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Teaching kids to appreciate the environment is important to their happiness and to humanity’s survival. And it all starts with parents modeling responsible stewardship of the Earth by making a practice of conserving energy, using Eco-friendly products and maintaining a connection to nature.
Resources for Parents: Teaching Kids About the Earth
Fortunately for adults looking to provide a green example for their children, there are more than a few online resources available to help.
A discussion about conserving energy is a good place to start, as it will result in both saving money and a reduced carbon footprint. Energy Star Kids, a website sponsored by the Federal Department of Energy, offers advice and fun activities for parents and children. From checklists for saving energy to composting, recycling, driving less and conserving water, parents, and kids can work together to find ways to reduce their family’s negative impact on the environment.
Using Eco Products
Substituting Eco products for ubiquitous chemical cleaners is a fun family shopping activity. Eliminating the use of harsh chemicals in interior environments will not only improve your family’s health but also that of outdoor ecosystems where these chemicals eventually find their way. A good first step is for parents to begin phasing in cleaning products from companies like Seventh Generation and to make their own natural cleaning products.
Making more conscious use of reusable partyware like Preserve Tableware means less waste in our overflowing landfills and more money in your wallet over the long term. Preserve Tableware is made from recycled materials and is fully recyclable when its useful life is over. Simple household changes like these gently teach a love of the Earth and an appreciation of our responsibility to preserve it.
Connection with Nature
Getting in touch with the natural beauty of the outdoors is a key component of every child’s healthy psychological and physical development. In addition to many state and local organizations, the National Wildlife Federation has a plethora of ideas for developing an appreciation for the natural world.
One of the best is Green Hour, a concept promoting an hour of unstructured outdoor play every day for all children. The Educational Resources has tips for making Green Hour fun and for encouraging active participation. In addition, the Nature Find tool helps families find venues for all types of outdoor fun.
Bringing Nature Home
Creating a nature reserve in your backyard is a fun way to attract wildlife to a landscape and foster the joy of watching animals and birds. Parents and children can join the Great American Backyard Campout and discover the sights and sounds of nighttime outdoors. The National Wildlife Federation’s website and children’s magazines are full of ideas and information about animals, ecology and an appreciation that it can be as close as a backyard.
That Which Sustains Us
Eating is both a pleasure and a necessity. It’s something most of us do several times a day, so it provides us with the opportunity to set a good example and offer lessons to our children about good health and stewardship of the earth. We all know how environmentally unfriendly animal products are, so we can encourage the eating of fruits and vegetables, particularly those grown organically (no pesticides and chemical fertilizers to poison the Earth) and of local origin (minimizing its carbon footprint).
Even better, we can start a vegetable garden or grow a fruit tree. Children love to care for and watch things grow. They’ll be proud to eat and share organically grown food they’ve cultivated themselves. And what could be more vegetarian and local than that? You can even can the food together at harvest time. Planting a flower garden is a fun learning experience, too.
Whether it involves buying green products, saving energy or being out in nature, there are many resources available for parents looking to help their children connect everyday experiences to the preservation of the environment for future generations. Enjoying quality time together while being environmentally conscious is a win for the family and a win for the Earth.