Teaching our children from a young age how to be eco-friendly is probably one of the best things we can do for the environment. All children love to play in mud or collect bugs and this is the perfect time for us to show them that being eco-friendly can be fun.
When I was young, you were always sure to find me in the garden or a park, hunting under rocks and climbing up trees, looking for little creepy crawly creatures. At the time I did not really know what their place in the world was, I just had fun seeing what I could find.
Now days nearly every garden centre has a section put aside specifically for insects and small creatures – mini-beasts. You can buy bat boxes, hedgehog houses, butterfly nests and even bumblebee hotels. All these products are a fantastic way to encourage mini-beasts into your garden, which is fun for the kids and helps the eco-system continue working efficiently.
If you want to make it even more fun for your children, and keep them occupied longer, you could build your own insect houses. Many of the designs available are quite simple to reproduce with bits and pieces from around your garden. Once they are in the spirit of creating their own mini-beast sanctuaries there will be no stopping them.
Create a pond
If your children are not too young, dig a pond for your garden. Not only are ponds great for keeping fish but soon you will be attracting frogs, birds and all kinds of creatures who will come and refresh themselves in your mini watering hole. Water is a vital part of the eco-system and this simple idea will help turn your garden into a mini-beast wildlife reserve.
Plant a tree
Another great idea is to involve your child in a ‘plant a tree’ scheme. If there is not one near you, go ahead and plant one in your back garden. This gives you the opportunity to discuss how important trees and plants are in providing oxygen for the planet and how many creatures use trees, hedges and bushes for food and shelter.
Growing your own crops
One of the best ideas I have heard is, setting aside a part of the garden for your children to grow whatever they want. Not only is this a great way to teach kids about responsibility, in a fun and interesting way, but they also get to about learn the life cycle of plants, how to protect them from insects and how the elements help all living things grow strong. This is sure to be a very rewarding pastime for them with the added pleasure of having something to show for their hard work.
Recycling and re-using
With many of these activities, items that are no longer needed can be re-used and recycled. Old glass bottles can be used for rain catchers, straws tied together can be used for bughouses and old bits of wood can be piled on top of each other for mice, hedgehogs and other critters to sleep under. Your creativity is only limited by your imagination.
But most of all have fun. The easiest way for all of us to learn something new without losing interest is to have fun while we are learning.