3 Environmental Activities for Kids to Nurture a Love of Nature
With the ever-present distraction of TV screens and digital entertainment, it can be hard to get children outdoors and into nature. Getting fresh air and exercise isn’t just important for kids’ physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, but also the ideal tonic for parents who are feeling stressed and burnt out. We’ve put together some fun ideas for activities to do with your children outside that help teach about sustainability and the environment whilst encouraging children to love outdoor play!
With Spring just around the corner, now is the ideal time to start sowing seeds and tending to the garden. This is a great activity to get kids involved with and requires minimal equipment or experience. Check the individual seed packets for specific instructions for each type of seed, including when to plant, where to plant it, and how to care for the young seedlings.
Children love getting their hands dirty and enjoying the sensory experience of being outdoors. Get them to help by filling pots with compost, or preparing the ground for seeds, and then planting the seeds out according to the instructions. Keep children involved by checking on the plants, watering them, and observing the changes as they grow.
Whilst doing this activity, you can teach children about the plant life cycle, and why they are important for bees, insects and other wildlife. Encourage children to observe the world around them by looking at the different types of plants and their characteristics – their shapes, colours, and sizes.
Discuss how some plants are edible and others are not, allow children to smell and touch and explore the garden (under adult supervision) and ask them what types of plants they like and why. Doing so will nurture a positive, caring relationship with the natural world from a young age and teach children the importance of protecting the environment.
Dealing with waste
Teaching children about recycling and how we deal with rubbish is an essential part of raising eco-conscious individuals. Whenever possible, allow children to help sort rubbish for recycling. Ideally, use labelled or colour-coded bins so children can learn about the different materials we recycle and why it is important to recycle rather than send rubbish to landfill sites. Children will enjoy getting involved and being given a level of responsibility (just avoid letting young children handle metal cans with sharp edges or glass jars which could cut if smashed!).
If you have space outdoors for a compost heap this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, putting nutrients from waste food back into your garden and your local ecosystem. Composting teaches children about what happens to organic matter as it decays, and the difference between natural and man-made materials, and how these impact our environment.
Having your own compost heap to use for sowing seeds is a wonderful way to teach children about the full cycle of growth, death and the life cycle in the natural world, whilst working in a sustainable way.
Arts & crafts using natural materials
Doing arts and crafts at home doesn’t require any expensive or elaborate materials. You can use natural resources found in the garden or on a walk to do some fun creative activities that are environmentally friendly. Here’s a few ideas you can try:
We hope these ideas for environmental activities to do with children have inspired you to get outdoors and enjoy nature with your kids! For more fun ideas to keep the kids entertained, join us on social media and our YouTube channel.
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Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for Green Bean Studios.
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