After a long winter, celebrating Earth Day feels like a fun way to kick off a return to sunnier days and the promise of warmer weather.
Schools often plan Earth Day events which take students outdoors to clean up the community, plant trees or prepare a school garden. There may even be an assembly or two, with eco-fashion shows, recycling skits, and student-driven public service announcements.
It’s no wonder that following all their Earth-focused learning in April that students come home filled with excitement and sometimes anguish over the Earth.
How can we take the passion for the planet, they exhibit during Earth Day activities and ignite them all year long into eco-warriors?
We asked Sara Vartanian, the founder of the green lifestyle site Green Moms Collective for four tips on how we can turn going green into fun yet educational learning for kids. Here’s what she had to say:
Get Outdoors as Much as Possible
Beyond the physical and mental benefits of being outside, children should have regular experiences with the outdoors in order to care about the Earth. Without this connection, how will they begin to understand why it’s so important to care about protecting it?
You don’t have to plan a camping trip to enjoy nature (although that can be fun), head to a local green space, conservation area or even a park. The more your child can adventure outside, the more likely they will develop a love for nature.
Teach Kids How to Give Back to The Earth
Plan a family brainstorm session or two to gather your children’s ideas on how you can take care of the planet. Here’s a few ideas to help inspire you:
Plant a butterfly garden
Join in community environmental initiatives
Host a toy, clothing, or book swap
Read books and watch movies about the Earth and share their knowledge with others
Grow Your Child’s Food Literacy
Visit farmer’s markets or pick-your-own farms so your child can meet the people who grow their food as well as choose food fresh from the farm.
If a market visit is not a possibility then a trip to the grocery store works, too. While shopping, point out local food signs in the produce section and discuss with your child why they may want to choose these foods. Consider adding a regular ‘local food’ dinner as part of your family’s meal plan.
There are plenty of eco-minded discussions you can have with your child about food including talking about buying in bulk, packaging and food waste.
Encourage Your Child to Care for Their Items
An easy way to ‘go green’ is to buy stuff that lasts and keep it a long time, too. Model the importance of taking care of your items and notice when your child does, too.
Talk with your child about how reusable items cut down on waste. School lunches are a great place to start.
Assuming you’ve already invested in reusable lunch gear, help your children take care of their stuff by making it easier to keep track of with name labels. Eco-friendly lunch gear isn’t cheap to buy but if it’s not lost, it lasts year-over-year.
Teaching kids about the small and big things they can do to make a difference in the world will help empower them to feel like their voice and actions matter.