Teaching kids about the environment is important to their future and the future of the planet. Find out why you should teach kids about the environment and get some great books to read to kids.
Is it that important to teach kids how to take care of the earth? We all know it’s important to care for the earth because that’s what we will be leaving for our kids, but it’s also important to be a good example for them.
We need to teach them what they can do now and in the future to help our earth as well. It takes a village to make a change. Everyone has to work together for change to happen and for the damage, we have done to be reversed.
Over the past few years, we have seen some serious results of the way we’ve been living on this planet like there is no tomorrow. I want our grandchildren to inherit a wonderful, healthy place to live so we have to teach the next generation how to be good stewards.
The climate is changing, the earth is groaning for us to stop the damage. Are we listening? Have we made any changes? Does anyone care?
The society we live in is a disposable one. We don’t care what we waste. We don’t care what could be reused or donated instead of piled in a landfill. Why bring a cup to get your coffee when they have perfectly good ones there at the store? What about shopping bags? What about saving energy or fuel? It’s up to all of us to make a difference. Small changes can add up over time, so it’s important that we look at the small things.
Before I realized what was going on, I could use up a 12-pack of Bounty paper towels in my daycare in a month. That was one of the small changes I made, to pay attention to what I could use a washrag for or something else that could be reused. I still use paper towels, but two rolls last me about a year. I use them for very few things.
Daycare is a messy business, so it’s tough to find ways to cut back on wasting resources. I have gone from getting approximately 10 plastic bags a week from the grocery store to maybe 25 a year when I forget my bags. I have even taught my husband to ask not to have a bag when he buys just one thing. Ten bags a week is about 500 a year! I reuse some of them to send home soiled clothing but that’s a LOT of bags I was throwing away and then recycling. Eventually, we pared it down to what we do now.
There are so many ways I can save resources in daycare AND it saves me money as well. I love that I’m being a good example to my kids. They know where the recycling bin is and if they are going to throw something away that’s recyclable, I tell them, to put that in the recycle and they do it. That’s teaching them early what needs to be done.
Reasons to Teach Kids About the Environment
Why should I care if my kids learn these lessons? There are many reasons, I’ll name a few here to get you thinking.
- It is so much easier to be disciplined to do something if you are used to doing it. There are many habits I really wish I would have been taught as a child. When I became an adult, it was so hard to discipline MYSELF to be a good worker, to clean up after myself, and other things. I wish I would have been a disciplined child, but I just wasn’t. I would love for my kids to have good earth-friendly habits as second nature BEFORE they are the ones responsible for it.
- It teaches them respect for resources and to do the right thing. It’s in our nature to cast off doing what isn’t fun. An object at rest stays at rest. If kids feel compelled to recycle, pre-cycle or upcycle their trash instead of piling it all on someone else to deal with, that feeling stays with them. Teaching kids how hard it is to acquire resources or how things are made teaches them a greater appreciation for what they are choosing and using.
- They will be here after I’m gone. When I’m too old to make my shopping choices or to guide anyone else anymore, someone will need to carry on my beliefs about caring for the environment. The lessons they learn now will take them into the future.
- We need MORE people to care. I believe children are the future. They are the ones that will unite together to form a larger group of people who care if we teach them young. They can teach others as well.
- Kids have such unbridled passion. I remember seeing my daughter learn about being a good steward of the earth. She is still shouting it from the mountaintops. Young people have such vigor for what they believe in. I believe she is changing the world and I believe SHE can change our future.
- If they don’t take care of it, there may be nothing left. As quickly as we see the environment changing, we may not have much time left to make a change. If we don’t get as many people on board as we can now, it may be too late when these children are grown.
- It’s fun. Thinking of creative ways to care for the environment around us can be made into a game. It’s like a puzzle trying to figure out the best ways to make a difference. Kids can make it more fun for us as we teach them that it’s a pleasure to make this choice!
- It helps kids think about something outside of themselves. It’s never too early to teach children their wants and needs aren’t the most important thing. It teaches them empathy and patience if we show them that materialism is not good for anyone. Learning where many of our products come from is a big eye-opener for kids and adults.
It’s a great and valuable lesson to teach children or other adults why these issues matter. Making small changes is a great way to take baby steps in making a different future than we are headed for now. Think of one thing you can do today to change the future and invite some kids to do it with you. You will plant a seed in them that will make a difference in our world for generations.
Eco-Friendly Tips to Use With Kids
These are eco-friendly tips you can use in your home to show your kids ways to help the planet.
- Start using reusable shopping bags.
- Bring your own cup instead of getting a disposable one.
- Serve food on real washable dishes and can the paper and Styrofoam products.
- Chose glass as often as you can and recycle it when you’re finished using it. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and lasts nearly forever in a landfill.
- Turn your heat or air two degrees cooler in winter and warmer in summer to save valuable resources. You might not even notice two degrees.
- Start composting your food scraps for your garden or your neighbor’s.
- Buy from bulk bins using your own containers to save packing. If you don’t have bulk bins, buy the biggest package possible so there is less packaging involved.
- Use as little soap, shampoo, detergent, etc. as it takes to get the job done. Start by trying to use half and see if things are still getting as clean.
There are many more things that can be super effective. Check into it and make small changes today!
Books for Teaching Kids About the Environment
Reading books about the environment to kids is a great way to help teach kids about the environment. These are some great options to start with.
Look for these books at a local bookstore or your library. Amazon links are used in case you can't find them in a better way.
A Kid's Guide to Saving the Planet: It's Not Hopeless and We're Not Helpless
A great guide that is positive and can help kids learn how to save the plant.
I Am Jane Goodall: Ordinary People Change the World Series
Learn all about Jane Goodall and how she has changed the world.
Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do
An encouraging and comprehensive illustrated nonfiction guide introducing children to the important topic of climate change with clear facts and positive solutions.
Lonely Planet Kids 101 Small Ways to Change the World
101 Small Ways to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond!
Zero Waste Kids: Hands-On Projects and Activities to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Zero Waste Kids features fun and easy illustrated projects and activities that will help your family reduce, reuse, and recycle at home, at school, and in your community.
For more information on Little Sprouts Learning Garden please visit our website.
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Ida Bean says
Great list of ways to get the next generation invested.
Great article. We need more people teaching our children to love and respect the earth.
I have always been passionate about teaching kids to respect the environment. When mine were young, they recycled and gardened with me regularly. Now as teens, the roll their eyes a bit when I talk about eco friendly living and organic food but hopefully when they get to be adults they will remember my lessons!