Every day, nature offers us the opportunity to be better. The real question is: What efforts are we putting in to protect nature?
School is an important time to begin talking to students about sustainability. To see any change, it has become imperative to build a sustainable mindset in young minds which includes practices such as reducing carbon emissions, conserving natural resources and promoting social equity. Developing a sustainable mindset in children will empower a generation that is aware of their environment and is ready to protect it.
Here are ten engaging activities to inspire a sustainable mindset in children.
Gardening is a hands-on outdoor activity that teaches kids about soil, water, and nature’s diversity through plants. When kids pick what to grow, they learn to care for and appreciate nature. Get involved with your children in gardening projects to help them understand its significance. During this time, highlight the benefits of sustainability to them – from growing your produce to recycling waste.
Recycle and Reuse
We can instil a sustainable mindset in children by encouraging them to recycle and reuse everyday items at home. Here are some steps we can guide them through:
- Reuse old cardboard boxes, old clothes, and plastic containers for craft or science work
- Cut down on buying products with extra packaging and unnecessary plastics.
- Reuse old blankets, socks and colourful clothes to make soft toys, bags, creative furniture covers, pillow covers, etc.
- Avoid printing on paper unless very necessary and print on both sides if required.
Inculcating these habits will help them develop a sustainable mindset.
Going on nature walks will help children appreciate the beauty of the environment. As they walk, ask them to observe the diverse group of plants, animals and the little organisms that exist around them.
Ask them to capture their observations in a nature journal. This will raise their awareness of the challenges that exist in the environment and how our actions impact them.
Also Read: Teaching Kids to Save Paper
Engage children in building DIY projects such as bird feeders, plastic bottle planters, mini indoor greenhouses, etc. using recycled material. This will help them bond with nature as well as build their ability to think creatively.
It will also help them understand the value of repurposing used items, reducing wastage and conserving resources.
Planting trees is a social responsibility that helps build awareness towards a common goal. Involving children in tree-planting activities helps them understand the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem. When they plant trees, they develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment which builds a sustainability mindset.
Also Read: Teaching Kids to Save Water
Make a compost bin
A great way to demonstrate the value of composting to kids is by assisting them in creating a compost bin. By observing organic materials transform into nutrient-rich soil, they will grasp the benefits of composting. Take a moment to explain what can go into the compost bin. Composting involves adding both green and brown materials to the bin. Some examples of brown materials include:
- dry leaves
- wood chips
- shredded paper (newspaper, paper bags, writing paper, etc.)
- small twigs
- shredded cardboard (without a waxy coating)
Some examples of green materials include:
- grass clippings
- Fruit and vegetable food scraps
- egg shells
- coffee grounds
- manure (cow, horse, sheep, chicken, etc.)
Building knowledge will help children become mindful of what and how they dispose of waste.
Teach children the importance of conserving water by making them aware of practices such as:
- Rainwater harvesting
- Storing water in buckets and tubs for use in washrooms
- Attending to leaky faucets and repairs as soon as possible
- Avoiding frequent laundry
- Taking short showers in the summers
- Filling half a glass of water to drink and refill if required
Helping children understand the importance of water conservation early on will inspire them to develop a sustainable mindset towards saving water.
Food waste audit
Research indicates that when food is wasted, it squanders water, fuel, money, and labor invested in its production. Food waste in landfills generates methane, harmful to the environment and climate. Therefore, fostering a mindset to minimise food wastage is crucial.
Conducting a food waste audit at home is the first step to building this mindset.
Have children record their daily food wastage. This should include making a note of the food type and the quantity wasted every day across all the meals. They should also keep track of whether the food was composted or thrown in the garbage. Tracking this will help them take steps to prevent food wastage.
Volunteer in community groups
Encourage children to participate in local community initiatives, such as tree planting drives, beach clean-ups, or creating community gardens.
This will foster a sustainable mindset as well as build a sense of responsibility for their surroundings.
Pack a waste-free lunchbox
A child’s packed school lunch creates about 3kg of waste per child each year. With the multitude of schools and students enrolled in India, this activity results in tons of waste annually. Transitioning to eco-friendly alternatives could significantly impact our landfills.
To build a sustainable mindset in children, involve your child in packing their lunch box along with you. Keep the following in mind when packing lunch for your kids:
- No plastic, no foils, no zip-lock bags and no packaged food.
- Get a non-toxic, durable lunch box with a variety of compartments instead of using paper bags.
- Use reusable smaller containers or reusable snack bags to hold snacks
- Avoid juice boxes or pouches. Use a reusable stainless steel water bottle to carry water or juices.
- Pack in biodegradable or reusable cutlery
- Skip disposable napkins and pack in washable napkins
- Carry home any food waste or scraps and throw them into the compost bin at home.
Making these little changes will help children build a sustainable mindset.
At EuroSchool we believe that building a sustainable mindset in children will enable them to make environmentally friendly decisions as they grow into responsible adults.
Implementing these fun activities can inspire children to love and care for the Earth, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.