Sparking Youth Environmental Action

Green Tips | July 26, 2019

The effects of climate change, like extreme weather events and sea-level rise, will impact the lives of the next generation in significant ways. While today’s youth is relatively socially and environmentally conscious, it’s never too early to get kids engaged and thinking about environmental values. With all of the distractions that kids have today, it can be challenging to peak their interest, especially with concepts that are abstract or difficult to grasp. That’s why we’ve put together some family-friendly tips to get kids engaged in the environment.

Start a family garden: There is no better way to get your child involved in nature and sustainability than giving them the chance to dig in the dirt and see the fruits of their work. Gardens are a great, low-risk, low-cost project that can be educational and fun for the whole family. Start with some easy to grow plants and work your way up, showing your child how to properly care for their garden. If you live in an urban area or don’t have enough room for a garden, consider planting in a pot on your balcony or joining a community garden!

Get out and explore: When teaching kids about nature and the environment, it is crucial to move beyond the abstract and give kids first-hand experience with nature. Especially while the warm weather lasts, get out and explore with your child, whether at a State or City park, beach, or trail. Try creating a scavenger hunt or hiking game to keep kids invested and interested during outings or attend a kid-friendly community event at your local park. Take it to the next level and plan a camping trip or do a beach clean up to teach kids about littering and pollution. With so much green space and opportunity for adventure in New York, you can’t go wrong!

Read environmentally themed books: Reading with your child is widely known to be one of the best ways to help them develop crucial language and cognitive skills – why not incorporate some environmental education into these key learning moments? Books like The Lorax, The Tiny Seed, or Hello World are fun, easy reads that will leave your kids with lasting lessons about Earth and their role in helping to protect the planet. Pay a visit to your local library for more ideas!

Incentivize eco-friendly habits: Sometimes it can be hard for kids to contextualize and fully grasp the importance of how their actions impact the environment. By turning eco-friendly habits like recycling or picking up litter into a game, or offering rewards for sustainable behavior, you can help your kid develop crucial habits and practices early on. Check out NASA’s Climate Kids site for some kid-friendly games and activities that promote sustainability.

Nature-themed art projects: Next time you’re trapped inside on a rainy day, consider bringing the outside in! There are endless possibilities for nature-based art projects that will entertain your kids for hours and let them interact with natural objects, like leaves, rocks, and branches. A bonus is that it’s free! Check out some inspiration here.

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