Nature and children aren't that far apart. Although outdoor times for children are rapidly decreasing, children traditionally explored their way into Nature and the outdoors while growing up. When children are out in Nature, running, laughing, and playing around, they unconsciously build trust and connect with Nature.
The theme of Earth Day 2022 is "invest in the Earth," and investing in Earth by leading the future generation into taking care of it is an important step. The key here is for children to understand the significance and consequences of Nature's current state.
Let us see how we can help children love, protect and respect this planet that we call home?
Let children be children-
Undeniably, children should understand the importance of Nature and Earth, but on their terms. Their instinct to protect it should not come from fear but love. Show them how you live every day by being kind to Earth, and they will absorb it. The more we remain careless about this, the more we borrow earth time from our children. We need to also acknowledge that we live in technologically advanced times and let them use technology to understand Nature. Let them search and find out, let them connect. Knowing Nature is the first step toward caring for it.
Talk to them-
Although they are children, they need to understand the bigger picture. They need to know the whys and hows of protecting and loving Nature. Share the history with them. Tell them why climate change is happening? What actions caused the damage. They need to know what not to do—simple ways like showing how forests turn into concrete jungles in a non-sustainable manner. At the same time, let them know that humans started dwelling in Nature by using space, cutting trees, and hunting. However, with development and population growth, humans started utilizing Nature in a non-reversible way that now it looks almost like there is no going back. When a tree is cut for human needs, we must also plant one. ROYBI’s environmental subjects can be a great source of information for them to understand this better.
Let them spend time with Nature-
As discussed above, knowing Nature is the first step to caring for it. They run around trees, watch the birds fly, and feel the grass beneath them while playing. The more they spend time outside, the more they will realize that Nature is their home. The pandemic has significantly impacted children's outdoor time. But Porch has a brilliant idea of bringing Nature like set-up in the indoors through playrooms. You can set up creative playrooms that can resemble a garden or the woods so children can learn about the outdoors while they are inside. Porch also offers great ideas and tips on enhancing playtime for children through playrooms.
Encourage children to act upon it-
All the experience and learning should make way for them to be able to act on it as they grow up. The more they act on it, the more they are aware of it. You can have them sent to nature camps. Or get them to participate in Sapling drives. Children can also participate in neighborhood activities like checking for water and air quality. Let children be themselves in Nature, in all their muddy glory. The action doesn't have to be complex or overly involved; it just needs to be part of the equation; that's how we tap into the inner problem solver in every child.