The environment that surrounds us and the animals with which we share our world have never been under such a constant and immediate threat. As the dangers of climate change are made more and more clear to us, it is important that parents, caregivers, and other adults in a child’s life teach them how to be good stewards of the natural world. This is of course easier said than done when so much of how we’ve lived our lives for decades is what is destroying the natural world. The solution to climate change and wildlife extinction contains many different layers and no one person can tackle them all, but there are small, fun ways caregivers and children can become environmental stewards and play a small part in the climate change solution.
There are many ways caregivers and parents can embrace nature and provide environmental stewardship learning opportunities for their children – some are as simple as planting a vegetable garden. Planting a garden and growing your own produce is a great way to show your children that fruits and vegetables can be bought locally, or better yet grown in your own yard. By growing or buying local, we are teaching children that there are better ways to do things that involve less carbon emissions, less usage of pesticides, and result in better usage of our local lands.
If growing your own garden is not doable, there are other things that can be done and most of them for free! Going for a nature walk not only gets you out of the house and away from the screen, but also provides an opportunity to educate your children about nature and the philosophy of “leaving no trace.” Volunteering or spending time at a local animal shelter is a great way to breed empathy and sympathy for other living creatures. Encourage your child to ask family and friends to donate to an environmental cause in their name (in lieu of birthday presents), which can help them to understand what it means to prioritize giving to a cause they care about over receiving physical things.
Here in Toledo we are lucky to have a great zoo that is affordable and fun! While you enjoy and view the wild animals, take some time to talk about why these animals can no longer live in their natural habitat and why we need to conserve the natural world so that one day the animals at the zoo will no longer need to live in enclosures and can again live freely in their natural habitat.
This Earth Day take the time to start a conversation about environmental stewardship. Teaching kids about the need to preserve and protect our environment can be a process that is fun and educational for everyone involved.
Recommended Reads to Celebrate Earth Day
Best Earth Day Picture Books for Kids
Best Easy Reader Earth Day Books for Kids
Best Earth Day Nonfiction Books for Kids
Children’s Nonfiction Books on Endangered Animals
Recommended Documentaries to Celebrate Earth Day
|IMAX: Blue Planet
From the unique vantage point of 200 miles above Earth’s surface, we see how natural forces – volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes – affect our world, and how a powerful new force – humankind – has begun to alter the face of the planet. From Amazon rain forests to Serengeti grasslands, Blue Planet inspires a new appreciation of life on Earth, our only home.
|Planet Earth: The Complete Series
A stunning 11-part series that captures rare action, impossible locations, and intimate moments with our planet’s best-loved, wildest, and most elusive creatures.
|Planet Earth II
This 2016 follow-up to the 2006 documentary mini-series “Planet Earth” examines the natural features and wildlife found in various parts of the world, each of the six episodes corresponding to a different category of natural or man-made terrain (e.g., island, mountain, jungle, urban area, etc.).