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Eco-island: Scrapheap Barrens activity 4

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To reduce packaging by making homemade cleaning products

Key Stage 1

Curriculum links: Sc1 2a-g. Geography 5b.

What to do: Investigate with the children how many bottles and boxes of cleaning products their families buy each week. All the product packaging ends up being thrown away. Offer some alternative ideas to buying cleaning products from the shops. You may find that if you ask parents for suggestions on how to clean using natural sources and materials, many weird and wonderful ideas may be offered. You can have a lot of fun trying out the different ideas.

To get started, try making a natural shampoo from a mixture of avocado pear and baking soda. You can also make a hair conditioner from avocado pear and mayonnaise. Egg yolk, too, is very good for leaving hair beautifully soft. Ask for volunteers to try some of these ideas at school (gain parental permission first of course and check for allergies).

Try making a household cleaner from a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. See if you can test it in the school kitchen or lunch hall. How effective is the homemade cleaner? Ask for the opinions of the lunch staff. Does it work as well as the cleaner they normally use? Try out any other forthcoming suggestions from parents and record the results. Which homemade cleaners were the best?

Key Stage 2

Curriculum links: Sc1 2a-d; Geography 5a-b.

What to do: Investigate with the children how many bottles and boxes of cleaning products their families buy each week. Elicit that all the product packaging ends up being thrown away. Offer some alternative ideas to buying cleaning products from the shops. You may find that if you ask parents for suggestions on how to clean using natural sources and materials, many weird and wonderful ideas will be offered. Collect all these ideas together and ask the children to discuss and decide on which ones they would like to try. They can also predict which ones they think will work better than others.

Try making a household cleaner from a mixture of vinegar and baking soda or room fresheners with hot water and lemon or lavender. See if you can test the products around the school. Discuss ways in which the tests can be made fair. How effective are the home made products? Ask for the opinions of other children, teachers, cleaning and cooking staff. Do they work as well as the products they normally use? Try out any other forthcoming suggestions from parents and record your results. Which homemade cleaners are the best?

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