7 activities to make children environmentally aware
Such a big future in such small hands: the fate of the environment crosses every generation, which is why it is necessary to educate the children of today to become the conscious adults of tomorrow.
Informing and raising young children awareness on the subject of environmental sustainability is an activity that starts at home and then develops in educational contexts such as primary and secondary schools.
What is environmental education?
The history and developments of the relationship between man and the environment, what happens or can happen when the elements of the ecosystem interact with human beings: environmental education speaks of current events, embracing topics such as sustainability and economics, culture and civic education.
Nowadays, environmental education projects are part of the 2030 Agenda, and thus part of the sustainable development goals proposed by the UN. During the next eight years, it will be crucial for parents and educators to mobilise young people towards responsible action, adopting the right methods and approaches for different age groups.
Learning about the environment: the 7 activities of education for sustainability
1. Explaining sustainability
Talking and answering 'But why?' is indispensable to stimulate curiosity and introduce a sense of environmental responsibility in children, starting in their daily lives. Every sustainable activity carried out by parents, whether it is switching off the light or sorting waste, serves as an example for young children and should be accompanied by engaging and entertaining explanations. Environmental documentaries and dedicated books are useful tools to stimulate children's interest in protecting the planet.
2. Experiencing nature
Loving the environment means learning to respect it. Nature walks bring huge benefits to children, stimulating their senses, creativity and intuition. When children grow up close to a sustainable environment, spending their free time cycling, in the countryside or at the lake, they develop a great sensitivity to the environment that accompanies them on the road to becoming responsible adults.
3. Playing with recycling
Organising activities and games on the topic of waste separation can help children understand the importance of environmental protection and how to dispose of waste. Today, there are real board games to learn how to sort waste, but it is also possible to create do-it-yourself games to make a Sunday afternoon at home even more fun.
4. Educate to saving
Young children fail to perceive the importance of saving. It often happens that they let the water run out of the taps or the light switched on, broadening their family's environmental impact and also the bill. A game can be a useful tool to educate children about saving: whether at home or at school, using colourful post-it notes to remind them to turn off the light, telling stories or providing rewards can reinforce positive behaviour
5. Loving animals
Education to respect and love for all forms of life is indispensable during childhood. Getting to know animals and plants enables children to develop the empathy they need to grow up with healthy and genuine values. In addition to the presence of pets in the home, it can be useful and very educational to take the little ones on an educational visit to the farm, show them how honey is made or how cows are milked.
6. Recycling with art
School crafts are popular activities for children, but they can also be good for the environment! Making DIY works using only waste materials, such as bottles or plastic caps, combines fun, learning and sustainability. Creative recycling workshops involve children, teach the art of saving money and stimulate creativity: all you need is paper, cardboard, everyday objects and a pair of scissors with a rounded tip!
7. Getting around on foot or public transport
Using environmentally friendly means of transport is important for developing a sustainable consciousness in children, and also boosts their immune system! Walking to school or the park, cycling or travelling by train increases road safety and turns the journey into a real educational playtime.