5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Sustainability
Photo by Antoni Shkraba
Those of us who strive to lead sustainable lifestyles usually want everyone else to share that same passion! That includes our own kids! But teaching children about big and complex ideas like environmentalism can feel impossible. There’s no way they’ll really get it, right?
The good news is that they don’t have to get it all right now! There are so many ways to begin to teach our kids about the world around them and how we can love it better. It all starts with celebrating everything the environment does for us!
Here are some practical ways to teach your kids about sustainability, so that you can raise little Earth lovers too!
Read Children's Books About the Earth
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but reading children’s books about the environment is a great way to teach kids about sustainability! Our little ones love to hear stories to let their imaginations run wild. So why not take advantage of this stage to teach them a little about our planet? Books such as The Life of a Little Cardboard Box or The Lorax help break down big ideas about our impact on the environment in a way that’s both fun and engaging for kids. Bonus points for the books with fun pictures!
Lead by Example (& talk about it!)
Kids love to copy those around them, so our little habits can go a long way in teaching them! From simply switching off the lights when you leave a room to turning off the running sink water while you brush your teeth our children may also pick up these consistent mannerisms. These moments can also be great teaching opportunities to explain the reasoning behind such sustainable practices. You can talk with your kids about how there isn’t an endless supply of water and electricity which is why it’s kind to only take what we need.
Our kids are our future environmental protectors! So it’s our job to give them a reason to love the Earth– and the best way to do this is to get them outside. Go for a short hike, have a picnic at the park, take a trip to the beach, or collect a bouquet of wildflowers. Nature is so stimulating for our kids’ minds and the fresh air is good for their lungs! When kids develop a love for the outdoors this will cultivate their own compassion for the Earth.
Separate the Recycling Together
Another way to teach kids about sustainability is to practice the chore of recycling together! Instead of just always separating the recycling yourself, take the time to show your children how it works. Show and tell them the difference between plastic, paper, and glass. Then have them separate your household waste together! If your kids are super into it you can even create recycling bin labels to put on your different waste bins. Not only is this a fun activity to keep your kiddos busy but it also instills a practical skill in them from a young age!
Get Crafty with Homemade Art Projects
If your kids are anything like mine then they love to work with their hands! Art and crafts projects are a great way to keep our little ones busy and can also be a sustainable teaching tool. Instead of buying a bunch of new art supplies at the store, challenge your kids to be creative with what you already have at home. You can have your kids make little characters with leftover toilet paper rolls and pipe cleaners, or paint stones to create their own pet rocks! Simply by empowering your kids' imaginations you’d be surprised what they can come up with.
You don’t have to be an environmental expert to begin teaching your kids about the basics of sustainability! Try out one of these simple activities and watch how your children learn to care for the planet on their own.