In the words of Whitney Houston, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” And that’s especially true when it comes to the environment and looking after our planet. The responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as making sure we keep our environment clean and tidy is something I’ve been teaching my three children since they were little.
With this in mind we were excited to be invited to the centre’s very first RDC Eco Kids event, as part of our role as official family blogger ambassadors for The Red Dragon Centre.
The free half term event saw three incredible local organisations – play services association Recreate Play, environmental education organisation Eggseeds, and the Pedal Emporium which creates pedal power bicycle generators to raise awareness of cycling and sustainability – come together to create an upcycling plastic waste workshop and pedal power challenge as part of Plastic Awareness Day.
RDC Eco Kids is part of The Red Dragon Centre’s wider commitment to addressing the critical environmental challenges that face our planet today. Not only are its venues, restaurants and coffee shops taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint, but the centre wants to inspire, educate and support the younger generation too. RDC Eco Kids will see a series of learning activities running at the centre throughout the year, encouraging families to think about environmental issues in fun and challenging ways.
Our day started with a challenge from Recreate to make a boat from materials sourced by its Scrapstore. This collects waste material from over 50 firms from across South Wales which is then re-used by over 90,000 children and young people through their network of member groups (over 8000) and events such as this one.
I was impressed at my children’s creativity when it came to the boats. My six year old son Little Man O went for a highly practical design saying that he didn’t want to use too much material because it needed to be light enough to float. Little Miss E age eight went for pink ribbons and fake green plants to accessorise hers. Four-year-old Littlest Boy I created something that was quirky and eccentric rather than practical with a spray nozzle the focal point of his boat.
We then took our boats outside to race them on a pond constructed especially for the day by Eggseeds and Pedal Emporium. The children had to power their boats by pedalling as fast as they could with the energy from the bikes creating ripples and waves in the water that got the boats moving. Musical accompaniment came from the disco bike which uses pedalling to power the tunes.
We also got to meet Echo the Eco Dragon who is currently outside the Red Dragon Centre. He was created by Eggseeds and a team of volunteers and participants from the Pentrebane Zone community project. Made entirely from recycled materials he was certainly popuylar with the children visiting today and makes a great climbing frame obstacle course.
We were also treated to lunch thanks to Spice Route whose all you can eat lunchtime buffet offers great value for families at £7.95 for adults and £4.95 for children Monday to Thursday and £8.95/£5.95 Friday to Monday.
The self-service buffet is great for hungry children because you don’t have to wait for your food to be served; you can just help yourself. I always find my children try new things here because they just can have a small amount rather than any pressure to order a full dish of something they may not like.
Their favourite part is choosing their own noodles and vegetables to be stir-fried right in front of their eyes. The chef turns up the heat and lets the flames rage high much to my children’s amazement.
“He’s breathing fire just like a dragon,” my six year old said.
“A Red Dragon!” his sister added.