Sustainable Parenting

The #1 Way to Raise an Environmentally Friendly Child

Want your kids to care for our planet and be environmentally friendly? Get them outdoors more often!

The reason being environmentally friendly is so important to me is because I have a close relationship with nature. I am not an indoors girl by any means and NEVER have been. I count myself lucky to be among the last generation that just roamed free during the day, coming home covered in dirt, sticks and bug bites. When people ask me what my favorite childhood toy was, I respond without hesitation: mud.

We don’t care for things that we’re not attached to or have no relationship with. And we’re not informed about the problems facing things we don’t care about. For example, if I told you that pangolins are going extinct, unless you were very familiar with them or have a deep love of animals, you might feel sad, but not necessarily compelled to do anything about it. It feels like a problem very removed from ourselves because we have no relationship with pangolins.

The same is true for the earth. If our children spend most of their waking minutes inside, they will have no relationship with the earth. When they grow up to become adults and hear about environmental problems, it will feel removed from them, like someone else’s problems.

45 Ideas to Get Your Kids Outside- Teach Your Child to Be Environmentally Friendly

Here are some fabulous ways to get your kids out and playing in nature!

  1. Grow a garden
  2. Go on nature walks- and let them get dirty!
  3. Free Forest Schools
  4. Go camping- in a tent!
  5. Take them to National Parks
  6. Go play at lakes, oceans or rivers
  7. Take them hiking
  8. Take them for walks and let them interact and observe natural things
  9. Schedule outside time each day, whether it’s in the backyard, park, or taking a walk
  10. Climb trees together
  11. Create art with nature
  12. Let them play in mud
  13. Play with worms
  14. Collect different types of flowers, press them and then learn what they are
  15. Go bird watching
  16. Skip rocks
  17. Raise a butterfly
  18. Jump in puddles
  19. Go on a walk in the rain
  20. Pick berries
  21. Collect leaves and sort them into different types
  22. Go star gazing
  23. Go sit out in nature and listen to the different noises you hear
  24. Build rock towers
  25. Roll down hills
  26. Make clover necklaces or flower crowns
  27. Build structures with sticks, rocks, mud, leaves and whatever else you can find
  28. Build a sandcastle
  29. Bury each other in the sand
  30. Play in the snow
  31. Have stick sword fights
  32. Look at clouds and talk about what shapes they look like
  33. Sleep under the stars
  34. Go on a picnic
  35. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
  36. Hunt for bugs
  37. Do some leaf rubbings
  38. Collect shells
  39. Make mud pies
  40. Collect acorns or pinecones
  41. Collect rocks
  42. Go bouldering
  43. Smell wildflowers
  44. Go to an orchard
  45. Visit a farm
  46. Make a pile of leaves and jump in them

Let your child feel dirt between their toes. Let them be freckled by the sun. Let their little bodies grow strong from running and climbing trees. These moments will be forever imprinted on them. And then as we try to teach them to be environmentally friendly by not having a million toys, or by loving hand me down’s, they’ll care and understand so much more because they won’t want anything to threaten the thing they love so much.

4 thoughts on “The #1 Way to Raise an Environmentally Friendly Child

  1. Wow, I remember doing many of these with my children. What a fun article, and one that teaches great truth. Good job.

    1. You must’ve taught your children well 🙂 They’re pretty lucky to have had a dad that let them be such a part of nature, even so much that he let them sleep out in the rain! Lol!

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