Each year in April, hundreds of people step out into the sunshine to plant trees, drop off their recycling, and maybe buy a reusable grocery bag or two in honor of Earth Day. Within Collin County alone, several spring festivals and Earth Day events take place to remind people to take care of our planet and ring in spring with kite flying and local foods.
These educational and fun family activities are so needed and so well received from community members, but what if we did more for our Earth than just celebrate a holiday once every 365 days? What if we raised our kids to be Earth-conscious human beings into adulthood instead?
4 Simple Ways to Raise Earth-Conscious Kids
1. Go play outside!
The most obvious way to get children to care about our planet is to encourage them to spend time outdoors. And this isn’t just for the kids. Grown-ups can get so much out of being outside for even 20 minutes every day! Take a walk through your neighborhood, kick a ball around in your backyard, or explore a new corner of your favorite park. Whatever your level of “oudoorsy” is, go do that! Even if it’s just sitting on your porch and drinking tea in the sunshine. You’ll feel so good after some quality time outdoors.
2. Teach your kids about animals.
This can sometimes be a bit challenging in a busy city, but we like to take the opportunity whenever we can to visit Collin County farmers markets, the zoo, and even petting zoos. Teaching children about different animals can give them a sense of respect and compassion for other creatures and their needs. By learning about animals, their habitats, and their food, children can learn about what they can do to protect the earth that we and these animals live on. They see firsthand that taking care of our planet is about much more than themselves.
3. Plant something.
This is one we are trying as a family right now. We have exactly one little plant that we’re (attempting) to grow from seed in hopes of having a few pretty blooming flowers by the end of spring. This single plant can show my children how plants need good soil, water, and sunshine to grow. And giving them a hands-on opportunity to plant, water, and care for something in our own home can teach them that they have a direct impact on nature.
4. Incorporate green or reusable items in your daily life.
Are you a frequent plastic user? Do you tend to use disposable coffee cups or water bottles? I won’t say I’m 100% zero waste because that kind of commitment is HARD, but I can say that our family has incorporated more environmentally-friendly materials in our lives where we can. We use reusable glass food storage containers and stainless steel coffee and water tumblers instead of plastic water bottles and paper cups. And when we do use something disposable while out and about, I make a point to tell my boys that it’s important to clean up after ourselves. Trash in the trash can and recyclables in the recycle bin, even if it’s not “your” trash. Because we all hate going to a park or driving around our neighborhoods and seeing litter along the tree lines.