Teaching kids about Sustainability
The future belongs to kids. It’s not just a saying but the truth. But it doesn’t only belong to them, it is also shaped by them. The next generation is growing up and how we raise them will influence their actions as adults. We teach them about life and friendship, about math and languages. Sustainability should be on the list. Climate change is the most urgent problem this generation is facing and the values we give to kids matter. Beyond that, it teaches them that actions have consequences that affect not only yourself but also others and the planet.
The world that you can show them today might not be the world they will be able to live in the future. So show them that this planet and its nature it’s worth fighting for. It’s important to give them hope and show that there are solutions to problems and teach them that their actions make a difference. Sustainability is the solution to preserve the world that we live in.
How to teach sustainability to kids
Did you know in some countries such as Italy, Mexico, and Finland climate change is taught in schools?
But how can we explain such a complex topic to children? Abstract numbers and scientific explanations mean nothing to kids. As with all other things in life you need to find a way to transfer this topic into a kid’s world. You need hands-on and real-life activities to simplify it for kids. Keep it interesting and avoid making it feel like a lesson or something they have to do. It should be a natural part of your daily life. Depending on their age there are many different activities you can do to start showing them the importance of sustainability while growing up.
For younger kids reading stories is the easiest way to start the conversation about a topic and educate them in a fun way. Books and stories not only about climate change, but about nature, plants, and wildlife will get them interested and
Encourage them to ask questions and talk about it
Talking about nature and climate change is the first step to spark interest. Encourage kids to be curious and be ready to answer big questions. Research and learn together.
Teach them the value of things and that nothing should be wasted
Do it yourself toys, games or even clothes are a great way to show children the work that people put into creating things and how long it takes to make it just perfect. It will teach them that they shouldn’t take things for granted and be more appreciative. Giving old toys to a good cause instead of throwing them away will make them aware that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. Just because you don’t want it anymore doesn’t mean it’s trash.
Use public transports together or walk and cycle instead of driving everywhere
Having kids often means that we start driving everywhere by car, simply because it’s more convenient. For longer distances, this makes perfect sense, but consider walking or cycling for shorter trips such as getting fresh bread in the morning. Take the bus to go to the city and avoid using the car when it’s not necessary.
Spend more time in nature
Fact is, people of any age will only be able to appreciate nature and fight for it when they spend time in nature. Show them the beauty of our planet. Don’t just tell your kids: Put away your phone and go play outside. Kids hear that all the time and unless you give them an activity to do outside they will just associate it with boredom. Instead, do it together. Go play outside, take your dog for a walk in the forest instead of just down the street, have a picnic in a park or collect flowers and leaves, and see how many different kinds you can find.
Grow your own garden together and compost
Growing your own garden can be so much fun and comes with so many positive things. It’s a fun activity to do together. Your kids can learn how vegetables grow and that they don’t come from the supermarket. Plus it’s super healthy!
Visit a local farm or community projects
Just as it’s important to see how plants grow in your garden, local farms can show where food comes from on a bigger scale. Buying your food from local sources is a much more sustainable option compared to buying packaged and imported food.
Kids love experiments and it’s the easiest way to visualize science for them. There are many ideas starting from simply explaining how ice melts, to showing how a plant turns CO2 into oxygen.
In all those activities most importantly you have to lead by example. Teaching your kids all those things will only be successful when you do it yourself. Do those activities together with your kids and show them the positive effect on your life. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shop second hand together, turn off the TV and lights when you leave the room. Kids quickly adapt to those small habits and will continue to do so in their future.
How you raise your children might just save the world.