With Earth Day just around the corner, you may be wondering how you can celebrate the holiday with your kids. Not only that, you likely want to find ways to encourage them to be eco-conscious kids and give them ways to help the earth year-round.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this. If you’re wondering how to show the importance of nature to kids, this is the article for you. Here we will talk about teaching nature awareness to your kids and giving them the tools to make a difference.
Let’s get started.
How to Get Your Kids Involved in Nature
First, let’s talk about some ways you can get your kids involved in nature. Doing this helps your children make a connection with the earth, giving them more motivation to do their part in ensuring the ecosystem is happy and healthy.
Taking a family camping trip is a great way to get the kids outside exploring nature. While on your trip, avoid screen time and encourage as much outside play as possible. Go hiking or swimming, observe the stars, and really make a point of connecting with nature.
Visit State and National Parks
Another great option for raising eco-conscious kids is to visit state and national parks. These places tend to be particularly beautiful, meaning your kids are very likely to fall in love with nature while visiting them. We recommend planning at least one state or national park visit during every camping trip or vacation, and visiting the ones near your home as often as possible.
Get Active Outside
Making a point of getting outside and doing active things together is another great way to get kids involved in nature. Take hikes as a family, go kayaking or canoeing, or take up rock climbing. Whatever you do, use this time to get up close and personal with the plants and animals all around you.
Helping Them Be Aware of Nature
Visiting outdoor locations and doing things outside is great, but it’s only the first step. The next step is helping your kids be eco-conscious by showing them just how important the plants and animals around us are and how crucial it is that we care for them.
Do Junior Ranger Programs
We mentioned state and national parks above. While you’re at these parks, ask about junior ranger programs. All national parks offer a junior ranger program, and some state parks do as well.
These programs involve working through an activity book as you make your way through the park in order to earn a badge. This encourages kids to really pay attention as they explore the parks, and participants generally leave with some newfound knowledge about nature.
Even if there isn’t a junior ranger program in a place you decide to visit, you can still encourage the same sort of observation. Point out pretty birds and interesting animals, have the kids look for bugs or animal tracks, or do a nature scavenger hunt. These kinds of things help kids engage with their surroundings and make them more aware of the flora and fauna that call Earth home.
Hand Your Kids a Camera
Another great way to encourage kids to be more observant of their surroundings during outdoor activities is to hand them a camera. Kids love taking photos, and by handing them a camera, you are essentially asking them to find interesting things to take photos of.
Who knows? Maybe they’ll even notice something you don’t.
Read Books about Nature and Conservation
Reading together is an excellent way to connect with your kids and encourage literacy. By choosing the right books you can also teach lessons and instill values during storytime.
We particularly enjoy the following children’s books for teaching about conservation and creating eco-conscious kids:
- Don’t Let Them Disappear by Chelsea Clinton
- Bee & Me by Alison Jay
- 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh
- The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
- Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
- Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon
- Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau
Showing Your Kids How to Take Care of Nature
Finally, you will need to show your kids what they can do to take care of nature. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways little ones can help. Try some of the options below.
Read Park Rules Together
When you arrive at a state or national park, take a minute to check out the park rules. Read them with your kids and make sure they understand what they mean and why they’re in place.
Create a List of Nature Guidelines
Sometimes you might visit places that don’t have their own set of rules. For these times, we recommend creating a list of nature guidelines for your family. Ideally the list will include rules that should always be followed when out in nature, such as “Don’t litter” and “Don’t hang on tree branches.”
Do Conservation Projects Together
Finally, you will want to find some conservation projects to do together. This will help your little one understand that their actions do make a difference and will encourage them to develop helpful habits that will hopefully continue throughout their lives.
Some simple project ideas include:
- Picking up litter anytime you walk together.
- Planting trees in your community.
- Building a compost bin.
- Creating a pollinator habitat in your yard.
- Recycling regularly and helping your kids learn what is recyclable and what isn’t.
Raising eco-conscious kids isn’t too difficult, and if all parents do their part, the results will make an enormous difference when it comes to the health of our world. Pick and choose some of these activities and get started this Earth Day, making sure to keep your projects going long after the holiday has come and gone.
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