25th November 2021 Sustainability in the Early Years All Posts

10 Activities That Teach Your Children About Sustainability

Here at Connect Childcare, we are committing to planting a tree for every demo booked from now until July 2022, with a goal of planting 250 trees in our own ‘Connect Forest’. With 74 trees already planted, we want to encourage nursery practitioners and parents to get in on the action and teach children about this crucial topic. 

Teaching children about sustainability in their early years can be a key component to helping them understand their impact on the environment, and can instill some great habits in children that they carry throughout their lives.  

Today we want to share some useful activities that can facilitate your child’s understanding of the environment and teach them some great ways to be more sustainable. Here are 10 activities that teach your children about sustainability. 

1. Pick your own fruit and vegetables

An important aspect of a sustainable world is supporting local producers, which is why you should look out for ‘pick your own’ locations close by and take your children. Children learn visually, and allowing them to pick their own fruit and vegetables from a local farm will teach them where their fresh food comes from. 

2. Visit a farm

One of the most important ways to teach your child an understanding of the world is to take them for a field trip. There are many fun activities you can take part in at local farms such as feeding baby animals, hay rides, and observing the animals in their paddocks. The little ones will be fascinated by the animals. 

3. Create DIY recycling bins

To teach children about the importance of recycling, all you will need is a few cardboard boxes, paint, and some objects to place in each bin. Paint each cardboard box to represent a different recycling bin – plastic, paper, green waste etc. and lay out some items on a table for the children to practice throwing away. This will teach the children to put rubbish in the correct bins.

4. Upcycle 

A fun activity to try with children to teach them the value of recycling is upcycling an item into something else. For this, old glass coffee jars can be cleaned and transformed into pantry jars, candle holders, and even into vases. 

5. Make a compost bin and monitor food waste

Within the nursery setting, a useful activity to teach children about the importance of sustainability is composting. Showing children how to make a compost bin and allowing them to add to it and monitor it can be useful for their understanding of the world. An extra facet to this tip is teaching children about food waste. When feeding children lunch, talk to the children about food wastage and where food comes from. By only giving a child 1 item of food at a time, it will prevent them opening multiple packets and wasting them once they become full. Whatever they don’t eat can be taken home and used again the next day. 

6. Plant a garden 

If you have the space, planting a garden for children to look after is a rewarding way to teach them about nature. By allowing children to pick plants they like, plant them, and maintain them, you will teach a child responsibility as well as give them an awareness of how plants grow and why it is important to look after them. 

7. Make a worm farm

A worm farm can be a great way to get the children involved in sustainability – because they will be able to watch the worms breakdown food into compost and show them the value of recycling and taking care of our natural world.

8. Inspect small creatures 

A practical way to teach children about our animal kingdom is to go outside and use a magnifying bug viewer to inspect small creatures. Showing children the importance of even the smallest members of our ecosystem will give them an appreciation for the planet and our environment. 

9. Explore nature

By far the best way to teach children about sustainability is to bring them out into the wild to see it! Explore local country parks, farms, seaside locations and head to the zoo. You can also put up a projector and explore google maps to show children the different types of environment around the world. The Great Barrier Reef is a great example of an ecosystem. 

10. Read books about sustainability

There are many wonderful books and guides by experts in the early years field that discuss sustainability at length. Our friend Cheryl Hadland has a book called ‘Creating an Eco-Friendly Early Years Setting’ that will help you to build a sustainable teaching space for children. 

Big thanks to Lorraine Gover from Twinkle Star Day Nursery in Portsmouth for contributing to these ideas! 

Win Big and GREEN this Christmas! 

Have you heard about our Christmas Competition? 

Father Connect-Claus has a bundle of prizes to give away worth over £1500 this Christmas, including Cheryl Hadland’s book! 

Enter our competition HERE

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About the Author

Imogen is our Content and Social Media creative