Kids are truly little walking sponges, aren’t they? The young nature of their brains allows them to absorb just about everything around them, (except for your requests to get ready for bed on time, of course!) Talk to anyone under the age of 18 and you’ll find they’re fully in tune with what matters most. This includes the latest video games, their parents’ political views, the best pop songs, the worst bully in school, and, yes, climate change!
Kids know our planet is facing a dangerous future. It’s no secret. They hear about it often and it’s of great concern. Recent statistics show that almost 60% of young people surveyed in the UK are worried or extremely worried about climate change. Climate change is on TV, online, and being discussed by adults and friends. Getting the message right across, however, is important.
Approaching climate change for kids, just like the ecosystems we inhabit, comes down to a delicate balance. You don’t want to incite fear and anxiety in young minds, nor do you want to turn them off with too much science that might seem complicated and cloudy. We think that by talking with your kids and getting involved together in fun activities, you can approach the topic of climate change with great success. Here’s how!
Have conversations with your child
Experts recommend you approach climate change education with the same care you would use when talking about other big topics like drugs or sex. Take it slow and match their age. Adopt a developmentally sensitive approach. This means if your child is just four years old, for example, you might skirt around in-depth conversations dedicated to the dire effects of greenhouse gases and how chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the upper layers of the stratosphere. Too much! Instead, focus on how they can connect with their environment.
Meet your kids where they’re at. Talk about how humans, animals and plants all benefit from small actions. When you bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water for lunch, for example, the sea creatures thank you. You help reduce plastic waste. You might also talk about how planting trees and flowers that bees love can help make a better environment. Trees clean the air and flowers for bees help ensure we have the fruits and vegetables we need. Kids love animals and often intrinsically want to support a better life for all.
Watch TV shows and movies together
TV shows and movies can be a great way to get kids engaged with climate change. They’re entertaining and you can both access them together while talking about the issues presented. Try watching shows like CBBC’s Planet Defenders, that explore topics like endangered species and related climate issues. Movies like The Lorax, Arctic Tale, and A Beautiful Planet can also be excellent gateways to engage young minds. Our Planet Too is a fantastic Netflix series supporting content related to jungles, seas, grasslands, and more, with an environmental lens.
Do simple activities at home
Where can you look for more ideas? There are so many destinations online with a tonne of activities for kids related to environmentalism, full of climate change facts. Rowdy Kind has an assortment of excellent printable activities for kids around sustainability, and Our Planet Too also has content for schools and youth.
Dinoski has a full range of outdoor gear for kids made from the most sustainable materials on the market. Outfitting your child in the best outdoor gear can make getting outside easier in all types of weather. The more you have fun in the outdoors, the easier it is to feel they’re worth protecting.
Engage in crafts
Feeling crafty? Use items found around your home to make toys and decorations together. This sends kids the message that reducing, reusing, and recycling can be fun. It can also be good practice to gather ideas online and make pebble people, rainbow crafts, DIY dinos, and more. It’s amazing what you can create from things that could already be in your kitchen cupboards. For more inspiration, check out our articles on eco-friendly crafts you can try for back to school and Halloween.
Read books together
Reading is always a fantastic activity to do with your kids. Penguin has a collection of books about climate change for kids of various ages. Dinoski also has wonderful stories such as Tall Tales Ocean, a narrative about the Coral Reef losing her colour and exploring the ocean to try and find it.
Sign up for subscriptions
Finally, environmentally-based subscriptions are also a great way to embrace the topic of climate change with kids. Mud & Bloom has activities that come in a box each month. These handy kits get kids to grow their own vegetables and create crafts in line with the seasons. You don’t have to dream up ways to keep them busy-it’s done for you!
Looking for more? Check out our blog on how you can educate yourself about climate change too. Join Y’earn’s Facebook group for additional insights and great ideas. Each Friday we share child-focused tips and activities to inspire you ahead of the weekend. Get ready for fun and connect with your kids over sustainable living. It’s easy to be actively involved in learning about climate change when you have the help and support of a group that cares.
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