Here are some ideas activities that parents and educators can do with kids to help them form connections with nature and learn more about why Going Green matters. We will keep adding to the list, so please come back soon for more ideas.
Read "Let's Go Green Together"
Read the book aloud together and select some questions from page 43 to discuss. Then print out the GreenKid Award, fill it out, and hang it up somewhere you will see it often!
Make a Solar Oven
Use a pizza box to create a solar oven. Cook s’mores or cookies on it! For instructions search online for “solar oven pizza box.”
Camp out for a night in your yard or a park that allows camping. Get great information for this activity at NWF.org where you can learn about the Great American Campout program.
Go on a picnic. Try to make it a waste-free picnic using reusable containers. You could also try to prepare your picnic with organic food.
Create a piece of art out of used items that would otherwise become trash. (search the internet for “recycling craft ideas”)
Enjoy a book together outside. Get as close to nature as you can. If you don’t need to sit in a chair, sit on the ground. Find a spot near a tree or beside a waterway if that is possible. You could choose a book with a nature theme.
Plant something outside. You could plant a small garden in the ground or in flower pots. You could choose native plants and look up on the internet why native plants are beneficial to learn about this important topic. It might interest you to have your yard certified officially as a wildlife habitat, which you can learn how to do at NWF.org.
Planting even one new plant creates more habitat for animals. For example, planting milkweed provides vital habitat for monarch caterpillars because it is the only plant monarch caterpillars will lay their eggs on. However, a whole communities of insects live on just one milkweed plant (search “milkweed community” online to learn more).
Be Water Wise
Measure How Much Water you save when you turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Turn on the faucet at the sink where you brush your teeth and use containers to collect the water that comes out for 30 seconds. If you have any containers with measuring lines such as a pitcher, use them to collect the water. If not, after you collect the water, you can pour the water into a measuring cup a little at a time and add up how much water you collected.
Dentists recommend brushing teeth for 2 minutes. Assuming you do that, multiply the amount of water you collected for 30 seconds by 4 to see how much water is saves every time you brush teeth. You can use a chart online to convert cups to gallons. When you’re finished, use the water you collected to water plants, cook, or to drink!
Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt
One way to do this is to handout an egg carton and a list of 12 items to collect in the carton such as natural items that are: soft, hard, spiky, yellow, brown, strong, fragile, beautiful, old, sharp, smooth, closed, open, wet, dry, etc. For more ideas search online for images of “nature scavenger hunt bingo cards.”
Find and Identify
Collect some items from nature or take close-up photos (e.g., flowers, leaves, weeds, bark, sea shells, Feathers). Then research the items you found on the internet or in books to try to learn more about them. You can learn more about the items displayed on page 27 of Let’s Go Green Together under resources on this website.
Be a nature photographer
Get outside and take photos of nature. Kids could also make a photo album of the pictures. The album could include poems and quotes about nature (kids can write them or find them online or in books). Kids can try to identify the species of animals or plants in the photographs by looking at identification guides online or in books.
Globe Game Adventure
Have child close eyes and point to a spot on a globe or map. Then looking at the globe/map plan out together a route to this location including your modes of transportation. Then set out on your imaginary journey together! Do you need to cross a mountain range? Climb over a couch to hike over the mountains. Do you have to cross a waterway? Pretend to swim and/or sail your imaginary boat over the ocean or fly over the water with your arms spread wide.
Make a pressed flower and leaf book
Collect flowers and leaves and put them in a heavy book. When they are dry, tape them into a notebook and see if you can find the names of the plants online, in books, or at a local nursery.
Water Plants Wisely
Keep a watering can by the sink. Have everyone in the home pour extra water and ice cubes in the can instead of down the drain. Whenever the watering can gets full, kids can water plants inside or outside the home.
Provide your kids with some tools for exploring nature to be used in the yard, a local park, or the beach (e.g. compass, net, magnifying glass, binoculars, tweezers, buy or make a bug catcher). You could put the items together in a backpack or any bag to be the official explorer bag.