Today is World Environment Day and aims to raise awareness of the importance of respecting and doing your bit for the environment. Why not walk to school rather than driving, or take steps to reduce your carbon footprint in other ways? Many educational programmes are now including teaching children about how they can look after the environment from a very young age, so if we start kids early, hopefully by the next generation, we’ll have a heightened awareness of how we can live in harmony with our beautiful world!
Here’s just a few of our top tips for teaching kids things they can do to help the environment…
Even though this is something that most of us tend to do as a matter of course now, do our children necessarily know enough about why we do this? Or do they know the processes? Many kids will not be clear about what can and what can’t be recycled, and so getting that little bit of knowledge will help them continue the recycling journey when you’re not there…
We’re all familiar with recycling, but precycling?! Simple. It’s all about trying to avoid the amount of waste we bring into our homes so the next time you’re shopping with the kids, look at the packaging you are picking up – is it necessary? Can you buy this with less? Incorporating the learning of any subject into everyday activities really gets your kids thinking about it, and guess what? They learn it faster!
It could be argued that we all may be a little guilty of throwing things away when they could be mended or reused. This was commonplace generations ago, but we’ve become a bit of a throw-a-way society. Showing your children where they can reuse things, such as bags for shopping or using both sides of paper for drawing, can teach them a new value when they become more aware of how long it takes for these things to disappear. It can also be great fun if you turn mending toys or furniture items into an exciting ‘upcycling’ project. Kids love it, especially when you are looking for something to do over the summer holidays!
When something is as easily accessible as water coming out of the tap, it’s sometimes easy for children to take this for granted. Help them learn to turn off the tap when they are cleaning their teeth, to have shorter showers or shallower baths. Children love to think that they are achieving goals, so if you set them targets to get ready in the morning, this will help prevent twenty minute showers!
If it’s not in use…turn it off!
Even though certain things are not in use, they are still using up a lot of energy! Try and help your little ones understand that when they’ve finished playing with that computer game in their bedroom, turn it off and switch off that light. It’ll become second nature in no time if they start learning that early!
Embrace the outdoors!
Whilst we’re talking about remembering to turn things off, it might be a good time to say ‘lets turn them on less often’! We don’t always need to be allowing our kids to find entertainment using high energy burning products, unless that energy is theirs! If the distance isn’t too great, why not try cycling places you may normally have taken the car, or cycle to a picnic instead of driving to their favourite restaurant? Happy, tired kids through fresh air and activity makes for the best sleeps, all round!
Recognition and awareness
Don’t be afraid of spreading awareness about the environment with your children as they really will soak this information up and the quicker they learn, the more positive the result. Observe them practising these new environmental skills and if you see they are enjoying doing these things, you can take this further afield to have an even greater impact. If you look online, you should be able to find many projects run locally by schools or community groups to increase environmental awareness at a young age and you may be able to find a tree plating day or a community beach cleanup. These events are very social, great fun and have lasting effect on the consciousness of your kids.
Looking after the world can be fun, so go and enjoy it!
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