10 activities for kids to introduce them to sustainability
October 3, 2019
We don’t inherit the earth, we borrow it from our future generations.
In about 11 years, we will have done irreversible damage to the earth and if there is a time to do something about it, it is now. Our future generations may not have a home planet if we continue with our ways. We need to change and we need to teach our kids how they can change the world we live in.
Here are fun and interesting ways to teach your kids about sustainability and about going green
But talking about ‘going green’ is not going to achieve much. Kids need to know ‘how’ they can care for the earth, in small ways. Before you get started, you must know that kids get easily overwhelmed and distracted. Keeping this in mind, you need to make going green easy and even fun for them.
1. Start with inculcating small habits
While not an activity in itself, you must teach your kids small habits like using reusable grocery bags. If you are heading to the store, always make them ‘incharge’ of picking up the bags. Small steps like this go a long way, the added responsibility builds accountability and a sense of discipline.
2. Get crafty
Recycling is the mantra when it comes to going green.Who doesn’t love a good afternoon spent crafting? Recycle things like plastic bottles or cardboard boxes and turn them into photo frames and pencil holders. Use old bottles to plant herbs or even build small bird houses. The idea is to go green without mindlessly dumping everything in the trash.
3. Reading as a way to going Green
With a plethora of books about sustainability available for kids, reading will never get boring. Books on sustainability such as ‘The Giving Tree’ and ‘I can save the Earth!’ are great books to start with. An added plus is that reading is a good way to keep your kids away from their ipads, phones and various other gadgets. WIN- WIN!
4. Sort the trash
Segregating wet waste, dry waste, recyclable materials will help your kids identify the various sources of waste generated in the household. This task could also be one of the beginner lessons in taking up household responsibilities and chores. You can buy different bins and get your kids to mark them for wet waste and dry waste.
5. Little things
Habits formed as children stay with us for a lifetime. Incentivise good habits like being conscious about the water they use or about turning off the lights. Leave notes near switches or on doors to remind them to turn off the lights the minute they leave a room. In times of water and electricity crisis, habits like this go a long way in going green and offer a little financial perk as well.
6. Play it safe
Kids love toys, why shouldn’t they? But the newest toys in the market are made of plastic, are often battery operated and sometimes use lead-based paints. When you recognise that your child has outgrown certain toys, look for responsible ways to dispose them off. Pass them along to younger cousins, donate them to the less fortunate or if they are damaged beyond repair, put them in recycling bins. There are also a number of eco-friendly toys that are made with wood or clay; see if your child is interested in them
7. Sow the seed of going green
Gardening is probably one of the best methods to teach kids about sustainability. Set up a small garden with fenugreek seeds, Coriander or Tomatoes. These seeds sprout quickly and your kids will be able to enjoy the end result as well. Knowing the love and effort that goes into growing food, it is more likely they will appreciate the food on their plate instead of wasting it.
8. Take a walk in the park
If you live in a good apartment complex, chances are that there are lush open spaces, gardens and paw parks. Take your kids out every single day to enjoy these spaces. Let them run and play. When they see how much fun it can be playing games surrounded by trees, they will certainly see the perks of preserving nature. If you are moving into a new home, ensure that your apartment complex has ample trees, sunlight and ventilation. These aspects not only affect the well-being of your kids, but directly impact their understanding of nature itself.
9. Connect with nature
Kids are not going to learn the beauty of preserving nature if they never come face to face with it. The next time you plan a vacation, take your kids out to pristine beaches, hills, gardens and parks. Whether it is a safari in Chikmagalur or a quiet walk on the beach in the Andamans. Your kids will learn a lot by observing nature.
10. Walking and cycling
Over 90% of children breathe toxic air and this number is only going to rise if we don’t do anything about it. Encourage your kids to walk or cycle to the local grocery store or to meet their friends. If you live close to work, you can leave your car at home for a couple of days each week and walk to the office. Make this a habit and you’ll notice your kids will emulate the same without you asking.
These are just a few tips to go green. At Ecolife, we have created great projects like Elements of Nature that encourage sustainability. By offering 75% open spaces, we are making room for wholesome growth of your children and the community.