Are you a parent or an educator looking for fun and engaging ways to teach young children about sustainability and caring for the environment, but not quite sure where to begin? Then you are definitely not alone. But keep in mind that teaching young children about being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be dull. In fact, there are many interesting and creative ways to present these important topics to young children.
Teaching young children about sustainability can be interesting and fun! So let’s explore some strategies we can use to teach this very important topic to young children that will inspire them to grow up to be responsible caretakers of our precious planet.
Why Is Teaching Young Children About Sustainability So Important?
Before we jump into looking at some methods for teaching sustainability to young children and how we can incorporate eco-friendly practices into our daily routine. Firstly we need to explore why this education is so necessary.
Young children are the green guardians of the future! Therefore it is vital that they understand how important it is to care for and protect the environment.
In addition, teaching young children about sustainability has many learning and developmental benefits. For example, it teaches children a sense of responsibility as well as self-awareness. It fosters empathy and understanding of how their actions impact others and the world around them.
Furthermore, teaching sustainability at a young age will ingrain positive practices and values that they will carry right through until they are adults. Introducing young children to sustainability will ensure that they will grow up to be a mindful and responsible generation of people who will actively preserve the earth for the future.
How To Teach Children About Sustainability
Explore Nature Together
Exploring nature together is one of the simplest and most practical ways to present sustainability to young children. Spend some quality time exploring nature together! Go on a fun nature walk and talk about all the different plants, animals and insects you can spot. This will encourage lots of discussions about the importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems.
Incorporate Sustainable Practices Into Everday Routines
Incorporating sustainable practices into every day routines is a very effective way of teaching young children about sustainability. Encourage your children to do simple yet important things like
- Turn off lights whenever possible.
- Switch off electronics if they are not being used.
- Teach them to open the blinds and curtains to use natural light as much as possible.
- Don’t waste water by making sure to turn the tap off when your children are brushing their teeth.
- Encourage children to take shorter showers.
All of these suggestions are small yet they can make a big impact on the environment. Don’t forget to have lots of conversations with your children about why doing these things is so important. And how these everyday practices will help to look after our natural resources.
Use Environmentally Friendly Products
Using environmentally products is yet another fantastic way of teaching children about sustainability. Talk to them about why it is important to use reusable water bottles and food containers. Pack them a sustainable lunch box every day for preschool or school. And teach them to recycle whenever possible.
Be A Good Role Model
Children learn more from what we do than what we say. And they are always watching! So don’t forget to be a good role model and make sustainable choices. For example, take your own shopping bags every time that you go to the supermarket. Make a conscious effort to not buy unnecessarily packaged food. Perhaps visit a local farmers market and let them help you choose fresh fruit and vegetables. Let them see that food doesn’t have to come out of a plastic wrapper.
Plant A Garden
Young children love to get their hands dirty and explore. That’s why planting a garden is such a great way to teach them about the importance of growing their own food. Children love to care for the plants by watering them and they are absolutely fascinated when they can see plants growing and producing food. When it comes time to harvest their food. The excitement on their faces is such a joy to watch! And it’s amazing to see them be so willing to taste fruits and vegetables that they have grown themselves.
Have A Worm Farm
Another fun way to teach children about sustainability is to keep a worm farm. Children can learn all about the benefits of composting and the natural process of decomposition. Furthermore, children will gain an appreciation of the amazing role that worms have in our ecosystem.
Looking after a worm farm can also spark lots of conversation about the importance of reducing food waste and how food waste can be repurposed instead of going into a landfill. Children will also really enjoy looking after a worm farm and they will be amazed to see how fast the worms manage to chomp through food scraps to produce nutrient-rich soil
Use Natural Materials
Children can be incredibly persistent about wanting to buy toys. But try hard not to give in to pester power. And instead of buying expensive plastic toys that will keep them entertained for a short amount of time. Why not use natural materials like clay, cardboard boxes, old magazines or fabric? This is much more sustainable and the added bonus is that they will spend hours using their creativity and imagination.
Make Recycling Fun And Engaging
To make learning about recycling engaging you could try some fun games and crafts. Make your own matching games or create an art project using only recycled materials.
Teaching children about sustainability can be a lot of fun. Engaging in activities like exploring nature, using eco-friendly products, embracing sustainable practices in everyday life and being a positive role model. You can nurture and instil in your child a real passion and respect for the environment that will last a lifetime.