Sustainability is a vital conversation at the moment, as the global climate emergency deepens and public opinions on environmental policy shift towards greener living. Our children are likely to grow up in a world where sustainability is a crucial practice, and teaching them what that means from an early age is a great way to prepare them for that – but how might you teach sustainability in an engaging way?
In this article
Involve Them in Gardening
Gardening is an excellent gateway to teaching your little ones about all manner of topics relating to the environment and sustainability. Through creating a mini allotment in your garden, you can introduce your children to the life cycle of plants, and in harvesting vegetables, the basics of self-sustained living. You could even start polytunnel gardening if you have the space, enabling you and your kids to grow to produce year-round, or grow Mediterranean produce in the summer – hence teaching them the concept of climate.
Local environmental groups often hold volunteering events and meet-ups, which you could bring your children to in order to participate and even meet other children. Exercises like litter-picking can be used as an entryway to talking about waste, and the importance of responsibility when it comes to throwing things away. Restorationists might hold volunteering sessions in rural areas related to rewilding, presenting an active and engaging way for the young ones to learn about nature and the importance of preserving wild spaces. Even an afternoon spent cleaning up the local park, just you and your children, can teach an important lesson about agency and responsibility, and doing the right thing for the local environment.
Teach Them the Three ‘R’s
Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. These three Rs are the bedrock of sustainable living in the average UK household, and teaching your children early about what each word means can help them understand the effect of certain home activities on the environment. You can involve them in practical applications of each term, as well: show them that their re-usable lunch boxes are a form of reducing waste; host a fun crafternoon using waste cardboard and packaging from produce and deliveries; have them help you separate and break down recycling waste before bin collection day.
Introduce Little Habits
The small things can make a big impression on a child, and make for a brilliant way to make sustainable living a part of their everyday. Even something as small as ensuring they don’t leave the tap running while brushing their teeth can form an important lesson, and turning off their bedroom light when they aren’t using it can be an effective way to demonstrate saving energy.