By getting our children involved in Earth-friendly practices when they
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
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
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
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