Talking about sustainability with your kids is important. And here’s the thing about today’s kids: if you don’t bring it up, they will. Even the youngest kids want to know what they can do to help protect the planet.
But it can be tricky knowing where to start the conversation. Instead of throwing out a bunch of boring facts and statistics, help kids learn about reducing their carbon footprint the way kids learn best: by doing it.
1. Take A “Trash Walk”
Picking up litter is a fun, simple and free activity that delivers an instant win. Next time you’re out for a walk, bring gloves and trash bags along and help your kids see the immediate impact of their actions. Encourage them by asking if they can think of other ways to take care of the spaces where we live.
2. Sing About The “3 R’s”
Nope, not those three. We’re talking about reduce, reuse and recycle. Singing is a really effective way to help kids learn. Kids can sing along with Jack Johnson’s The 3 R’s and learn how to make their sustainable actions even more effective. Learning about carbon footprint for kids can be fun!
3. Make Your Own Supplies
Kids love anything that feels “science-y” and involves scooping, pouring and stirring. This summer, help them get extra hands-on by making all-natural laundry detergent. Lab coats not included.
4. Design And Create A Mini-Greenhouse
Ask any gardener and they’ll tell you gardening is full of lessons. Not just lessons about how plants grow, but also about patience and responsibility. Making a mini-greenhouse with reused plastic cups is a great way to help kids learn about their carbon footprint and the longer term impact of the actions they take every day.
5. Gather Some Data
“Is OUR water polluted?” It’s a pretty common question kids ask when learning more about the environment and our impact on it. Help them answer with a simple and fun activity that helps them to be more aware of their environment and make connections with real-world, environmental issues. Take advantage of online resources, like Nasa Climate Kids and Teacher Vision, to help teach kids about the environment.
Learning about sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint can happen for kids in so many different ways. From recycling to gardening to being resourceful with the products we buy and items we use (and hopefully reuse), take a “use what you have” approach and make learning simple, fun and hands-on.