Earth Day 1999
         By getting our children involved in Earth-friendly practices when they are
young, we have a better chance in making sure that these activities will
become second nature as they grow up.

         Children of all ages can contribute to the family, the neighborhood, the
community, and the Earth. Here are but a few approaches that families can
take to make their children aware of their need to be part of solutions to
environmental concerns that we have:
         An activity that is easy to practice at home is sorting recyclable materials.
This process is an important skill that is a precursor to learning how to read and
         Youngsters’  imaginations can invent new uses for otherwise used-up
containers and boxes. What kinds of games can they create? Empty boxes and
other containers can be kept from going into landfill if they become part of your
children’s play activities.

         As school-aged children tire of their toys, games, books, and other
possessions, perhaps they can make arrangements with friends and classmates
to trade objects among themselves. In so doing, they learn how to keep these
items from making their way to landfill. Perhaps more importantly, they can learn
that they do not have to rely on new and/or expensive items for satisfaction.

         Children have a natural affinity for animals. It is in this area that they can
find many activities to encourage the proliferation of the fauna in their
environment: making a bird feeder or birdbath is simple. Flowers can be planted
to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Many zoo programs have programs
through which people can “adopt” animals to help in their care.

         Most important in this area is our attitude in working with children on the
things that all of us can do to improve our environment. It is our responsibility to
lead them to understand that our actions are part of a larger cooperative effort
that can make a difference.

         My favorite children’s book on this topic is written to help them understand 
how they fit into the complex cycle of nature. It is 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do
to Save the Earth.
         This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A  Teacher’s Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson