Most of us are aware of the climate crisis, and it can be really difficult to explain to our children when they ask questions about what’s happening and what their future holds if we don’t all try to take some action.
There are thankfully, some super positive ways we can encourage eco-friendly behaviour in children, babies and toddlers.
1. Eat Your Greens!
Teaching children about food, where it comes from and how it grows, can be really inspiring and fascinating to little minds. At meal times, I’ve chatted with my daughter from an early age about all the amazing vitamins and minerals that are in fruits and vegetables that help her body be strong and healthy. Turn greens into superheroes so that your children want to eat them and learn about them. Focus on colour and how eating lots of different colours is best. Healthy eating isn’t just helpful to young growing bodies, but learning about where our food comes from and even growing your own at home can lead to children having a happier and healthier future, as well as benefiting the environment long term. Maybe as a family you could set yourself a challenge to choose to eat less meat, or even go vegetarian or vegan if you felt you could do that.
2. Pick it Up!
Spend a few pounds on a litter picker and turn walks into green missions to find and pick up planet spoiling litter as you go. We try to do this regularly, and it was a great opportunity to talk about how damaging waste is to animals and if it ends up in the sea, and how important it is to use bins, take rubbish home and recycle what we can. Go armed with rubber gloves and bin bags, and make sure children don’t touch any litter with their hands though.
3. Let it Grow!
Try growing plants or your own food at home. It can be anything from juicy tomatoes to cheery sunflowers. You just need seeds and a sunny patch of soil in a pot or ground to have a go. Children will be fascinated watching and waiting for seeds to sprout, or flowers and fruit to appear. A few children who attend Nature Makers classes are entering our Sunflower Growing Competition. Join in if you would like by following the information on the website page!
4. Plastic-free Fun!
So many toys for children are unfortunately made from plastic, but it is easier than ever before to find great wooden and plastic-free toys as more toy companies offer eco-friendly options. If you find the prices a little higher than you can afford, consider heading to the charity shops - a lot of toys get donated that are still in brilliant condition, and you can often find some amazing things. I have bought my daughter toys from the charity shops or second (even third) hand, and if it’s plastic, at least it’s reused plastic rather than buying new. You’ll often save a lot of money too! For birthdays, Nature Makers do parties using all environmentally friendly art materials and can even sort plastic-free party bags! Contact your local Nature Makers activity provider in any location across the country to discuss a party package that works for you.
With thanks to the author of this blog, Becki, our Activity Provider for Lichfield & Walsall.