In our world today we have many environmental issues. When we begin to teach the importance of our world to our children we have taken the first step in helping create a healthier world. For many of us learning about the issues is not enough and often too much for young children to understand so we need to create a connection with nature. Our children are the future; what they believe they will create. It is a passion of mine to send my children out into the world with an understanding of how important it is to take care of our environment. So where to begin? What will they understand? Don’t stress about that, just start with something. There are many ways to teach children about our environment and create a connection with nature.
Here are 10 Ways to Raise Eco-Friendly Children
- Create a Garden! This can be flowers, vegetables, herbs…whatever you choose. Have the little ones help with planting seeds, watering and caring for the garden. This teaches them about the beauty that comes from our world and connects them with nature while they’re getting dirty and exploring.
- Take a hike. It can be a short hike. It can be a walk outside. Point out all the animals or plants you spot. This shows them nature surrounds us.
- Use reusable grocery and shopping bags. And when asked, explain why you use them instead of plastic bags. This shows that it is important for us to protect our environment.
- Make recycling a family thing. Ask the children where that goes, the trash or recycling. If they don’t know explain why it goes in either place. This gives them the ability to understand and begin to be proactive themselves. Giving them the power to make the choice. ( Children usually like to be independent so they will enjoy this)
- Compost! I know this may seem like work, but it’s really not so bad. You can have a Kitchen Compost Bin that goes to an Outside Compost Bin when full (look at your local home store for an outside bin). Fruit &veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds can all go into a compost bin. This will teach them to give back to the environment and not to waste useable goods. A big plus is that the compost can be used for you garden and you don’t need to buy soil.
- Take them to a local farm and/or nature center. Let them explore how humans, animals, and plants/trees all work together. This teaches them that we are all interconnected and what we do effects the world we live in. Also bonds them with nature.
- Read books about nature and the environment. Such as…
- The Lorax – this is a great story of how what we do affects our world. It is also a movie
- One Tree (Green Start)- IKIDS, made with recycled materials
- Michael Recycle – Ellie Bethel
- Our Big Home – Linda Glaser
- The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge- Joanna Cole
- 365 Ways to Live Green for Kids – Sheri Amsel
- Even when it is cold out explore nature. Try out some fun eco-websites with games and adventures for children.
- Have Educational Earth Movies for Rainy or sick days. Yes you want to get out in nature as often as possible. There are also many parts of the world that children may not get to see and these educational movies allow them to see the whole picture.
- Disney's Earth
- Disney's Oceans
- Any of the Disney Nature Movies
- Dr. Seuss' The Lorax – Not Documentary Educational, it has a powerful message though
- Ferngully - The Last Rainforest – Again this cartoon has a powerful message even if it is not Documentary Educational.
- Show them how important a healthy world/environment is to you. Children look up to us as parents/caregivers and think we can do no wrong. So everything we do is teaching them.
Let’s begin to raise Eco-friendly Children and help to create a better future. What is important to them is what will be important to future generations. Teach them all you can!
PS Stay Green!
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