These days we all understand our responsibilty to live in a more sustainable fashion as our responsibility to future generations Our children AND their children AND their children’s children deserve the same beautiful planet we have to enjoy. So how do we teach them environmental stewardship?
A creative and simple way to get started is by working together to recycle materials into “wonderous” new items the kids will enjoy. Rather than telling them what to do, it’s better to let the kids be involved.
Encourage your kids to label your recycling bins with their own creative signs. The importance of separating recyclables can be taught with simple “this belongs with this” and “this doesn’t belong with that” games.
Once you’ve assembing a good range of materials you can begin recycling paper into paper mache objects, greeting cards, paper flowers or jewellery or anything else that comes to mind. Things like thrown-out coffee cans can be decorated with recycled paper to create “customized” pencil holders that your kids will surely love. There are plenty of ideas you can suggest but to really stimulate your kids creativity and involve them fully, let them suggest their own ideas or undertake a project themselves.
Visit your local recycling center or thrift store and explore how “one man’s gargbage is another man’s treasure.. That way they can see how donations like old toys, clothing and shoes can be made into something usable for others.
Composting To Teach About Sustainability
Creating compost is a great way for children to learn about the existence and importance of micro-organisms – the “invisible” creatures – and their way to help us maintain a healthy ecosystem. Building an awareness of microscopic “invisible” creatures allows kids to “get” that our actions can impact on the world, the natural environment we can’t see.
Get your kids to assist with routine emptying of the kitchen compost crock into the outside composter and they’ll be able to observe the shrinking and changes that take place as the microbes do their work. Better still, if you have a worm farm, your kids can observe the worms and form an understanding of the role of worms in maintaining soil health. Whatever composting method you use, when you have finished compost make it an event to spread the material around plants and then watch for results.
Sustainability Games and Websites for Children
Learning how to live more sustainably and care for the natural environment doesn’t have to be boring!. Children all enjoy interractive games with their colors and sounds and quickly learn whilst playing. On the internet you can find hundreds of resources and interractive game sites that aim to teach sustainability and environmental awareness for any age group. Here’s some great websites with resources and games for kids:
Ecokids.ca – An award winning Canadian website with games for kids and resources for teachers.
Eekoworld see: pbskids.org/eekoworld/ – A great site that immediately grabs kids attention.
Webrangers.us – an online version of the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program
Earthmatters4kids.org – excellent environmental education site with high quality teacher’s resources.
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of ways for children to gain a real appreciation for the natural environment and learn to live more sustainably.. But as a parent, we can’t forget that the most potent method we have to teach sustainability is by our own actions and leading by example.