Today kicks of a month-long series devoted to raising eco-conscious kids and educating them about the environment. Earth day is April 22, and we have a great topic list to educate yourselves and even your youngest children about reducing our impact and consumption and increasing our awareness. From the basics of recycling and crafting with used materials to learning about the importance of the bee population and digging into a family garden.
While it’s easy to live in the moment without thinking about our trash footprint or the consequences of our actions on the natural world around us, it does impact the way we live, our food supply, and the future of our children. Even more personally, teaching ourselves and our children about these topics means they will strive to right wrongs and change the bad habits that we have. It means they will strive for a healthier life and a healthier world.
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Importance of Eco-Conscious Food Options for Kids
Maria Montessori indicated in her years of researching education, that children are experiential learners; in recent years nutritionists have found that many kids don’t even know where their food comes from because of the processed food that comes in boxes, rather than fresh food out of the ground. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, children are more inclined to choose healthy foods if there are healthier options around and junk food is less prevalent. This means getting our children outside and in the garden is vital to their food choices. Furthermore, in a pilot study on the impact of gardening with kids and their food preferences, it suggested that over 90% of students enjoyed taste testing fruits and veggies, preparing healthy snacks, working in the garden, and learning about fruits and vegetables.
For every pound of meat that goes to waste it took seven pounds of food to feed that animal. For every plant-based food product, there are man hours used to grow and maintain a crop, water and money invested, soil depleted, and potentially chemicals used. It is so vitally important to teach our children the broader ramifications of waste than just having trash. It’s about modeling social and eco-responsibility for children so that we all make smarter buying choices.
Why to Teach children to “Refuse” & Recycle
We always hear about recycling and how important it is for our environment, but the crucial step before recycling is to refuse to buy and use things to reduce what even needs to be recycled. The Story of Stuff indicates that for every single can of trash we throw away, it took 77 cans of trash to produce that amount of garbage whether by production processes, shipping, packaging, and more. Not only choosing to not buy products, but choosing products that contain less packaging is a part of the reduction of waste.
It takes gasoline and energy to transport materials, supplies, and products, meaning that choosing local products and eating locally grown food drastically impacts the environment and how much waste and energy we consume. Shifting the mindset from consumerism to conservation could mean millions of dollars saved and a better environment for all of us.
Books you might like
Movies worth Watching
Ok so now you’re thinking I have watched way too many documentaries and have read too much research. And I have. When I had a newborn, watching great documentaries was part of my daily schedule and now I am very glad that I spent that time informing myself further on plastics, food health, and the changing landscape of our environment. My favorite 2 in the list below are Bag it and Hungry for change but would highly recommend all of them.
So whether you’re just trying to educate yourself, find great crafts and activities for Earth Day, or work on creating an eco-conscious family environment, I am glad you have chosen to check out the Ultimate Earth Day Education Guide and hope you will continue to visit for posts from myself and other bloggers throughout April!
Don’t forget to explore more great resources from the Ultimate Earth Day Guide!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!