Sustainability For Kids: How To Get Them Excited

Sustainability tasks, like recycling or upcycling, aren’t always glamorous. But what is sustainability for kids? To a kid, sorting through recycling can feel like organizing garbage. While upcycling often means receiving an older sibling’s unwanted hand-me-down. Needless to say, going green and practicing sustainability isn’t always fun for children.

But the truth is, we need to adopt more eco-friendly habits overall to protect the planet for the very kids who don’t yet understand why we’re doing it. If we want to leave them with a safe tomorrow, we need to take smarter sustainability steps today. Plus, the earlier we teach sustainable practices to our children, the more natural it will be for them to continue those actions as they grow up.

So here are four ways you can adopt to get your kids excited about sustainability:

Read A Book About Sustainability For Kids

Books are one of the best ways to introduce children to new ideas or concepts. And books about sustainability for kids have been around for decades. For example, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a classic cautionary tale about the importance of protecting the environment. But don’t stop there, visit your local library, and ask for children’s books about sustainability. You’ll be surprised by just how many books about sustainability for kids there are.

Books like Why Should I Recycle from the famous “Why Should I…” Series is a great place to start if you’re trying to get your kid excited about recycling. While Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals is a detailed compost guide, fit for both children and adults. So no matter what green lesson you’re teaching, there’s probably a children’s book available to help get the conversation started.

Start A Backyard Compost

Kids like hands-on activities.  That’s why starting a compost is one of the best ways to illustrate the circular nature of sustainability for kids right in your backyard. Start by teaching your child what does and doesn’t go into the compost. From there, let them help sort any compostable kitchen waste and even throw the sorted bits right into the bin.

If your child loves bugs, this might be a good time to bring up how important worms and other organisms can be to a compost system. You could even keep a photo diary of your compost, so your child can see the fascinating progress of waste breaking down into soil over time.

Visit A Recycling Plant

To a kid, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing large machinery in action. That’s why visiting a local recycling plant is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart your child’s obsession with recycling. While most facilities are closed to the public, with some research you may find your local facility does “Community Days.” These plant-sponsored recycling and sustainability for kids activities are a great way to get your child hands-on experience.

At these Community Days, people are encouraged to safely enter and tour the facilities while getting an up-close look at the recycling process. From here, kids can see why all the work they do at home to sort cans, bottles, and paper is so important. It will help bring the full sustainability practice into view for them.

Plant A Sustainability For Kids Friendly Garden

Young or old, there’s nothing more universally satisfying than eating something you grew in your garden. Plus, growing a garden is a great way to not only teach kids about sustainability but also encourage virtues like patience and dedication.

If you’ve never tended a garden yourself, start by planting “easier” crops, like peppers or kitchen herbs. Once you feel like you and your child have gained more of a green thumb, try adding plants you’re excited about into the mix. Most importantly, have fun! Remember, at the end of the day, you’re trying to show your child how fun going green can be.

And remember, when we teach the importance of sustainability for kids, we’re helping to create a better future for everyone.