It is always immensely satisfying to help something flourish and grow, especially when it helps the planet. In today’s date, learning about the environment and practicing mindful living, especially from a young age is of prime importance. So, educate and inspire your little ones by getting them to connect with nature. Create fun experiences that create wonderful memories while teaching them the importance of being environmentally conscious. The best way to teach kids about environmental volunteering is through experiences and here are 10 ideas worth sharing:
1. Plant a tree
Get your kids to plant a tree in your garden or a surrounding neighborhood area. Get them to water the tree every day and spend a few minutes taking care of it. You could make some of your visits to the tree even more interesting by asking them to name their tree, paint or draw the tree, take a selfie, etc. A great way to get this started is to encourage your child to plant a tree on their birthday. This way, they have a companion that grows with them, who they can celebrate with every year!
2. Play the Recycling game
Recycling can be an incredibly fun activity that could also bring out the creative best in the family. As an example, give your child a box/ bottle to be recycled with some paint, ribbons, adhesive etc and join the fun! Not only will the outcome be a treasure, but the child will realize that a box that was about to be thrown can become an object of wonder!
3. Walk in the park
Forest bathing in many cultures is regarded as a therapeutic experience that brings about a calming sense of well-being. A walk in the park with your child along with some interesting activities like identifying new plants, talking to the gardeners, learning about native biodiversity, collecting flowers and seeds is a lovely way of making an everlasting connection. While strolling through the park, you can engage the children in a game of cleaning up the area around them. This will instill a practice of keeping natural surroundings free from trash, and will help them become ambassadors for a cleaner future. Do remember to carry a yummy treat for the little one as a reward!
4. Create an Environmental Volunteering Game
Each time your child does an environmentally conscious act such as switching off the lights, using less water, etc reward them by giving them points, badges, treats etc. Get your child to make a board where the points and badges can be displayed. Each badge is recommended to be awarded with some fanfare and hugs!
5. Adopt a pet
Having pets is a wonderful way to get your child connected with the natural world. Sometimes when it is not possible to keep a pet in the house, get your child to interact with friendly pets in the neighborhood and build the connection. They can also volunteer their time to walk or feed the pets if the opportunity arises.
6. Celebrate special days
There are several days in the year such was the World Environment Day, Water Day, Biodiversity Day, Pet Day etc that can be occasions to celebrate. Wear green outfits, throw a party for their friends, organize a quiz etc – these are great ways to make the day memorable. Just ensure, all your party themes and supplies are biodegradable in nature, so your celebration has the benefit of being both fun and mindful!
7. The Jungle Book
Read books and stories to them about nature and fire up their imagination through the experiences of the natural world! Encourage them to make their own stories and create their very own version of the Jungle Book.
8. Plant questions and thoughts
Children in early years are exploring cause and effect, and the consequences of their actions. This is a perfect time to introduce the positive and negative impacts they can have on the environment with some intriguing and thought-provoking questions.
As an example, what happens to our rubbish when we throw it ‘away’ or recycle it? What happens to seeds when we sow them? Why buy when one can repair? How can we reduce our environmental footprint?
Teach kids how to conserve existing resources – water and food, for example. Remind them to put food back in the refrigerator and close the door. There are numerous creative ways to conserve water, food, gas, and other products once you put your mind to it. Turn it into a game!
10. Ride bikes but walk whenever possible.
This is great exercise and saves not only gas but time because you don’t have to drop your kids off everywhere.
The truth is that climate change and climate actions can sometimes be abstract topics. It is by creating experiences and environmental volunteering interactions that as parents lasting impact can be created. As they say the best time to volunteer is now!