How to Get Your Children Interested in the Environment
14th August 2016
Children possess a natural curiosity about the world that will only diminish if it is not nurtured. Harnessing this curiosity, and teaching your child about the environment is best started at a young age, in order to instill a sense of wonder in them that will last a lifetime.
Why is developing a child’s interest in nature so important? Our children are the generation that must deal with the consequences of current threats to the planet’s well being, and will be responsible for tackling these issues in the future. Not only that, but encouraging kids to go outside and be in tune with nature may also encourage them to put down their electronics, and take a step into the outdoors.
Go on explorer walks
Take your kids on walks round parks, forests or local nature reserves. Don’t try and make these outings too controlled; let your children stop to investigate something of interest, and allow them to lead the walk (just remember to bring a map!). Why not turn it into a game and get the whole family pretending to be explorers? Buy your kids some binoculars and notebooks, and encourage them draw or write about what they see. With a little time and research, you could make a quiz, getting your kids to tick off species as they spot them, almost like a homemade nature trail.
Collect and create
It’s not enough just looking at nature if children don’t interact with it. Encourage your child to take pictures of places you visit and to draw the insects and birds they see. Have them collect items from the environment e.g. shells, twigs, leaves. Couple this with the act of creation by having an art session at home, using the collected materials to make a 3D picture. Put these photos and artworks on the family fridge for everyone to enjoy.
Practice what you preach
Children learn by example, and if they live in a home where the environment is appreciated and well looked after, this may inspire them to follow suit. Make sure you turn lights off, don’t use energy unnecessarily, and try to recycle as much as possible. More importantly, tell your kids why you run the home that way.
Learn from home
You don’t always have to venture away from home to learn about the environment. Simply encouraging your kids to play in the garden as much as possible is a great way to inspire them to appreciate nature, as well as giving them a dose of exercise. Let them play outdoors, whatever the weather – don’t make them fearful of the elements.
Another idea is to create a family allotment, either in your garden, or elsewhere. Letting your kids get mucky and grow vegetables from seed to plant can be very effective at teaching your kids about the ebb and flow of the seasons. Once the food is grown, get the family to make a meal together; children are more likely to be receptive of the message you’re trying to get across when they can see the fruits of what the environment can provide.
Discuss the big questions
Children are never too young to consider and discuss environmental problems – just present the issues in an easy-to-understand manner. Also, don’t aim to scare your child, rather encourage them to think of possible solutions. Maybe even try and actively engage them in some solutions, for example, adopting an endangered animal and reading the updates together.
Here at Tiny World, we hope to nurture and develop the curiosity of the children in our care. We have served the Nottingham and Mansfield areas for over 30 years, providing our children with a happy atmosphere to develop their own interests in the process. Get in contact today to arrange a visit to one of our nurseries.