These are certainly critical times in our history, as our people and our planet are stressed beyond compare. Times like this give us the opportunity to pause and reflect, to aspire to be better global stewards. It's also time to teach the next generations how to do better. It's our urgent responsibility to teach ways children can help the Earth. We owe it to them.

Aerial overhead view of a multi-ethnic group of elementary age children drawing. They are seated around a table. The kids are using colored pencils to make a mural. The have colored a world map, objects found in nature, and symbols of environmental conservation.

Kids creating and coloring a mural together. (photo by FatCamera)

Ways Children Can Help the Earth

Check out these 8 ways children can help the Earth.

  1. Define the “why”

Kids always ask “why” about everything. Help them by answering their “why” questions ahead of time. Define the purpose of giving back and the ways that they can help the environment.

  1. Allow kids to be independent

Even young kids can help save the Earth! Give them opportunities to choose their own environmentally-conscious choices. Turning lights off in their bedroom when they leave it, using a reusable water bottle, or helping to garden are all things kids can do. Give them the independence to try doing these things themselves.

The future of the Earth is in our hand (photo by sarayut)

  1. Empathize with them

Kids might not want to make any changes. That’s understandable. Don’t assume they will automatically be on board with you. Let them know that you understand how they are feeling and that it’s not easy for you either. Then lead by example. Show them what you want them to do.

Boy and girl putting clear and green bottles and metal cans in recycling blue bin outside in yard

Recycling is something our kids are well educated about. (photo by SDI Productions)

  1. Make it fun

Ways children can help the Earth shouldn’t be a drag. Think of ways to make it as fun as possible. Perhaps there is a competition you can create with the family members. Or, maybe you can take a family outing to a Farmer’s Market and sample some locally-sourced ice cream. You can also use technology. Check out Climate Kids to give kids simple answers to the big questions of life.

Girl serves giant ice cream cone at Island Creamery in Wicomico County, Maryland

Eating locally sourced and still yummy!

  1. Praise their efforts

Everyone likes to be recognized and complimented on the things that they have done well. Instead of focusing on what the kids haven’t done, give them some positive feedback for the efforts they have made.

  1. Take a family volunteerism vacation

When you travel, take some time to give back to the community you are visiting. You don’t have to spend a month in Guatemala to make it a voluntourism vacation. Some resorts offer half day options to read to local school children or paint a community center. You can also look for opportunities on your own. Don’t overthink it.

family with two dads at jungle waterfall in Costa Rica

We're a family of nature lovers, and try hard to leave the planet a better place than we found it.

  1. Visit a park

Getting out in nature is one of the best ways to children can help the Earth and conserve our natural resources. It’s not as hard as you may think to spend time in nature. There are millions of acres of national parks throughout the country. You can take a weeklong vacation to Yosemite or spend a Saturday afternoon doing a hike in a park within an hour or two from you. If you happen to have a fourth grade student, you can get in for free too! The Every Kid In A Park pass gives all US fourth graders and their families free access to all the national parks. You can get your Every Kid in a Park pass at everykidinapark.gov.

girls hiking in jungle of Costa Rica natural park

Exploring natural parks is a way to learn about nature while preserving it.

  1. Have a Zero Waste Day

Have a family challenge and choose a day to have a Zero Waste Day. It is easy to choose April 22, which is Earth Day, for your challenge. However, it can be any day that works for you. The challenge consists of asking your family to commit to not buy or consume anything that creates waste for 24 hours. This means no one uses plastic bags, buys fast food, eats candy with plastic wrappers or uses that K-cup coffee machine.  This could be a great Earth Day Challenge for kids!

Happy Hispanic familly puts trash in a bag while cleaning up neighborhood park with their neighbors. The mid adult father holds a garbage bag as his preteen daughter puts a plastic bottle in the bag. They are wearing light blue shirts and the dad is wearing a bright blue hoodie. People are also pick up garbage behind them.

Being a part of organized clean-up programs is an easy way to start. (photo by spwidoff)

Want to Help Teach Kids to be Global Stewards?

Here's a couple more posts that go into greater details with ideas and suggestions about ways children can help the Earth:

How Teaching Global Stewardship to Kids Can Change the World

9 Ways to Ensure Kids Have a Global Mindset

sunset at Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA

Clean oceans and beautiful sunsets should be in everyone's future.

 

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