Childhood is a privileged time to create a new attitude of care, respect and sustainability of life on our planet. It is during that time that we learn to respect and care for the community of life.
It is beyond doubt that the best lesson for a kid is the example.
The example we set as parents is stronger than any words we might use to convince them of the importance of building a connection with nature and caring for the environment. Children mimic our behavior from an early age. If you recycle, save energy, have adopted strict water-saving practices and a healthy, organic diet, you would expect that they do the same. The better role model you are, the more you have embraced the idea of a healthy, natural, sustainable living, the more your child will be willing to follow your steps. The values we teach them will become the blueprint that defines their decisions and behavior in the future.
In addition, you can deliberately involve your kids in practices that will help them understand the relationship and co-dependency between all living species. This will include experiencing the natural world; learning how nature sustains life; nurturing healthy communities; recognizing the implications of the ways we feed and provision ourselves; and knowing well the places where we live, work and learn.
The earlier you start to explain sustainability and nurture respect and love towards Nature, the more permanent the results will be. Young children, even toddlers are capable of understanding those concepts if presented in a simple and fun way.
Follow several basic principles:
- Set an example!
- Provoke curiosity – children are very sensitive to all natural things like animals, trees, flowers, natural events like rain and snow, fog and rainbows. Start their journey by connecting them to nature, spend time outdoors and let them observe, provoke them to ask. They will.
- Make it fun – use stories or short animations to help children understand the importance of living a sustainable life, the value of Nature and the impact their actions have on other living beings. If you show them the world through a furry creature’s eyes, their empathetic nature will make them feel what’s right to do. And what is not.
- Get kids involved – create mini-projects – ask your young children for help in domestic tasks. Like, for example, to use their imagination and find a new purpose for objects that would otherwise go to the landfill. It could be plastic bottles, carton cups, old cases, boxes, clothes, even tires. They will come up with amazing ideas you could implement together. And they will also learn about recycling and repurposing, even understand the more complex concept of modern consumerism and cradle-to-cradle design.
How do you teach kids about recycling and Earth-friendly living? Read on for a few ideas! Children of all ages are like sponges – they soak up information and memories at an incredible rate. Our kids look to us to learn everything, from tying their shoes to learning to drive.
Sustainability is a funny word, it’s one of those that has only recently entered our everyday vocabulary and yet for many of us older wiser Mums and educators we recall practising ‘sustainability’ concepts and actions when we were kids or as in my case when we first began working with children.
More Ideas and Inspiration
If you set some time aside to look for ideas, you will surely find inspiration in the many well-illustrated practices, crafts, and games on the web that you can engage your kids in and teach them the importance of living a sustainable life. Here’s just a pinch of opportunities I’ve found:
Canada is a land of bears. People usually associate Canada with the Canada Goose, beavers and the moose…but we have a lot of bears here too. You can find black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears across Canada. Since polar bears primarily live in the northern most regions of Canada, it can be easy to forget about their habitat.
Teaching kids awareness of human impact on the environment and inspiring them to be a part of the solution is vital to our future on this planet. For this reason, we conducted a fun, hands-on activity that simulates an oil spill and challenges kids of all ages to clean up the simulated disaster and its effect on wildlife.
This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no cost to you. Note: This DIY Solar Oven is a kids activity for experimental purposes only. The oven DOES work but eat your solar-cooked food at your own risk.
CD weaving is a new process for us and we’re in LOVE. It’s easy, relaxing and produces beautiful results, that have so far inpsired funky CD Snails and now a Woven CD Hot Air Balloon. Kids love crafting with recyclable household materials and for me, this is what children’s craft should be all about.
Earth Day Crafts for Kids featuring recycled and upcycled items found around the home.