Your Cottage

Do you have a “footprint”?

Next time you’re walking in the sand, look behind you. Can you see your footprints?

Have you ever thought that YOU are also a footprint on the Earth?

Every one of us uses a certain amount of water, land and resources from the Earth and the amount we use, together with the amount of waste we give back, is called our “Human Footprint”.

Now… put that together with everyone in your family and their footprints. It’s easy to see that our footprint is HUGE!

Today, there are approximately 6,841,000,000 people on the planet – that’s a LOT of footprints!

Cutting trees to build homes and furniture, taking minerals from underground to make cars and trucks, taking water from the lake so we have water to drink and using more gas than we actually need (which won’t last forever!) are examples of how we are taking things from the Earth that the Earth can’t re-create fast enough, if ever!

Put that together with all of our landfills, the pollution going into our rivers and lakes and you have a very large human footprint on the Earth. The more people with more footprints on our Earth makes it hard for nature to “recharge” and find a way to handle them all.

Hold a GREEN Birthday Party!

Do you help plan your birthday party? Sometimes, we end up with lots of plastic cups, forks and plates in the garbage and that’s all going to have to go to the landfill somewhere! Add all the packaging and wrapping from your birthday gifts and that’s A LOT of garbage! Why not try having a green party – tell your friends ahead of time so they can help out with making your green birthday party a success!

Here’s some tips to keep it green:

  • Send out evites (email, facebook, texts) instead of paper invitations.
  • Use real silverware, or reuse plastic ones.
  • Use real or biodegradeable plates and cups.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Instead of having cheap plastic party favors for everyone, be creative and give something that you made, like homemade crayons (see the recipe for Crazy Crayons, or that will be useful, like pencils.
  • Host a party outside and enjoy the day without depending on games that you have to buy at the store – go to the beach, the park, the pool or play games like tag and hide-and-seek
  • Prevent all the waste involved in receiving gifts (do you really need more STUFF anyway?) – why not tell your friends that instead of bringing gifts, they could donate money to their favourite charity or bring their donation to the party and you can take the total donation to a charity YOU choose – you’ll feel good about it and the charity will really appreciate it

Crazy Crayons

Material from (

Heat makes a crayon a little “crazy”; it may melt into a swirl or pool into a whirl. With this in mind, Martha chopped up crayons and baked them in shaped mini cake tins, making large blocks that are easy for toddlers to hold and fun for all ages. Encourage kids to come up with combinations: try a blue-and-white blend for drawing the sky, or a mix of reds and oranges for sunsets.

Tools and Materials

  • Kitchen knife
  • Old crayons
  • Mini-cake tins (e.g. pans with heart- and circle-shaped pockets)

Crayon How-To

  1. Parents can use the knife to chop crayons into pea-size pieces, taking care to keep colors separate so kids can combine them as they like.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees while children fill the tin with crayon pieces, arranging them in interesting designs.
  3. Bake just until the waxes have melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the shapes after they have cooled. If they stick, place tray in the freezer for an hour, and the crayons will pop out.