Caring for the earth is an important skill to share with our children. There are many ways to teach children to care for the Earth. Below you will find 12 simple ways to help your family live in a greener world now, and in the future.
You may also like to read about ways to celebrate Earth Day every day!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience — opinions are my own.
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”
Caring for the Earth: 12 Ways to Help Kids Get It
Caring for the Earth
1. Be a Model Citizen
The most important way to help a child care for the Earth is by modeling it yourself. Children will do what they see the adults around them doing. They are little sponges that soak up how we relate to our world and mirror it back to us.
If you want your children to care about the Earth, they need to see you caring for the Earth. If you want your kids to grow up making sustainable choices, you need to make sustainable choices. If you are wasteful, they will be wasteful. It’s that simple.
2. Tread Lightly & Speak Positively
Tread lightly on the earth; take only pictures, leave only footprints. Reduce your personal impact on the environment in any and all possible ways. Please don’t litter.
What you say in front of children matters. A lot! What you say about the Earth will be what your children say about the Earth. It will also be what you manifest in your life. Choose your words wisely.
3. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Cleaning products contain chemicals and toxins that are harmful to the environment. These toxins are even more dangerous for children because they touch and taste everything. To avoid these toxins make your own cleaning products. When kids grow up knowing how to make them they will more than likely use them as adults.
- DIY All Purpose Cleaner
- DIY Glass and Window Cleaner
- DIY Wood Cleaner and Polish
- DIY Cleaning Kit for Kids
4. Grow Your Own Organic Food
If it is not possible to have a garden where you live consider container gardening. You may also be able to rent a plot in your city’s community garden. If you garden your kids will garden, and likely grow up to have their own gardens.
Growing your own organic food is an easy way to cut down on toxins and fossil fuels in the environment. It also helps to reduce waste and toxic byproducts. Conventionally grown crops deposit many chemicals and toxins into our environment. Produce and other foods traveling from other regions negatively impacts the health of our planet. And then there’s the packaging that many of these foods come in. Think about it.
- How to Start Organic Cumbers and Melons
- How to Plant Organic Cucumbers
- How to Plant Organic Tomatoes
5. Shop Local & Organic
If you can’t grow your own food do your best to buy organic local seasonal produce. There are farmer’s markets and natural foods stores in most areas that carry foods grown near your city or town. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. The food is bad for your body, while the packaging and distance it traveled to get to you is bad for our environment.
When you have to buy things first shop thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist. If you have to buy new, purchase items made by local artisans and companies. Make the choice to support local mom and pop shops over major corporations that could care less about your family and town.
6. Vote with Your Dollars & Sense
Vote with your dollars and common sense when you need to buy things. Support shops and companies that are doing their best to do the right thing for the environment. Do your best to buy things made in the city, state, or country you live in.
Discussing these ideas with your children when they are ready to handle such concepts is an eco-conscious parent’s basic duty. You can do your own research on the internet, or purchase this fantastic book that gives you all the necessary details to make a more informed choice. The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Difference
7. Get Outside & Connect
If we want our children to care for the Earth, they must get out and experience nature every day. How can someone care for something they have little experience with? Get outside with your children every day.
I have an ongoing series called Get Outside & Connect on my blog where I encourage everyone to get outside every day for at least 20 minutes no matter the weather. I also post a weekly outdoor activity that you can do with your children. Click on the link to learn more.
8. Go Green
Green your ride
Make your commute [whether it’s to work, school, or the grocery store] green. There are many people out there that make this choice daily. When you ride your bike more often than not, your children will more than likely do the same. See Go Green for more information.
Bring your own bag to any and all stores, not just the grocery store. My favorite bags are made right in the town I live in. I carry several of these Chico Bags in my car and keep one in my purse at all times!
Green to go
Use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, insulated lunch sacks, and reusable lunch containers. Stay away from plastics if you can.
My favorite reusable water bottles are also made in the town I live in. Kleen Kanteen has a vast array of sizes, lids, colors and types of to go bottles. They even have insulated one’s that keep drinks and food hot or cold for hours!
Power Down, Turn it Off & Unplug
Power down, turn off, and unplug electrical items in your home when you leave the house or go to sleep at night. Kids watch and imitate everything we do as adults. They look up to our example.
Use energy efficient appliances. Turn off lights when you leave rooms. Turn off the water when you are washing your hands, dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth. Only run a full dishwasher.
There are many ways to reduce waste. The best way to look at it is to use less of everything as much as possible. Use BYOBags and green to go items whenever possible. Reducing waste is another reason to buy local items without packaging.
Pay attention to the waste that most people tend not to notice. For example, if you don’t need 30 paper napkins and 20 packets of ketchup, don’t take them. Give them back and say “I don’t need this many thanks.” Maybe they’ll hand out less next time.
Just say no to plastic bags and bottles. They are ruining our oceans. There are plastic gyres the size of small countries floating around out there. It matters!
Buy less, use less. Think in terms of priorities using needs and wants. Needs always get met, while wants go through a deliberation process. When you need something look for used options first whenever possible.
Use green to go wear and re-useable bottles and coffee cups. Shop garage sales, thrift stores and Craigslist. Give and accept hand me downs.
Save recyclables and DIY scraps for crafts and projects if you have an organized space to do so. If you don’t do crafts or DIY projects this is not the tip for you.
11. Recycle or Upcycle
Recycle everything you can all the time. If it’s not already a habit, make it one. Make green living fun and your children will retain it for life.
Have your children collect, take out, and sort the recyclables in your home to redeem for cash. You can allow them to buy a special treat with the money they earn or put it towards their college savings — up to you.
Keep an upcycle bin in your house filled with items that would work for upcycled crafts, games, etc.
12. Use the Power of Habit
If many of these tips seem daunting just try one thing at a time. Use the amazing power of habit to make positive lasting change second nature. You’re kids will follow your example.
Get Green, Crafty & Creative for Earth Day
If you enjoyed this post, you will love our book, Green, Crafty & Creative. Featuring 70 family and environmentally-friendly tips, crafts and activities from 10 different contributors, it is full of awesome inspiration for Earth Day fun. Green, Crafty & Creative is available for purchase in e-book, paperback and Kindle formats, starting for as low as $4.99.
Want to see more from Green, Crafty & Creative? Check out these posts also included from our fellow contributors!
- Sorting Seashells – A Summer Math Activity | Playground Parkbench
- Outdoor Nature Collage | Craftulate
- Bubble Wrap Jellyfish | Crafty Kids at Home
- Egg Carton Super Bees | Nemcsok Farms
- Upcycled Shirt for a Stuffed Friend | Our Whimsical Days
If you liked caring for the Earth, you may also like
- Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
- Yum! Deliciously Healthy Recipes for Kids
- Composting with Kids: Closing the Circle
- Geology for Kids: Sorting and Classifying Rocks
- Gardening with Kids: Planting Spring Flowers
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