As parents and adults, it's our responsibility to teach the younger generation about sustainability. Kids are naturally curious and have a strong desire to learn new things, so why not use this to your advantage?
After all, sustainability is a very important topic that all of us should be concerned with. Keeping the planet healthy is something everyone can do by being aware of their actions and choices. Here are some activities you can try out with kids to help them understand how to live sustainably:
1. Teach kids how to recycle
Recycling is one of the basic ways to keep Mother Earth in good shape. In fact, more and more people have been recycling since it's becoming easier to do so. Recycling cans, bottles, paper, plastic, and even furniture is just part of what we need to do as individuals to mitigate our carbon emissions.
One way to get started on teaching kids about recycling is to start at home. As they grow up, show them how to separate recyclables into different categories and explain to them why these materials are valuable when recycled. This can create a habit that will last throughout their lives.
2. Take them on nature walks or hikes
A great way to teach kids about sustainability is by taking them on a nature walk or hike. You don't have to go far to find a beautiful place where you can take them. During the walk, take time to talk to them about the plants around them and the animals that live there. Ask them questions about the environment and what they see around them. These conversations will allow them to develop their own opinions and ideas about sustainability.
3. Let them help you garden
Gardening isn't only for adults anymore. It's a fun hobby that children can enjoy too! Gardening teaches kids about planting seeds, caring for plants, and growing food. If you're looking for a project to involve both of you, consider planting vegetables together. Let them choose which ones they'd like to grow. Then, after the veggies sprout, you can cook meals together using the produce from your garden. This activity encourages children to eat sustainably and makes them appreciate the work involved in growing food.
4. Start a compost pile
Composting is another simple way to reduce waste and increase sustainability. Composting allows organic material to decompose without emitting harmful gases such as methane. Instead of throwing away food scraps, you can turn them into fertilizer for your garden.
To encourage your child to participate in this process, ask him or her to collect items like eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, apple cores, and orange rinds. When they've collected enough, put everything into a large container and add water until it's moistened. Then, cover the container with a lid and wait for it to begin breaking down. Once it's finished, you'll have fresh compost to use in your garden.
5. Take them shopping at local markets
Taking your kids with you to the local market promotes sustainability by encouraging them to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Local farmers know exactly what needs to be done to ensure that their crops grow well. They also understand that the environment plays a huge role in the success of their business. By buying products that were grown nearby, you and your kids are supporting sustainable agriculture.
When shopping, let your kids talk to the farmers who grow their own produce so they can learn more about where their food comes from. This will give them a greater appreciation for the hard work that goes into producing healthy foods.
6. Watch documentaries and read books with them
Another fun yet educational way to teach kids about environmental issues is by watching documentaries and reading books about sustainability with them. A visual medium like television or film can provide a deeper understanding of things that you can't see firsthand.
For example, if you watch a documentary about how plastic affects our oceans, then your child might become interested in learning more about ocean pollution. He or she may even decide to volunteer at an aquarium or marine conservation centre to help with the issue.
Reading books is another great way to educate children about sustainability because they can relate to the characters and situations on the pages. One of the most popular children's books about climate change is The Lorax, written by Dr. Seuss. It's a creative way to get your child excited about the topic and make sure he or she understands why it's important to take care of the Earth.
The Bottom Line
Sustainable living is all about making conscious decisions regarding everyday life choices. Adults have the power to influence our children’s behaviour and attitudes towards the world around them. As such, we can show them how to live responsibly by setting good examples and teaching them to respect nature.
Specially written for le bébé Blog by Katie Pierce.