Teaching kids about their environmentOctober 10, 2016
As the inheritors of our planet, kids have the biggest stake of all in preserving local and global habitats. They tend to respond better to playful, absorbing learning methods rather than lecture-style teaching, so making planet-friendly choices part of your life can have a huge impact!
Here are a few simple yet absorbing ways to teach them about their environment; from waste prevention to global warming for kids.
Get stuck in
Kids tend to learn most about the environment by interacting with it, so get out to your local park or woodland and enjoy those muddy puddles! Activities like spotting woodlice, birds or bats (best tried at twilight) make for a great day out, along with simple sensory experiences like the feel of different bark on the trees. Bring along a magnifying glass so that they can investigate up close for themselves.
While you’re outdoors, you can talk about what you’re seeing: robins are especially curious animals, for example, while ants can lift 20 times their own bodyweight. Then, they can draw or write a story about what they remember once you get home. Going on a local nature walk lead by someone who’s devoted their life to studying wildlife is another hugely enlightening option, and not just for kids!
Learning the basics of waste prevention can start at a very young age. Ever noticed how kids are often more excited by playing with a cardboard box than the toy inside? Encourage this love of creative play by saving (clean) food and drink containers, loo rolls and even old scraps of curtain or carpet. These materials can be transformed again and again into spaceships, ancient tombs, jungles; their imagination is the limit! Ask older kids to help you sort through anything they don’t use for the recycling, giving them an idea of how recycling works practically.
Planting edible plants and herbs in the back garden is another easy (and delicious) way to prevent waste and bring food to the table with zero air miles and no packaging! To nurture their fledgling plants, challenge kids to collect scraps like vegetable peelings and coffee grounds to make a compost heap, which will miraculously convert kitchen waste to spongy soil!
Although a frequently contested topic, NASA’s latest figures show temperatures rising and arctic ice decreasing by 13.4% each decade, impacting habitats across the world. Most kids will have heard about global warming from one source or another, but they could be confused about what it actually is.
Talk the issue through with them, with the help of a global warming for kids guide or just your own knowledge. When it comes to talking through global warming for kids, it can help to focus on positive actions like deciding to walk or cycle more often. You may even want to involve them in big discussions about your own lifestyle choices, whether you’re thinking of buying a greener car or taking a train rather than a plane for your next holiday