too.
Caring for the planet
Turn it off and you’ve saved electricity, right? Wrong. When something is plugged in, electricity is being used – regardless of whether the switch is on or off. In fact, 75% of an appliance’s energy usage is when it is turned off. Some people call this 'vampire energy’.
A phone only needs a few watts of energy to charge. But those watts add up – the average home in the UK uses nearly 5000 kilowatt hours per year! Save electricity by unplugging small appliances when they’re not in use.
Pick up litter
Litter is any kind of rubbish that is dropped on the ground instead of placed in a bin. Cigarette butts, fizzy drink cans, plastic bags and gum wrappers are common pieces of litter. Invite some friends to help clean up your neighbourhood, local park or beach. All you need is some bin bags and some rubber gloves, and you can make a big difference. Every piece you pick up helps!
Bring reusable containers to school each day
The average person in the USA, UK and Australia creates around 2kg (4.4lbs) of rubbish a day. An easy way to reduce this is to create a garbage-free lunch. Taking your lunch to school in a reusable lunch box is a great start. And, if you avoid plastic by using a stainless steel container, this is even better for the environment.
Host a swap with your friends
Have you ever really wanted something that your friend has? Well, maybe they’ll trade you for it! Swaps are a really fun way to get 'new' stuff without spending any money – and more importantly, it’s great for the environment because you’re not buying anything new, and you’re not throwing anything away.
Plant a tree
About 15 billion trees are cut down each year around the world. Luckily, there is one simple way we can help counteract the effects of deforestation – plant a tree!
There are many places you can plant a tree: your garden, a neighbourhood park, a community garden or your school. (Always ask for permission before planting anything.) Visit a local nursery or garden centre to purchase seedlings or a small tree. An adult can help you safely dig a hole and care for the tree as it grows.
Caring for yourself
Did you know that we need the sun to survive? It’s true! Without it plants can’t grow, we would be shivering from the cold, and we wouldn’t have enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D makes our bones strong. Some people even say that sunlight makes us happier. Really! A daily dose of sunshine is just as important as brushing your teeth. Make sure you get outside every day.
You’ve heard it before: it’s the most important meal of the day! Then why do so many people skip breakfast? It’s because mornings are rushed, and people are often running late. But breakfast is so important that it’s worth getting up 15 minutes earlier for a filling meal.
Did you know that an adult human is made up of about 60% water? Your body needs water to survive, but your body also loses water every day – like when you sweat. The more active you are, the thirstier you get, right?
So while it’s important to drink water every day, it’s especially important to drink it when you’re running around. The water you drink will replace the water you lose. Kids need at least five cups of water per day. And drinking fizzy drinks or tea doesn’t count – sugar and caffeine actually dehydrate your body instead of rehydrating it.
Do something that makes you scared
You never know until you try. That’s how the saying goes! You can probably already think of at least one example when this was true in your life. Sure, stepping out of your comfort zone is scary, but it’s also exciting. Instead of being afraid that you’ll fail, be proud of yourself for taking a chance.
When was the last time you thought about breathing? It’s so automatic that you probably don’t even notice you are doing it. But breathing deeply can help you feel calm and relaxed, especially if you are stressed out.
When you’re nervous or scared, you breathe faster than usual and you may even hold your breath. Try calming yourself down by changing your breathing. Breathe in deeply while counting to three, then breathe out deeply while counting to three. Repeat this a few times until you feel better.
101 Small Ways to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond! Remember, all big ideas start with just one person who decides to do things differently. You could be that person.