8 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Environmental Awareness
There’s no better place to start environmental advocacy than at home. Teaching your kids how to properly respect the environment doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be a great way to involve the entire family and have some fun. The more you show your children how to properly care for the Earth, the more aware they will be about how their actions affect the environment. If you’re not sure where to start, these tips can help you get started.
Start a Vegetable Garden
One of the best ways to get kids to appreciate nature is by growing some vegetables. This is a great way to show them exactly where their food comes from. Not only that, but it gives them an appreciation for the finished product after seeing how much time and effort it takes to grow something. You might also want to brush up on your basic biology so you can explain the different parts of the plants and the role animals and insects have in helping these plants grow in the wild.
Ride a Bike around Town
Instead of taking your car around town, why not take a bike ride for your next family outing. It’s a great way to get some exercise and do a little exploration and awaken their eco-consciousness . Plus it gets the whole family outside of the house and off screens. Make sure to pack some snacks and water for the road. Seeing the beauty of nature and actually experiencing it is a simple, yet great way to get kids to appreciate nature a bit more.
Make a Fun Project out of Scrap Paper
If you’re like most people, you likely have a stash of newspapers, magazines and other miscellaneous pieces of paper around your house. While you can certainly teach your children a good lesson on recycling, why not figure out ways you can reuse that paper? Old newspapers are perfect for paper mache projects and cardboard boxes are great for forts, toy stoves and even make shift desk. Simple things like this show your kids that even things that might seem like “junk” have usefulness beyond their current form.
Attract Bees to Your Garden
Colony Collapse Disorder among bees is a serious issue and bee numbers are hitting all-time lows around the world. Get the bee population back on track by planting some clovers in your garden. Not only do bees love it, it also provides a soft ground cover for your kids to play on. If you want to go a step further, go to your local apiary and see if the beekeeper will install a small hive on your property. This might not be the best option for those who have serious allergies or very young children. Either way, it’s a good opportunity to teach your children about the interdependence of all living creatures.
Have a Clothes Swap Party
You’ll need other like-minded parents involved, but this is a great way for your kid to get new clothes without actually spending anything. Have all of the parents bring one or two articles of clothes to the party and then have the kids “shop” for new clothes. It’s a great way to reduce overall consumption and also shows kids that they don’t need new clothes.
Kids naturally want to help out with the cooking so why not let them? Have them accompany you to places like the farmer’s market to meet the farmers behind the food. Let your kids ask questions (so long as it doesn’t interrupt with their work) and then have them pick out some fruits and vegetables for the meal. Once that’s done, allow them to cut up the vegetables if they’re old enough. If they’re still too young, you can let them watch as you do the preparations and then allow them to add in the ingredients. Cooking together is a great way to bond with your child and improves their appreciation for the ingredients themselves.
Start a Compost Bin
Up to 30 percent of household waste can get tossed into a compost bin. Take the time to identify with your child what you can and cannot compost and then put it in your bin. Encourage your child to do it on their own once they understand what items are acceptable and what are not. Besides teaching your child to reduce waste, a compost bin is also an excellent opportunity to discuss how the process actually works and the importance of organisms like bacteria and worms.
Celebrate Earth Day
Although you should be celebrating the Earth every day, Earth Day is a great way to expand upon your child’s knowledge as many towns and cities have their own event. If not, you can always organize and Earth Day event yourself. There are plenty of activities for children whether it’s a play or an activity to separate recyclable materials from non-recyclable ones. Plus, it’s fun for the whole family.
Of course, the best way to get your child to be more eco-conscious is by setting a good example. Make sure you are doing your best to reduce your own negative impact on the Earth. By doing so, your child will understand how important the Earth is to you and will follow your lead. By the time they become adults themselves being eco-conscious will hopefully be second nature to them like it is for you.