The best way to teach kids about sustainability is to instill them with a deep reverence for nature. If your kids are already nature babies and love the great outdoors, that is fabulous! There are ways you can incorporate earth-saving lessons when they are playing in the woods or picking wildflowers. Helping your kids stay mindful of the environment throughout every step of their lives will ensure they maintain a healthy respect for the earth. Here are a few fun and eco-friendly activities to do with kids this summer that ingrains valuable teachings about caring for the environment.
Nature Walks: Pack a picnic lunch and take the kiddies for a walk in nature. While you and the littles are packing delicious treats for the trail, share information with your kids about sustainable ways to pack a picnic. Show them how to reduce waste by substituting plastics for reusable glass containers, and replacing one-use water bottles with reusable ones. Pack a nature guide book in the picnic basket too. Then play a game of “eye spy” while on your nature walk and use the nature guide to look up the different kinds of birds, trees, and flowers your kids are spying on. The idea here is to fully involve children with every step of being aware, being kind, and honoring nature.
Road Trips: Now more than ever there are a growing number of eco-friendly destinations that are practicing mindful sustainability and also great summer spots for the whole family. Wherever you decide to go, you can teach your kids how to travel sustainably every step of the trip. For example, educate them about shopping and eating at local farmers’ markets and farm-to-table restaurants and how this reduces the energy required to ship and refrigerate foods which leads to a lower carbon footprint. Consider renting or buying an electric car with an EV charger for your family road trip and explain how these vehicles reduce emissions that damage the environment. There are endless ways to demonstrate how your kids (and you) can stay mindful about sustainability in every aspect of summer fun.
Gardening: Hands down, perhaps one of the most beautiful ways to illustrate the cycle of life in nature to kids is growing a garden with them. This activity has loads of benefits and rewards for you and your family. Most obviously, you can practice sustainability by growing your own produce instead of buying it from the grocery store. You can take this activity with the kids a step forward and teach them how to honor nature by practicing green gardening techniques. For example, explain how pesticides are harmful to the earth and show them how to use alternatives for reducing pesky bugs and invasive weeds. Explain how planting native plants are more sustainable than exotic (non-local) options. You can also involve them in water-saving practices like irrigation or using rain barrels to promote sustainability. You can even encourage the kids to help plant a butterfly garden and explain the powerful role butterflies play in the ecology of our planet.
Repurposing for Nature: Another great activity to involve the kids in is building habitats for nature’s creatures from reclaimed materials. Make an event out of this by taking the kiddies along to rummage yards and pick through viable materials that can be repurposed for this activity. Once your home with your junkyard treasures, brainstorm what kind of homes you can build. The options are endless, from birdhouses to bat boxes. You can even introduce your kids to the globe-saving art of beekeeping by building a beehive from reclaimed materials. This activity can open your kid’s eyes about how the important function bees play in pollinating plants so they can produce fruits, flowers, and veggies. Additionally, the act of upcycling and repurposing materials is an effective lesson on sustainability.
Whatever you plan to do with the kids this summer, there is always an occasion to share valuable observations with your kids about sustainability and caring for mother nature. The more our children learn that our earth’s resources are finite and should be nurtured, the better our odds are for preserving the planet. Involving kids with eco-friendly summer activities is a fun way to instill valuable lessons of conservation. Doing so will make this world a better place for their kids, your grandkids, and generations to come.