One of the most effective ways to create an impact on the environment is to cultivate change in our youth. Encouraging your kids to practice environmentally conscious habits is a strategic way to make it easier to nurture skills into their adult lives. However, you’ll want to be careful when teaching such skills, as a heavy-handed approach may turn them away from the endeavor. Instead, make learning about eco-friendly habits a fun and natural experience, instead of a chore. Here are some fun ways you can teach your kids about environmental conservation:
1. Make it into a Game.
Turning educational lessons into fun activities helps engage your kids and prevents learning from becoming monotonous. Here are some suggestions that can help you get started:
- Create a recycling game! Begin a timed race to see which family members can quickly and accurately dispose of waste into their corresponding bins.
- Do arts and crafts together using repurposed household items.
- Take the kids on a neighborhood “scavenger hunt” to collect litter around your community.
2. Encourage them to participate in hobbies that do not require equipment or consumption.
In a consumer-based society, our ideas of entertainment often revolve around shopping, eating, or games that require an endless parade of tools and accessories. Resource conservation doesn’t have to be boring or constraining. Encourage your kids to enjoy pastimes that involve little or no resources:
- Encourage them to enjoy borrowing books and films from a public library.
- Participate in healthy outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, or camping. Not only will it teach them how to have fun without creating waste, it will also foster a respect and appreciation for nature.
3. Take fun and educational trips.
Take your family on educational trips to places that will teach them more about sustainability and conservation:
- Try going to a farmers’ market and explain to them the importance of organic and local farming.
- Visit a recycling plant so they can see the process of recycling.
- Spend time outdoors observing and learning about different species of plant life and animals. This will also cultivate an appreciation for nature.
4. Teach your kids how to garden
Growing your own produce will not only save you money and provide healthy fruits and vegetables for your home, it can also be a lot of fun. Have your children help as they learn how to grow food alongside you. Potting and watering plants in the sunshine are fun ways to teach children about the benefits of cultivating their own garden.
5. Go “Shopping”!
Instead of buying new items or throwing away useful supplies, teach your children how they can donate clothing, toys and books at local thrift and donation centers. Designate a day during the year where the entire family can gather unwanted items and bring them, as a group, to a drop-off location. With a little effort, you can turn it into a fun family outing.
While going through these activities, it’s important to keep in mind that you should explain the overall purpose of each activity to your children. Not only will it help them understand the importance of conservation, it will also encourage them to continue to conserve all the way into their adult years. With enough effort, you can create habits that benefit the environment in the long run.
Brett Callan is a writer for Murray Callan Swim Schools, where their Escondido swim lessons offer customized support for children throughout San Diego. He loves to enjoy the San Diego weather whenever he can, whether from the beach or at a pool.