No matter where we’re from, we all want a world where our children will grow up happy, safe and healthy. And we hope for a future where they’ll continue to thrive. So it’s only natural that we want to do our best to create that world for them. They are the future, after all.
But the phrase ‘children are the future’ is doubly true when it comes to the future of this planet. After all, the effects of our daily lives both right now and later will continue to impact it and future generations to come. So it’s crucial we teach our children how to care for the world around them as they grow.
Even though saving the environment is a serious topic, it doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s how kids can help the environment in five fun ways.
- Go outdoors
Hearing second-hand about how beautiful our world is is one thing, but actually going out and seeing it with your own eyes is another. Taking the family out for a walk in the woods, or even just a picnic in the park on the grass, can help little ones connect with nature.
Get them to spot different plants, insects and animals, and teach them what they like to eat and why it’s important to look after them as well as ourselves. And don’t forget to add an environmentally-friendly clean-up protocol to end the day: make sure all rubbish is either put in the bin or packed away to throw away at home.
- Get growing
Growing produce at home is becoming more and more popular, and it’s a great way to bond with your kids as well as for them to learn about where food comes from. And, best of all, everyone gets to eat the results. Here are some easy fruit and veg for kids to grow at home.
Once your fruits and vegetables have grown, you can also make simple dishes together to get your kids into cooking and being mindful of food waste. Think salads and sandwiches to get younger ones used to mixing and putting things together, and (supervised) baking and stir-frying for the older ones.
You can also grow some bee-friendly flowers together. Not only do they help support the ecosystem, but also provide you with some beautiful blooms.
- Make recycling a game
When thinking about how to help save the environment at home, we often think about recycling first. But aside from knowing which bin to put which kind of waste in, recycling can also be a simple matter of reusing things around the house.
For example, old newspapers can be used for a papier-mâché project. Empty yoghurt pots can become seedling containers for your home-grown veggie project. A used plastic milk carton can be turned into a sprinkling watering can when you poke holes in the lid. An empty tissue box can be turned inside-out, stuck back together, and painted and decorated to become a trinket box. Take a look at household items you’d normally discard, and how your family can give them a second life.
- Support green businesses
While older kids start learning about how money works, why not lead by example and show them that supporting more environmentally-responsible businesses? That way you know your money’s being used for something worthwhile, and your children can learn that they’ll have some power over what kinds of organisations they spend their money with.
Choose ones that actively support green initiatives like Utility Warehouse. The trading name of Telecom Plus, they have a tree-planting programme where they plant a new tree for every new customer who takes three or more of their services. Their woodland is located on Bryn Arw in the Brecon Beacons, and it currently covers an area the size of roughly 73 Wembley Stadiums (and growing). Find out more about them here.
- Tell stories
Capture their imaginations with a great book. There are lots of both classic and new children’s books that both raise awareness about saving the environment and tell an amazing story. For example, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, and What A Waste by Jess French.
There are also a few children-friendly movies with a green message, like FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Wall-E, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Both are great, lighthearted ways to hold children’s attention while showing them the effects humans have on the planet, and what can be done to save it.