Our environment is incredibly precious. And our precious little poppets are the ones who will look after this planet into the future. So teaching our children to look at the world through green coloured glasses as early as possible is not only good for the earth, it’s good for them as well.
In our increasingly urbanised world, where everything is so immediate, how do we get back to basics with our wee ones? We’ve scoured the web to find fun ways to talk to your kids about the environment and engage that rampaging curiosity in the wider world around us.
Why not take the opportunity this Earth Day or National Tree Day, or any day really, to talk green with your family. From re-using and recycling, to worm farming and indoor camping, we’ve found 14 ways to get back to nature and teach kids about the environment.
In the house
Where would we be without electricity? With the simple flick of a switch, we can flood a room with light. Currently, a lot of our electricity comes from finite resources, so flicking the switch off again is so so important. Make this hum drum task more fun by having an indoor camping night with candles (or torches). (via Century Tile)
Get your recycling game on
Help build lifelong recycling habits by – ta da! – turning it into a game. Throwing things straight in the bin is easy, but add some cute mini bins into the mix and it becomes a fun sorting game. Talk through the items with your kids and set them on the recycling path. (via Munchkins and Moms)
In the excitement of the birthday / Christmas present frenzy, the fate of all that paper can get lost. Save it up and bring it out another day for double the fun. There are so many things you can do with leftover paper. Collages! Paper chains! But we love this idea for paper making by Tinkerlab. A great sensory experience as well as an upcycling lesson.
Go small scale
We’ve dealt with paper, but what about food scraps? Bring the idea of composting to life with this mini version. Using a plastic bag means the breaking down process happens much more quickly (a reuseable air tight container would work well too) and your kids can observe the goings-on. (via CBC)
Lots of families enjoy a good steak, but growing that cow not only takes a lot of resources (especially water) but those gaseous beasts also contribute significantly to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with their frequent botty burps.
While we’re on the subject of food, consider growing your own. Learning where things come from is a great way to teach kids about the environment.
For those of us whose thumbs are not so green, this mini garden is a sure-fire way to gardening success. Plus when you “harvest” you can give your little egglings fancy haircuts! (via A Little Delightful)
In the garden
Grey is good
Before your bathing beauties pull the plug each night, make sure you fill a bottle – an everyday milk bottle will do – with their bathwater. A few holes in the lid and you have a makeshift watering can and a great way to chat about how precious water is. You can use greywater in your garden, just stick to non-edible plants. (via Make it & Love it)
Wandering into the garden is a great way to explore the wonderful way our ecosystem works. A simple lavender plant, which encourages buzzing bees to your garden, is your setting off point for discussions about the giant web of life we are a part of.
Take a subterranean turn and create a worm farm to continue your environmental chats with your own wriggly wonder. This great tutorial will have you gardening like a guru in no time. (via Playdough to Plato)
Plants with a quick payoff
Patience may be a virtue, but it is not necessarily characteristic of little people. While growing your own veggies is a great way to introduce environmental awareness, it can be a slow process.
Sugar snaps peas are a great way to start a veggie patch as they grow super quickly and your little gardeners will be harvesting before you know it. (via Whole Lifestyle Nutrition)
Organised events, like National Tree Day or Earth Day are another great entry point for discussing the environment. Whether you decide to create a native garden in your own backyard (great for attracting wildlife!) or join an organised event in the community, it is all good for us and for our planet. So don the gumboots, grab those spades and get digging.
That water that flows so conveniently out the tap seems to never end! Help your kiddos to understand where it comes from by making your own rain gauge and putting it in the garden.
Your munchkins will love checking on their watery bounty and it is a great way to discuss water awareness – those short showers will make so much more sense! (via The Imagination Tree)
Out and about
Get back to where it starts
While we don’t necessarily like to think about eating Babe or Shaun the Sheep, farming is a fact of life. Help your kids to understand where things come from by going beyond the supermarket and back to the source.
There are great urban farms to go to, like the Collingwood Children’s Farm and CERES Community Environment Park in Melbourne and Calmsley Hill and Golden Ridge Animal Farm just outside of Sydney. Start off slowly by talking about where milk and eggs come from.
On ya bike
Cars can be convenient – sometimes a little too convenient! So take the opportunity to ride a bike or take public transport where you can. There are just so many benefits – from fresh air to a bit of incidental exercise for mum and dad.
Not to mention kids loves bikes, buses and trains! And that’s before we even get to the benefits for our planet.