Maria Gagos, Founder @ Green Rank
My passion for the environment started many years ago, but I also recognized that I won’t be the person who gives up the comforts of life to have a zero footprint. I make small eco changes, and I believe that we can all make small changes. If we each changed something to make our lives eco-friendlier, we can have a great, positive impact on the health of our planet.
I also believe that eco-education should start early, and that sustainability can be fun and it can (and should) be taught to our little ones through engaging activities and materials. This is what led me to start Green Rank. But, enough of that! Let’s get into three, easy and fun activities to do with the kids so they love and appreciate our planet more.
Kids learn by imitating what they see and by experiencing the world around them. To get them to care about the environment and the planet, we need to lead by example. If kids see us recycle, they’ll recycle. If they see us appreciate nature, they’ll grow to appreciate it.
And, the best part about all this is that these “lessons” can be fun and that kids can learn to love our planet, flora, and fauna through playful activities! Here are three fun and easy activities to do with kids and help them become the Eco Heroes our planet needs.
1. Adopt an endangered animals species
Most kids genuinely love animals. If we encourage it, they will want to protect them, including their natural environment. One good way to get them personally engaged in animal welfare is by joining an animal adoption program.
Many zoos, animal farms, or reserves have programs that the kids adopt an animal of their choice for a small annual fee. Depending on the program, kids get to visit the animal several times per year, get photos mailed to them, or maybe attend classes about the animal or the species.
Once they are adoptive parents of an animal, it’s important to teach children about their adoptee. They will love to learn about their food, habitat, and families, and they may want to know why the species they adopted is endangered. Most often, the animals are endangered because of the impact our human activities have on their environment. As empathic as kids are, they will start to search for ways to help now or in the future.
2. Visit a local organic animal or vegetable farm
Most modern agricultural practices have an enormous impact on the environment. A lot of land has been cleared for agriculture, causing soil erosion. Regular agriculture pollutes the soil with chemicals, and the industry emits a lot of greenhouse gases, as well.
Luckily, many local farmers are farming differently. Small farmers often use organic and regenerative agricultural practices. These practices can even help improve the quality of the soil and have minimal impact on the environment.
Many farms welcome visitors to educate about their methods. Kids will love to learn about the respectful and environmentally-friendly ways to raise animals, or about the vegetable growing cycles. On some farms, kids may even get to help with chores around the animals or in the garden. This will only add to the fun!
By visiting a local farm, you’ll teach your little ones to appreciate how our food grows and how agriculture can have a positive impact on our planet.
3. Start a herb garden at home
After your countryside, farm trip, you might want to use those learnings and start a little herb garden at home.
Kids will love caring for their own plants, and this will deepen their understanding of natural cycles. Among others, they will get to experience firsthand how much care is needed to bring the greens to our plates!
Even if you live in a small apartment, you may be able to find room for a few small pots. Fill them with good soil and let your kids plant different kinds of seeds. Coriander, basil, mint, chives, or even a cherry tomato plant may fit well in a small space.
After the planting, set up a watering schedule, so the children commit to watering the herbs a few times a week. Pick a nice sunny spot and watch the plants start to grow!
Little things do add up! When our kids grow loving and appreciating our planet, the future is better for all of us. I hope you join me in making small eco changes in your own lives. After all, the more, the merrier!
About Maria Luiza Gagos
Maria Gagos is the founder of Green Rank, a children’s company that creates products, games, and interactive activities that combine environmental welfare with childhood imagination. Maria has an extensive background in technology and finance, and is passionate about the environment and making a positive difference on our planet. She has an MBA from Columbia University and several certifications from Harvard and MIT. To see more, view all posts by Maria Luiza Gagos here, or visit her website GreenRank.me.