Fifteen Ways to Inspire Our Children to Take Care of the Earth

Micaela Preston
January 17, 2013

"Look at our fresh, organic compost we made it!!" That's what my seven-year-old said to a neighbor last year as we were preparing our garden. Why does a young kid like him give a hoot about a pile of dirt? Because he's grown up learning about the importance of taking care of our earth and what he can do to help, that's why. 

I say it's never too early to start talking green to your kids. Even if they're too young to express much, it's sinking in. Then one day they'll say something out of the blue like, "Let's put this in the recycling box," as my three-year-old recently did when he found a plastic bottle on the ground.

There are lots of little things you can do with your kids to plant the seed about caring for our planet.

At the toddler/preschool age, start small by modeling eco-friendly actions and explaining the simple things.

 

  • Let them help pick out fruits and veggies at the grocery store
  • Take them to a farmer's market
  • Visit a farm
  • Go on nature hikes
  • Turn the water off when they brush their teeth and explain why
  • Read simple books about caring for the earth
  • Pick up trash in the neighborhood
  • Make crafts out of recycled materials

 

By elementary school (and maybe even earlier depending on your child), kids are ready for more action and even more information.

 

  • Let them separate the recycling
  • Teach them to cook using whole foods
  • Talk to them about where our food comes from
  • Plant a garden give them their own plot!
  • Read books about eco-friendly topics like recycling or organic farming
  • Give them the responsibility for turning off lights in the house
  • Get them involved in earth-friendly volunteer efforts like recycling projects or community trash pick-up events

 

This list is just a starting point. Keep teaching green values to your kids one day at a time, and rest assured, it will sink in. Who knows? You may even end up with a tree-hugging, compost-loving kid like mine!

Originally published in 2008. 

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

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