Better World

3 tips to raise an eco-conscious child

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We all want our kids to inherit a healthy planet, but it can feel overwhelming figuring out where to start—and figuring out how to find the time to help ensure they have a healthy planet to grow up on. As Earth Day approaches (and as ominous climate change information shows up more and more frequently in the news) though, it’s time to commit to taking action.

The secret is to start at home. Raising kids who appreciate nature and understand how to protect the environment will lead to a new generation of people who factor those values into the decisions they make throughout their lives. Start with these activities to show your kids that taking environmental action and “going green” can be fun, and can easily fit into your everyday lives.

Find new uses for old items

For example, turn an old cardboard box into a rocket ship with crayons and a little imagination—and while your kids get ready to blast off, talk to them about how it helps the Earth when we reuse things we might otherwise just get rid of.

Using old clothes for dress-up, cutting up magazines for art projects—there are lots of creative ways to teach kids to reuse things, rather than constantly getting more new stuff!

Tote matching bags

Pick up a few plain canvas tote bags at the dollar store, and use them instead of plastic bags when you go shopping. They can be personalized and decorated with fabric paint or markers, and they’ll serve as a reminder to make environmentally friendly choices every time your family goes to the store.

While decorating the bags, you can brainstorm ways to make your shopping as climate-friendly as possible. For example, choosing products with no packaging (or 100% recyclable packaging) is better for the environment. Dry detergents are often preferable because liquid detergents are heavier (which causes more greenhouse gases to be released when transporting them to the store) and waste a lot of packaging space with water. Using the canvas tote bags helps eliminate the need for paper or plastic grocery bags, as well as other containers like individual plastic bags in the produce department. What are some other environmentally conscious shopping choices your family can make?

Make a DIY bird feeder

Making early connections to the natural world is shown to help kids grow a lifelong respect and love for nature. What’s some of the easiest nature for kids to connect to? The birds right outside our windows.

You can make a recycled bird feeder with your kids out of an old plastic bottle. Just carefully cut holes in the sides, fill the bottle with bird seed, and put in some plastic spoons for the birds to rest on. You might consider hanging it outside your child’s bedroom window so they can check on it every morning.

Talking about the reasons behind these eco-conscious acts on a regular basis helps our kids make the connection between little things we can do every day, and how it helps the environment. Big or small, we can all do our part!

Looking for more ways to teach your kids about the environment? Check out our script for talking to kids about climate change, and our calendar of environmental activities including fun lessons (what kid doesn’t want to learn how one family turns poop into electricity?), games, and great energy-saving tips.

ParentsTogether is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit community of over 3 million parents, caregivers, and advocates working together to make the world a better place for all children and families.