7 Hands-On Experiences to Help Kids Care About the Environment

The best way to help kids care about the environment is to let them experience what it is they are trying to save. Here are 7 Easy Hands-On Experiences to Help Kids Care About the Environment.

If we want future generations to be passionate about taking care of the planet they live on, they need first-hand experiences. Everything from learning about animals to planting a garden.

There are some very easy things we can do to help our children get up close and personal with the planet they live on. This creates teachable moments that will stick for, hopefully, years and generations to come.

7 Hands On Experiences to Help Kids Care About the Environment and Conservation

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Organic to spread the word about their campaign to send kids from the Boys and Girls Club to AZA accredited zoos and aquariums. This post may also contain affiliate links.

A while back I learned about Stonyfield‘s sponsorship of the Associate of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). I even wrote about how they are helping spread awareness about the AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction Program.

They have taken their support a step farther in an amazing way. Instead of just spreading the word, they are looking to create Future Leaders. The goal is to raise money to help kids from the Boys & Girls Club of America visit their local zoos and aquariums to experience these animals first-hand.

I’ll share more about the campaign later, but it got me thinking…

The real way to help our kids learn about their planet and become passionate about saving their environment is to give them hands on experiences. Give kids first-hand experiences and they will be more knowledgeable and care more about conservation and our environment.

The real way to help our kids learn about their planet and become passionate about saving their environment is to give them hands on experiences.

If we want future generations to be passionate about taking care of the planet they live on, they need first-hand experiences. Everything from learning about animals to planting a garden. There are some very easy things we can do to help our children get up close and personal with the planet they live on. This creates teachable moments that will stick for, hopefully, years and generations to come.

There are so many ways we can do this for our own kids. The key is to create memorable experiences, having a little fun, and teach them why we should care about helping our environment and animals around us.

7 Easy Hand-On Experiences to Help Kids Care about the Environment

7 Hands-On Experiences to Help Kids Care About the Environment

1 Pick Up Trash

Of all the hands-on experiences to help kids care about the environment, this may be the easiest one to do. We have all seen litter in many of our favorite areas. Just taking a walk through your neighborhood or visiting your favorite park, there are many places to find trash to clean up.

This may not sound fun to us as adults, but there are plenty of ways to make it fun for kids. Organizing the whole family or even friends to go out and clean up some trash can be fun. A box of trash bags, some gloves, and grabbers can go a long way to making it feel like an event. Bring some music, make a game out of it, race to see who can pickup the most.

When it is all done, admire your hard work and show the kids how much better things look. Tell them how proud they should feel and what an important job they did.

7 Ways to Help Kids Care About the Environment - Make picking up trash fun!

2 Volunteer

There are so many ways to get involved and volunteer with your kids. Volunteering gives your family a way to get first-hand experience with things others are doing to help our environment.

You can volunteer your time at an animal shelter, cleaning up areas of your town, collecting cans, helping on a farm, etc.

Just search for opportunities in your area. Google “volunteer” and your city, ask your schools if they have suggestions for programs, check with your church, or just ask when you come across someone doing something interesting to help.

3 Visit a Recycling Center

Help kids care about the environment by showing them how our old items can be transformed into something new.

We visit the recycling center in our area to dispose of paint and electronics, but we haven’t taken the kids. The building itself is full of information that is great to share with children. Often, there are pamphlets available, there are posters on the wall, and even display cases to show what types of items can be recycled and what are hazardous.

You can also purchase used paints and other products at the recycling center. Maybe you want to make your donation and then let the kids pick a new can of paint for a special project. A raised garden bed, a recycled object craft, etc…

If you call ahead of time, it’s possible that there may even be someone there to give a tour or answer questions. You never know until you ask.

Crafting with Trash - 7 Experiences to Help Kids Care About the Environment

4. Create an Art Project Out of Trash

It’s very fun to get creative with found objects. Instead of buying the kids craft supplies at the store, let them use their imagination with items normally thrown in the trash.

Not only is this a good teaching moment about the environment and creating less waste, but it also stimulates their creativity and problem solving. We all know I’m a huge proponent of the importance of play.

Our Little Guy recently found a craft idea in a Disney craft book for an R2-D2 made out of cans. We got right on board and let him raid the recycling bin, his dad helped him spray paint it, and he decorated it himself. It was really fun to watch him have full reign and get creative!

Better for Crafting than Trash

  • Milk jugs
  • Egg cartons
  • Cans
  • Cereal boxes
  • Plastic silverware
  • Junk mail
  • Bottle caps

5. Gardening

Gardening and composting are really fun for kids. They love getting dirty and it’s amazing for them to see their food grow. it’s a great learning experience.

Kids get to learn about where our food comes from and how it grows. It’s a good opportunity to also discuss healthy eating. Kids are definitely more likely to try health foods when they grow it or prepare it themselves. They can also learn about pesticides and organic foods. Last, they can learn about food waste and the impact of that on our environment.

Our kids have always loved to help in the garden. Admittedly, none of us know what we’re doing, but it’s fun to learn together. This year, we moved into a new house and didn’t have a garden ready yet, but even in small spaces you can grow food with the kids. We were able to grow cherry tomatoes and basil in pots on the front porch.

Help Kids Care About the Environment with Gardening and Composting

6. Donate Toys

This can be a hard or easy one depending on how easily your family can part with items. For our kids, it’s not the easiest to get them to get rid of their toys. However, this is something any family can do together as kids outgrow their items.

It might be easier to start with donating clothing and talk about the kids who will receive them, then move on to toys and get kids excited to pass things on to kids in need.

This is great for the community and helping other people, but it’s also a teaching moment about waste and how much we really need to be happy. It’s a good time to talk about quality over quantity and remind them how much fun they had crafting from just trash.

Instead of toys, make a list of experiences you could have as a family and use it for future presents. Instead of toys, give gift cards to amusement parks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, or zoos and aquariums.

Seeing a tiger first-hand instead of on a cereal box will help kids understand that they have the power to protect these animals as the future leaders they are!

7. Visit an AZA Zoo or Aquarium and talk about endangered species

Seeing a tiger first-hand instead of on a cereal box will help kids understand that they have the power to protect these animals as the future leaders they are!

Stonyfield‘s sponsorhip of the AZA SAFE program is based off of this idea that if kids have first-hand experiences with these animals, they will become aware and passionate about protecting them. By donating to help children from the Boys and Girls Club experience an AZA Zoo or Aquarium, they are ensuring that even more kids have access to these animals.

Taking your own kids to an AZA Zoo or Aquarium will help them see first-hand these animals in need of saving. Helping Stonyfield spread the word and donate so the children of the Boys and Girls Club can also experience these animals will make even more of an impact on future generations and help more kids care about the environment.

You can learn more about donating to the campaign here. Stonyfield will match every donation up to $125,000, and the campaign runs until November 6th.

Stonyfield YoKids and AZA SAFE program help the Boys and Girls Club

 

Have you done any of these things with your kids? How have you helped them learn about protecting our environment and animals?

 

Kristin - Exploring Domesticity

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