4 Ideas To Encourage Environmental Awareness In Your Kids
by Kerry Finch ■ Updated: July 24, 2019
We may not be certain about what the future holds. But one concern that is a certainty is climate change.
The climate parents lived in as children will not be the same our children and grandchildren experience.
What is even more of a worry is that children have become increasingly disconnected from nature due to the pressures of school performance, extracurricular activities, and of course, technology.
Spending less time digging in the dirt and playing with earthworms can lead to less care unless parents are diligent in their efforts to encourage their children to become environmentally aware.
There are some simple steps every family can do to help guide this along.
- Using canvas totes rather than choosing plastic bags from the supermarket is one way.
- Recycling plastic and glass as well as composting are other easy-to-adopt options.
If you’re interested in expanding your child’s environmental awareness, below are some ideas you can explore to help encourage your kids – and yourself – to be more “green”:
Idea 1: Have Them Play More Outside
Most adults can relate to almost literally being tossed out of the house as kids and told not to come home until dinner was on the table.
Children of the 21st century, however, live a very different lifestyle.
Apps on smartphones have replaced climbing trees, and the level of skill needed to skip rocks across ponds is no longer nearly as admirable as a high score in a video game.
But all of this can be reversed.
Children no longer understand what it means to enjoy the great outdoors. When your family enjoys some much-needed downtime, take it outside and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.
- Unstructured play outdoors (whether at a playground or out in the wild)
- Gardening (planting vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the ground or containers on balconies and patios)
- Bringing nature home (picking wildflowers or collecting branches and rocks)
- Supporting nature (planting wildflowers, filling up a bird feeder, or building an “insect home” for bees and other bugs)
Idea 2: Turn Them Into Water and Energy Monitors
Children love to have jobs that can make a big impact.
Having them responsible for monitoring energy and water usage teaches them to be independent as well as responsible not only for a task but for the environment.
If you have more than one child in the home, designate a different child each week for being sure that all unnecessary light fixtures, appliances, and technologies are turned off or unplugged prior to you all departing for the day or at bedtime.
Help them create a checklist that they can record their activities and results.
Children can also be taught how to better conserve water, such as watering plants with leftover water from cups and water bottles, or your family can invest in a rain barrel to water your vegetable garden.
Idea 3: Get Them Involved in the Community
Earlier this year the “#trashtag” challenge inspired people from all over the globe to pick up a garbage bag and to start picking up the litter which was destroying otherwise beautiful environments.
As of March 2019, there were more than 74,000 posts on Instagram featuring individuals and communities coming together to improve their local parks, beaches, and roads.
Communities regularly host events which encourage cleaning up environments, supporting local flora and fauna, and how to help wildlife exist and survive in an increasingly urbanised world.
Partaking in these events with your children will raise their awareness of these issues while connecting them with integral people involved in these endeavours.
Idea 4: Help Them Become Alternative Energy Ambassadors
In order to have the greatest impact on our future communities, we have to re-think how we are performing current daily tasks.
Coal is a well-known scourge on our environment, and poisonous petrol is destroying our air quality and is becoming increasingly unaffordable to many.
It’s time for us to look towards alternative energy sources to fuel our 21st-century lives.
As we at CoolThings Australia have seen first-hand, preschoolers can start to explore and experiment with alternative ways to obtain and create energy (like the classic potato clock which converts chemical energy into electrical energy).
This is one of the reasons why the Crooke’s Radiometer is on the top of our educational list and gift list for parents. This airtight glass bulb allows young explorers to learn the principles of thermodynamics and opens their minds to the possibilities of how this can be applied in real life situations.
Another popular gift item is our Air Power Engine Car Kit. This kit teaches children that petrol and gas aren’t the only means of powering a car – air can, too! We love this kit because it broadens the possibilities of what naturally occurring resources we can use to support our current lifestyles without hurting or harming the environment.
Involving your children in environmental awareness will go a long way in encouraging them to think about how they themselves can make a difference in the world they live in.
Be encouraged to explore and use these ideas as a springboard to challenge your children to come up with new ways to “go green”.