5 Easy Things Kids can Actually do to Help the Environment

Recently, I had the wonderful privilege to speak at my local nature center. I was incredibly humbled that they would invite me to attend one of their biggest events of the year to speak about zero waste. As apart of my yearly goal to reach out more locally – this was a huge step for me!

At the event, kids had the opportunity to learn about animals they may have never seen before. Local organizations brought in various reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects that were rescued so kids could see them up close. To see the amount of people who turned out for this event with their children warmed my heart and motivates me even more to continue to teach and inspire people to care for the environment.

My wonderful husband stopped by to give me a break.

I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd to swarm my booth considering there were baby goats across the room – I mean come on….they had diapers on! But I was so thankful that I actually had interest! Maybe I don’t give people enough credit – maybe there are more out there that really care than I think. Shame on me! By talking to the local news station and speaking with dozens of people about zero waste I’m motivated even more to be that positive change, locally.

While discussing an upcoming event, I was asked if I do presentations for kids. Of course I said yes, despite only talking to a class of 5th graders once since I’ve started this blog. I said yes because the importance to plant that seed for environmentalism needs to start as early as possible. But doing a possible presentation for kids about zero waste got me thinking…

What can kids – really –  do to help the environment?
There has to be more kids can do on their own besides telling or asking parents to do something like switch the light bulbs to LEDs or drive the car less. I mean, asking parents to do things like that is just not very empowering. Kids need to see that their decisions can really make a difference.

Get Them Outside

Encourage them to put down the screened devices and get kids outside. How can we expect them to love nature and the environment if they never truly experience it while engulfed in Minecraft? And let’s not forget the resources that are being saved by kids not being “plugged in.” I think being forced (ok, probably not forced) to go outside a lot as a child perpetuated my love for environmentalism and is what eventually led me to zero waste.

Get Kids Involved in Gardening/Growing Food

If they grow it, they’ll be more likely to eat it. I guess this covers a couple of areas of waste prevention. If they finish their fruits and veggies on their plates there eliminates the food waste! Teaching them how to grow food doesn’t have to be elaborate and intensely involved – I mean, if you have a garden, that’s fantastic but a cup of dirt with your seeds of choice on a windowsill works just as well. Bottom line, let them get dirty! Show them that by growing their own food allows them to be sustainable and independent. That’s truly empowering!

Give Kids their own Reusables 

Give them their own reusable water bottle, napkin, lunch box, and cutlery. Just like we carry a kit to avoid disposables, allow them to be in control of their waste avoidance, too. Make using reusable items as opposed to tossing the single use items the norm as early in their lives as possible.

Encourage them to Pick up Litter

Ok, this is probably one that many people say but the impact is big. Whether you are at the park as a family, or on a nightly walk, make it a habit to pick up litter. This is something my little family does every single time we go for walks. We even take the aluminum cans that we collect and sell them to a local facility that gives us money by weight. All of the money we collect goes into Ollie’s allowance fund – for when he gets older of course.

Involve them in the Kitchen

This is so much more than just teaching your kids to cook. It’s about making and baking up memories that will last a lifetime. When we have the skills to cook for ourselves, we become less dependent on fast food and prepackaged items and besides – it’s never too early to train them for Chopped Junior! Ok – I’m kidding. 🙂 
Plant those seeds early. Give your little ones the tools and skills that help them become less dependent on convenience and make memories doing so. It doesn’t matter if you’re 9 years old or 90, anyone and everyone can make a difference. 

    4 thoughts on “5 Easy Things Kids can Actually do to Help the Environment

    1. I make an effort to have my kids help me sort the recycling, load the car and take it to the recycling center. I also get their help to hang the clothes to dry outside in warmer weather or carry reusable bags to the store. I hope this way it is just part of what we do together as a family and that it builds habits over time. I especially agree with “green therapy”; my kids are so much happier when digging in tbe dirt and exploring nature

    Leave a Reply