5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Care for the Environment

Our children are our future, and what an awesome responsibility they will have in the next few decades. That sweet child that is as happy rolling down a hillside, roller skating or playing a mean game of basketball will be the stewards that will shepherd Mother Earth into the next century.

So how do we foster an appreciation for ecological stewardship? You may find that your child is already taking the lead at home by reminding you to turn off lights, use less water, or suggesting that you could ride your bike to work instead of drive. After all, if your child is school age, most school programs, public and home school, incorporate environmental education into the curriculum. Even preschools are teaching children the basics about recycling and waste management. And there are many clubs like the Boy and Girl Scouts, Explorer Club, Sierra Club, and 4-H, that do an excellent job of building eco-social education and activities for the ages they serve.

Positively Green’s Top 5 Kid’s Tips
1. For the very young: Consider subscribing to the National Wildlife Federation’s publication designed for children ages 1-4.

2. Instead of buying store bought wrapping with all of the icky ink dyes, suggest reusing brown paper bags and coloring your own gift paper for the next birthday party; a perfect activity for children 3-7.

3. Plant a tree with your own hands and share the fun with your 6 to 9 year old child by choosing flowers that are easy to plant at the tree’s base. Talk about how trees support clean air and beautify too.

4. Head to your closest organic fruit farm and pick organic raised strawberries, apples, blueberries or any delicious fruit. Discuss why organic is better than what you typically buy in the store. Even teens will appreciate this experience.

5. Not all wood is the same. Encourage your preschool child to choose toys that are made with FSC certified wood. Unpainted wood toys are typically safer than plastic that contains PVC, and treasured from generation to generation. FSC certification ensures that the wood you buy has been forested responsibly to allow for sustainable growth. Great sites to find FSC Certified toys are holgatetoy.com and tumbleweedwoodworks.com.

For more information or to subscribe at the introductory price of $10 a year, go to positivelygreen.com . Positively Green magazine launches in 2008. This quarterly women’s magazine will cover every aspect of green from eco-friendly vacations to green fashion to green health. With articles that don’t just explain the problems, they outline solutions for busy people who want to make the change but don’t have the time to research solutions.

By Kelly Magill, publisher, Positively Green


Veronique P.
Nicole P4 years ago

How about we take our heads out of the sand and make it clear that eating other animals is the leading contributor to climate change and that therefore we should honor children's desires to care for animals and not eat them.

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo4 years ago

Thank you for the information! I will put it to good use with our first granddaughter.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Just set a good example, they'll soon get the message!

Magdalena K.
Past Member 6 years ago


William K.
William K6 years ago

Wonderful advice.

KARLOLINA G6 years ago


Natalie D.
Natalie Descent6 years ago

Great article, with the increasing population it's good to know that kids are being educated about caring for the environment.

Monica M.
Past Member 7 years ago

I sometimes have a dilemma between buying less eco-friendly products sold within walking distance or driving my car to get things that are more eco-friendly. Sometimes I end up doing niether...Spelling Games

Annie Nasato
Annie Nasato7 years ago

These sound good, but what about more creative ideas, like carrying around all the garbage you would throw out in a day? Or maybe using old t-shirts and turning them into canvas bags?

Monica D.
Monica D8 years ago

Interesting suggestions though some involve a bit of impact on the planet themselves. Eg I wonder whether it is better to look online for kids' info rather than subscribe to a publication ( = paper). I wonder how much CO2 is produced by driving to the plant store, as compared to how much will be stored by the tree. Or driving to the organic farm. And as for FSC, I have heard terrible things about them. As far as I know, the person seriously monitoring them has called them as bad as Enron. Instead of your suggestions I would say:
-don't subscribe to magazines, but look online
-plant trees and buy organic food if you can afford it, but try to combine this with other activities to cut down on driving - while teaching your kids this too
-try to buy wood products second hand, only if you need them, and avoid all new wood products, including FSC.
I think these are better ways to teach kids about sustainability.