This is a guest post written by Danielle Seatter from Eco-Able. Danielle explores 8 ways we can talk to young children about sustainability.
Simple answer is to make it fun! Children are curious, enthusiastic and vocal learners! They love to be hands on and and learn through these experiences. So tapping in to the things that make learning fun and interactive will be a great way to start those important conversations about the environment and how we can take care of it.
Having trained and worked in early years education for over 20 years, when I set Eco-Able up, it was with the intention of helping others, as well as learning myself. A collective mind has always felt like the best way to tackle anything.
I strongly believe that children learn best by relating to the world around them, which is why we have curated a range products for children learn about the environment and to connect with nature. Connecting to and with nature always feels like the starting place to me, so if you’re not sure how to have those conversations around how to be more eco friendly, here are some of my top tips for little ones. Children love wildlife and are often fascinated by all of the incredible creatures in our world. This is a great way to help them to learn about the world around them.
1. Make learning about the world around them fun and interactive, so getting out and about in the natural word is always going to help learn more about it. Fostering a love of nature is one of the best ways to help children become involved in sustainable actions.
2. Introduce natural materials where you can and reduce plastic toys, books and games
3. Introduce concepts of reusing and recycling – get them involved in the process, talking about where things ‘go’
4. Access free resources – head to the library for books and other free resources, look up your local wildlife trust and your local information centres, there are lots of places to visit and often these are free or low cost, such as museums
5. Talk to your child’s setting whether that’s schools, preschools, childminders, nurseries about possible opportunities to get involved in projects which take an interest in the natural world, it might be a localised project in the setting or a wider project with the local community or linking up with another setting from around the world
6. Explore nature in any way you can, wherever you are, by growing plants, vegetables, fruits and flowers, exploring wildlife and mini beasts, feeding the birds, by getting outdoors whenever you can, plus back this up with pictures, activity cards, books and toys
7. Go on a litter pick! Look at the different items found and talk about whether these can be recycled or composted or will end up in landfill
8. Learn about composting and how this can help to reduce waste as well as feed the garden!
These are just a few starting points to get those important conversations going, see where they lead. Who knows, you might just have the next David Attenborough in the family!
Children can definitely learn to understand the things we can do to take care of the planet and they are often able to come up with their own solutions to things too, so start those conversations early. Get them involved in using reusables and understanding why we can reuse more and make better choices in the things we buy. They have such a huge capacity to understand.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to get the conversations started, then our book ‘Away’ is an ideal starting point. It was written as a tool to help start those important conversations about how what we do affects the environment and the animals who live there and what we can do to minimise waste.
We want to empower young children to be the environmental leaders and innovators of the future.
As we are keen for everyone to access learning about eco friendly living our activity packs are now available as free downloads on our website, so look out for those here: www.eco-able.co.uk with things to do and make as well as some additional resources to aid learning in different areas.