It’s more important than ever to get children aware of our impact on the environment. Schools often touch on various aspects of environmental education but with budgets stretched and curriculums to cover it’s a great idea to get children interested in the environment through their normal lives. We’ll cover some of the ways you can do this below.
Make it Fun
Possibly the most important and easiest way to get children interested in saving the planet is to make it fun!
Maybe you could get children involved in recycling and have them decorate your recycling bins in different ways (‘feeding’ some kind of creature is always a winner with younger children!). Singing a song or doing a funny dance can all add to the fun of otherwise fairly mundane tasks!
Lots of charities have educational activity packs that children can do either on their own or with their families. Friends of the Earth have activity packs for kids on their website doing a variety of activities.
Getting creative about how you could recycle various single-use items to repurpose them for crafting or making gifts is another fun way to get kids thinking about the Reduce Reuse Recycle ethos which is one of the easiest ways we can all make a difference.
If your child likes to play games on a phone or tablet then make it worthwhile with something like Earth Cubs which has won awards in 2021 for free or open digital resources! With apps like these children are learning without realising!
Inspiring Environmental Awareness
There’s a lot of gloom in the news around the climate and for some children, this could lead to a sense of anxiety and helplessness. To counteract this it’s a good idea to keep on top of innovations and news to share stories that show progress being made and inspire children into thinking about how they could do something similar or help make a difference.
Whilst inspiring how children can make a difference as they grow up, it’s important to make things fun right now. Lots of websites provide child and parent education on the environment to make learning both interesting and fun with activities or printouts. A few organisations worth checking out are:
Young People’s Trust for the Environment (YPTE)
Depending on the age of your children, providing rewards for environmentally friendly action can go a long way. Rewards don’t just have to be money based. Keeping a tally through a marble jar or star sheet on the wall every time your child chooses a healthy, natural snack or decides not to buy a cheap plastic toy whilst out and about could add up to a special or favourite activity or save up for something else worthwhile having or doing instead. Depending on the time available and budget you can make this as big or small as you like.
Build it into your routine
Leading by example and building caring for the environment into your day to day routines and choices can go a long way. Things we can do day-to-day include:
Choosing to cycle or walk rather than use the car,
Volunteering for community projects such as cleaning,
Recycling as much as you can
Avoiding single-use plastics by using refillable lunch boxes and drinks bottles
Explaining why you’re doing these things will be a big help for children to understand how they can impact the environment with their actions.
Start at Home
There are lots we can do at home in addition to building environmental savings into our routines.
Recycling toys by giving them to or buying from charity, turning off the water whilst brushing your teeth, recycling paper by using it for artwork or recycling crayons and pens through schemes are simple things that can be done. Some more ideas can be found here.
Maybe you could get the kids involved in meal planning which helps reduce food waste and can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing carefully the products you eat (going veggie for a day for example).
Some families take it further and commit to living plastic-free using tips that can be found here.
Maybe you could use your outdoor space to create a wildlife haven such as choosing which plants bees and other insects are attracted to or creating a bug hotel with leftover bits of wood or household items? Another brilliant outdoor activity could be to grow food at home and see the full lifecycle of what we eat and how important it is to care for plants for them to grow healthily.
Activism / Supporting Environmental Causes
Some children love to get excited when they get updates and feel they’re making a difference to a great cause. Charities and activism groups can help them do this.
Supporting an organisation such as the World Wildlife Fund through donations, memberships or adopting an animal at your favourite animal sanctuary or zoo are all ways this can be done. Organisations often send regular updates on the animal you’re supporting to help children feel they’re making a real difference!
Attending local events such as #BexleyEcoFestival2022 can also help build excitement and fun in children helping to save the planet!
We’ll have lots of fun activities learning about how we can all do our bit in addition to looking after our wellbeing. The Children’s University will also be there giving out Children's Learning Passports with activities across the stallholders to be filled in through the fun-packed day for all the family!
We look forward to seeing you there on Saturday 25th June 2022.