Learning to care for the environment should not be simply part of the school’s science program. Parents can teach their children about the environment through family choices; children can learn to care for their environment even before they understand the reasons behind what they are doing, going beyond just recycling paper and cans.
Teach your children the basics in caring for the environment. Explain to your children the reasons behind your decision to recycle or why you use canvas bags at the grocery stores. Go beyond teaching; learn to be more environmentally friendly as a family. For instance, learn how to build a compost to recycle kitchen and lawn debris and improve the soil in your flower and vegetable gardens.
Teach your children how personal choices can affect the environment. Walk or bike instead of drive to a nearby friend’s house or store. Reduce the amount of time spent on electronic items, then turn them off when they are not being used. Giving gently worn clothes to organizations that give aid to homeless, as well as buying second-hand clothes, impacts the environment.
Visit Nature Centers
Take your children to visit local nature centers; these can include wildlife parks, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, nature trails or natural museums. Nature centers allow visitors to learn more about the earth’s different ecosystems and how they affect our lives. The National Environmental Education Week has listings for over 2,000 nature centers in the United States.
There are websites that provide children with ways to learn about the environment and what they can do to impact it. The Public Broadcast System’s EekoWorld (Environmental Education for Kids Online) and Kids R Green are two colorful and fun interactive websites that allow children to explore the world around them.
Teach your children how to use what they have learned about the environment through volunteering at a recycling center. Contact your city to see when there are scheduled clean up days at local parks. You don’t have to wait for an official clean up day; take your family to a park and spend the day picking up trash.