Imbuing children with an environmental consciousness is something that many parents list as a top priority in this day and age. But explaining complex concepts like global warming, conservation, the benefits of organic farming, and the circular flow of production to kids may not be as easy as you think. In truth, you may have some difficulty getting your kids on board with eco-friendly initiatives if you don’t find ways to make the process fun. So here are just a few green activities that will help your kids to adopt environmental values.
- Organic gardening. Most kids love to get their hands in the dirt, and when they start to see the fruits of their effort (literally) as their organic garden grows, they’ll no doubt enjoy the process even more. In order to help them fully engage in the process, allow them to select some of the items they’ll plant, teach them everything you know about natural fertilizers and pesticides, and then think about hosting an eco-friendly party so that everyone can sample the toxin-free fruits and veggies that your kids have created.
- Earth Day celebrations. This event occurs only once a year, so make sure to take advantage of activities in your area that are geared towards kids. Your city may feature parades, tree-planting ceremonies, and even a fair of some sort with all kinds of booths offering lessons and activities pertaining to various aspects of the eco-friendly movement. Attending such events can help you to determine where your kids’ interests lie so that you can more easily involve them in environmental efforts year-round.
- Nature preserves. If you happen to live near a nature preserve you may want to contact your local Department of Parks and Recreation to find out if they offer guided tours, classes, or even camps for kids. At the very least you and your family can likely visit and talk to park rangers in order to learn about the plant and animal species protected by the preserve, and an afternoon of hiking makes for a zero-emission activity.
- Set up a recycling program. Even if all you do is build a recycling center in your garage and have kids draw pictures to paste to each bin (depicting items suitable for recycling), you’ve taken a good first step towards helping them to develop an environmental conscience. Of course, you could take it further by touring the neighborhood to ask if neighbors have any cans and bottles that you can recycle (especially if they would otherwise throw them in the trash). In this way you can get the community involved in your effort and help kids to go the extra mile for the environment. Plus, any earnings could go towards your next eco-tourism vacation.
- Online games. You might be surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of free video games online that can impart eco-friendly lessons for your kids. EcoKids, Nat Geo, and Discovery all feature games that highlight different facets of the green movement (pollution, waste, loss of habitat, etc.). And you can even find targeted games that speak to diverse interests, like DressUpGirl, a game that lets players dress a bike-riding ecologist in a variety of eco-friendly outfits (there’s not much to it, but it can act as a springboard for a discussion about the value of organic textiles). In short, there are plenty of games that can help make the learning process fun when you decide to teach kids about green living.