One aspect of raising conscientious children is teaching them the importance of taking care of the earth. Many kids tend to have a natural love for the outdoors and for helping out, which can easily translate to being environmentally responsible. Teaching your kids to be more green can also be a fun bonding experience. Here are five ideas for raising eco-friendly children:
Let Them Earn Money by Recycling Cans
A fun way to teach your kids about recycling and money at the same time is to encourage them to collect aluminum cans and sell them at a local aluminum recycling center like Main Street Fibers. They can start off by gathering cans from home, and then perhaps branch out to collecting cans at school, after-school activities, and wherever they might find them. You can let them use the money they earn as extra spending money, or encourage them to spend half of it and save the other half.
Help Them Organize a Local Clean-up
Is there a park, playground, beach, or stretch of road near your home that needs some extra love? You and the kids can spend an afternoon picking up trash to teach them the importance of leaving the world better than they found it. If your kids are enthusiastic about this project, it can even turn into an ongoing clean-up effort involving their friends and classmates as well. For hygiene and safety reasons, be sure everyone wears gloves when picking up trash. Also be sure everyone has two bags: one for trash and one for recyclables.
Start a Compost Bin Together
Composting is a fun way to teach kids to be more sustainable. Instead of throwing vegetable peels and other kitchen scraps in the trash, they can put them in a compost bin and then observe the waste biodegrade and turn into rich compost over time. You can explain to your children that even organic waste has a really hard time breaking down in landfills, so it's way better for the environment to compost whatever you can.
You can buy a compost bin online or at any major home improvement store, or even make one yourselves as a fun family project. Once you have enough compost, you can even start a family vegetable and herb garden in the backyard, which can be another fun educational opportunity for kids.
Take Them to a National Park
The more your children get out and experience the wonders of nature for themselves, the more meaningful conservation will feel for them. One great way to do this is explore national parks together as a family. If you have a national park nearby that can make for a great weekend adventure, or you can make it a mission to take a road trip to a new national park every summer vacation.
As you explore and marvel at beautiful lakes, mountains, and forests, explain to your children that these things need to be protected and preserved so future generations of kids can also enjoy them.
Emphasize Saving Water and Electricity
Once children understand that resources like electricity and water are not actually unlimited, they will most likely want to do their part to conserve them. Even very young children can be taught to turn water off while brushing their teeth, and turn the lights out when they leave a room. You can also share these fun rules for saving energy written just for kids with them, and ask them what they think.
By following these tips, you will help ensure your kids grow up to care about the earth and do what they can to protect its resources.