A portrait of the sky, taken by six-year-old Emma
How do you teach your kids to love this world we live in? It seems to me that children are born with a deep appreciation for nature, and our role as parents is to nurture this instinct, rather than stifling it. In our family, we encourage loving the earth by spending a lot of time outside (geocaching on nearby trails is a particularly popular pastime). We recycle, compost, grow some of our own food, visit farms and farmer’s markets, and use cloth diapers. We even turn most of our cardboard boxes into temporary toys before recycling them!
Children do go through stages when they fear the natural world. We’ve worked a lot on overcoming bug phobias, with quite a bit of success. The poor moth in this improvised cage survived two days of tremendous affection before I finally let it go. I think it’s time to consider an ant farm…
We spent a lot of time talking about other animals, besides bugs. Emma decided to learn about beavers:
Camping is a wonderful way for kids to spend time in nature! Since nine months pregnant me wasn’t very interested in taking the kids camping, Lily set up her own “tent” inside a cardboard box:
How do you encourage your children to love and appreciate Planet Earth?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
14 thoughts on “Raising Kids Who Love Their Planet”
I’m starting to orient my kids with little stuffs. Even on teaching them to dispose their candy wrappers properly is already one way of teaching them how to care for nature. The key step is to teach them little acts and let them learn through it.
I have been considering an ant farm! We like hiking as a family, and I agree that kids are born with a love a nature and we have to encourage that!
Some really great ideas there :) I haven’t contemplated camping with my two yet let alone pregnant
I try hard to help them…in many of the same ways…I think it’s working ,:)
We want an ant farm too!
I love the drawings! I’ve been thinking about an ant farm too.
Great ideas, MaryAnne!
My daughter read your post title on my computer and told me I did a good job because she loves the earth ; )
One thing I always do is pause before I buy anything new. We can usually make do with what we already have.
9 month, almost there : )
Pausing before buying anything new is a great tip!
I love the nature photos on your blog!
I adore this last picture of Lily – so cute. I think every child is born with love of nature and living things, it’s just that some people stop thinking about planet Earth and even their own habitat when their corporate profits or personal convenience is at stake. Emma’s drawings and diagrams are so neat – I wish Anna would write anything voluntarily!
I love this post. I think we have a bit of an advantage living at conservation project headquarters but we also try to spend a lot of time outside looking at bugs and flowers through magnifying glasses. We also go on regular game drives and try to get the girls involved with whatever work is going on at the project. At the moment they have more wildlife friends than human friends.
Your girls are getting such an incredible, unique education!
A moth is a great pet idea! I’m glad he survived all the affection. :)
And I love Lily’s tent! Vi would call it a “housey-mouse”. She’s always making small spaces to curl up in around the house. :)
What a beautiful photo Emma took! Love Lily’s little tent. :)
My kids make a lot of tents in our house, so I understand not wanting to go.
What wonderful drawings! Her beaver drawing has so many details!
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