Educate them early: green learning opportunities for kids

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This post originally appeared on the JustGreen Community website.

“Where on earth did my child learn that?”  If you’re a parent, it sounds like something you said…um…yesterday??

It’s not until later, when you catch yourself saying/doing the exact same thing, that the influence behind your child’s new habit becomes apparent. They learned it from you! Make sure that your kids are emulating the right kinds of behaviors: green ones. After all, our future generations will also impact climate change and sustainability efforts!

Below, find some of our top ideas for teaching your kids about a lower carbon footprint:

Recyclable crafts:  You likely have a ton of craft materials just lying around your home. Inspire some creativity and create a craft box for those rainy days! PBS has some great suggestions here.

Get Outdoors: It’s an easy temptation to plop the kids in front of a movie or video game console on a Saturday afternoon. Resist the urge to zone out in front of the tube and get up, get out and get active!

Keep a Butterfly Garden: Your kids will be awed by the magic of nature, and you’ll have a chance to contribute to your local eco-system when you release the adult butterflies into the wild! There is an endless variety of butterfly garden kits available online, or possibly at your local nursery. Be sure that you order a breed of butterfly that will survive and flourish in your geographical region and climate.

Go on a Nature Hike: Our planet is a pretty incredible place. Do your kids know it? Take them on a nature hike or a family bike ride. Even most big cities have a nature oasis or two. Conduct some research online to find out where they are in your neighborhood or community.

Eat Sustainably: Skip the drive-thru and opt for some greener grub for the family dinner table. Chances are, the eating habits you instill in your kids from an early age will last well into adulthood.

Start a Garden: Growing an at-home veggie or herb garden is a great way to offset carbon emissions from traditional grocery shopping, and it also teaches your kids about living and eating green! You may be surprised at how calming, as well as rewarding, it can be to get in touch with Mother Earth!

Maintain an Aquarium: Keeping an aquarium can be a beautiful hobby, and they’re a wonderful way to teach your children about the delicacy of our underwater ecosystems. Start small, with easy-to-care-for fish, such as goldfish or guppies.

Set the Example: Do you always recycle? Do you turn off the lights when you leave a room? How water-conscious are you while in the kitchen or bathroom? As any parent will attest, it’s pretty incredible what your kids see and pick up on. Be sure you’re making positive, eco-friendly impressions! Be sure to explain carbon offsetting, “go green” habits, and eco-friendly lifestyle choices to your children at an early age.

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