Teaching kids to go green is a long-term investment. They learn to care about the world around them, to think about others, to think through their actions and the consequences and to get involved with their community. Getting kids excited about going green means getting them excited about their futures, their communities and the physical world around them.
When it comes to education, teamwork is key. Just as you encourage homework and read stories at home to support academic success, you can partner with your child’s teacher and school to supplement his green education. Find out what steps they are taking at school and adapt them to the home. If they are recycling at school, set up a recycling station. If they have taken on a gardening project, give your kids some more practice at home.
The concept of green education and living is overwhelmingly broad, ranging from energy efficiency to recycling to sustainable foods. Choose a simple project at home, instead of trying to tackle it all at once. If some of your light bulbs are starting to go out, now might be a good time to replace them with energy efficient bulbs. Teach your family to shut off lights and unplug items when they aren’t in use. Add another project only when the first feels natural.
Discuss the Impact
It’s important that kids know why they are doing these new things. Talk to them specifically about the impact we have on the earth, without scaring them with exaggerations or fears of the future. Be honest with them about what happens. Take them to a landfill or show them your energy bills to give them a visual of the changes that need to be made.
Make It Fun
Green education doesn’t have to be just another chore around the house. If you are recycling items, save some for a fun project. You can use plastic bottles for a bowling game or to feed the birds. Cardboard boxes can be large blocks. If your state has a rebate program for recycled cans, let your kids keep the cash. Give them a tangible benefit, no matter how small, and they will be more inclined to join the program.
Green education teaches kids good habits for the future. It also gets them involved, energizing them with possibilities. Green education is based on science, from biology to geology. Getting them personally involved in science now will excite them about the field later.