Raising the next generation of eco-heroes
Written by Hazel Barraclough
Our top four challenges to encourage our children to care more about the environment
As a mother of two young children (one and five years), I am conscious of how much children pick up from watching their parents and caregivers. We are their role models; they look up to us and copy what we do. Someday our children will be independent decision-makers (some sooner than others if they are anything like my 15-month-old!). What we are teaching them today will undoubtedly affect their day-to-day choices and habits when they are older.
I have put together my top four easy-to-apply fun eco-challenges to help the next generation of eco-heroes.
Reuse what you would throw away for craft activities
During lockdown we did A LOT of crafting activities to pass the long, long days. We got to about week two and I had run out of crafting supplies. So, there I was elbow deep in the recycling bin pulling out items we could use for crafts. Use old pizza boxes for learning letters, using the envelopes from your mail to draw on, old lollypop sticks to make fantastic homemade cards, fill empty eggshells with water and flowers to make a wonderful sensory toy for babies. Paper, cards, tubs, bottles, lids … everything can be turned into a work of art with a bit of imagination.
Make gardening a family activity
Gardening is a great family activity, you will all get fresh air, exercise and can encourage children to eat healthy by growing your own food. Eggshells are the perfect natural containers for growing seedlings in early spring. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant the shells straight in the ground.
Water butts are great for collecting rainwater and your children will enjoy watering all the plants. Go on a mini nature trail by painting the inside of an egg carton different colours and find items that match.
If you do not have a garden why not use some old yogurt pots to plant some cress seeds, these grow quickly and can be added to their lunch, they will be so proud they grew them all by themselves they might eat some healthy greens!
Picking up litter
When walking to nursery, the park, or the shops you are unfortunately bound to come across litter. Why not bring a bag and gloves with you and pick up the litter on your way, while your little one practices their counting? When you get home, this is a perfect opportunity to talk about what can and cannot be recycled. It might not seem much, but your children will soon learn to make sure they put litter in the bin.
Build a bug hotel
What better way to use your garden waste, old pieces of wood, tiles, and terracotta pots are the perfect materials you will need to build a bug hotel. Once assembled, ask your child to keep a log of its visitors, which could be anything from hedgehogs and toads to bees, creepy crawlies, and ladybirds.
There are so many more ways for children to learn about being eco-friendly so we can all leave the earth a better place for our children. These four activities are a great place to start!