Spring has sprung, which means it’s a good time to think about how we can be more sustainable and keep our environment healthy. From gardening to picking up trash, there are countless ways to make an impact.
Even kids are starting to pay attention to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. An international movement, sparked by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, has inspired young people all over the world to protect the planet. Since then, kids as young as 12 have organized efforts in their respective countries.
But you don’t have to take part in an international movement to make a positive impact on the environment. So how can you encourage your own children to go green and develop eco-friendly habits as they get older? Here are a few easy ideas:
The first step to teaching young kids to care about the environment is to spend time in nature. Going for walks, camping, or even just playing outside is a good place to start. These make for great non-camp summer activities too!
Start a garden
Gardening is guaranteed to teach kids eco-friendly habits and generally support the development of a happier, healthier lifestyle. Not only does gardening encourage healthy eating habits (i.e. more fruits and vegetables, less meat and processed foods), but it also allows kids to get their hands dirty, which means even your two-year-old can help. Check out this gardening toolbox for tips on how to get started!
Go for a bike ride
This one’s easy! By riding bikes together, you’re not only driving less, but teaching your kids how to maintain an active lifestyle. As they get older, they may even choose to stick with biking as their main mode of transportation. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time with the whole family.
Volunteering with children may sound like a challenge, but there are plenty of kid-friendly options. Plant a tree or clean up a park—there are so many ways to get kids involved. Just be sure to get ice cream after!
Reduce, reuse, recycle (and compost)!
Teach children to turn off the lights when leaving a room to conserve electricity, or take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth to conserve water. Though simple, these small changes do make a difference.
Encourage kids to reuse things that aren’t ready to be recycled or thrown out. Educate them about recycling and composting in a way that makes it fun (worms in dirt pudding treats definitely won’t hurt).
Talk about it
Talk to your kids about environmental issues and what we can do to help. Does your child love sea turtles? Educate them about endangered species and how taking action can prevent the extinction of their favorite animal. If your kids like to spend hot summer days at a lake or beach, use this opportunity to discuss how they can help keep these places clean and free of litter.
Teaching kids to be eco-friendly instills a sense of responsibility while building a lifelong appreciation for the environment. When children learn sustainable practices from a young age, they’re more likely to carry these habits with them as they get older, ultimately contributing to the global movement for a healthier planet.