The earlier you expose children to the topic of environmental responsibility and good eco-friendly practices, the easier it is to excite and inspire them.
Here are some suggestions as to how parents can start implementing environmentally conscious teachings and actions at home:
Rather than throwing scraps in the bin, start a compost bin. Teach your children items can go in the compost and make it a game. You can even allow for rewards when they have done it correctly!
Children learn best when they see and do. If you decide to set up a vegetable or herb garden, let them pick out the plants and guide them as they “grow” (plant, water, pick and nurture) them. This encourages clean eating and educates children on how our planet works. They’ll see first-hand the process of how food is made, the time constraints involved and how precious the process is.
Green-themed family days
Once a month, have a green-themed day. Eat green foods, watch environmentally-friendly movies and TV shows (Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus and Playschool are great examples) and get the whole family together to do an eco-friendly activity. Ideas include planting a tree, visiting a plant nursery or volunteering at an environmentally-focused organisation.
Much like composting, make recycling fun. Involve the whole family and make sure everyone follows the rules. Allow your children to help with the cleaning process (such as drying the plastic or tin items before they go in the recycling bin).
Arts and crafts
For younger children, empty milk bottles, cartons and plastic jugs make great musical instruments. As they get older, these items can be used for arts and crafts projects, such as dioramas, pots for flowers and plants, and art pieces for the home.