Ten fun ways to
Teaching kids about sustainability doesn't have to be boring or daunting. In fact, it can be fun, engaging and rewarding for the whole family! By modelling sustainable behaviours, getting kids involved in outdoor activities, and encouraging them to develop their ideas for promoting sustainability, we can help them develop a lifelong appreciation for the environment and a commitment to its protection.
In this article, we'll explore some practical tips for teaching kids about sustainability and inspiring them to become environmentally aware from an early age.
Educate and inspire.
A good way to start is by talking to your kids about the environment and why taking care of it is important. Explain how actions such as using too much plastic or wasting water can have a negative impact on nature for humans and animals. There are an array of great books and documentaries that can help children learn about sustainability and climate change. Look for age-appropriate materials that explain environmental concepts in a manner they'll connect with in accordance with their developmental level.
Create a sustainability scavenger hunt.
Learning about sustainability shouldn't be boring, so make it into a game or activity. For example, you could consider a scavenger hunt for recyclable materials or a competition amongst siblings to see who can save the most water.
Set up fun wall stickers to switch off the lights.
You are your child's greatest role model, so help them learn by demonstrating those sustainable behaviours yourself. For example, set up some fun wall stickers as a reminder to turn off lights when leaving a room or to turn on the tap only when rinsing their toothbrush.
Pick your own and support local farmers.
Visit local fruit and vegetable farms where you can pick your own apples, sunflowers, corn cherries and veggies in the ACT and surrounds. When grocery shopping, take reusable bags and talk to them about the importance of supporting local farmers and choosing food in season.
Get kids involved in the garden.
Most kids love nature, so get them outdoors and involve them in planting and caring for a garden. You can explain how it promotes biodiversity and provides habitat for pollinators while composting helps to reduce food waste. You could swap an afternoon of screentime each weekend for a walk through a reserve or a bike ride on a mountain trail.
Composting and worm farms.
Kids love critters, so composting and worms make for a fun combination. Create a compost bin or worm farm in the backyard and involve the kids in collecting food scraps and other compostable materials. It is an excellent opportunity to discuss waste management and teach them about biodegradability.
Create a recycling station.
Involve the kids in creating their own recycling station where they sort different materials for recycling. For example, some items may be for the council recycling, others may go to the container deposit scheme, and others may be donated to schools or the craft box.
Make recycled crafts.
Encourage kids to use their imagination to build new things from recycled materials and objects such as cardboard, toilet rolls, tin foil, paper plates and more. Use recycled materials to make cars, spaceships, robots, characters, animals, and so much more.
Have a no-waste day.
Challenge the kids to have a no-waste day. Make lunches with foods that have no waste and undertake activities that result in no waste. You will find that they will likely eat more veggies and undertake more outdoor activities as their default position to reduce waste!
Encourage their ideas to blossom.
Encourage your children to develop their own methods for reducing waste and promoting sustainability. Then, support their ideas and help them implement them in a way that works for your family. To encourage them to think critically and creatively, ask openended questions like, "What do you think we could do to reduce waste at home or in the community?"
By teaching kids to develop their own environmentally friendly ideas, you can help them cultivate a lifelong appreciation for the environment and a commitment to its protection. So keep encouraging and celebrating the wins to make these actions lifelong habits.
Talk to your kids about the environment and why taking care of it is important.
Use age-appropriate materials and games that explain environmental concepts in a manner they'll connect with.
Demonstrate sustainable behaviour and get your children involved in recycling and gardening activities.
You may like to encourage your children to develop sustainable ideas by asking open-ended questions and supporting their creativity.
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