Submitted as blog contribution from Baby Steps Preschool in New York.
Trees are arguably the most important organisms on Earth. They provide essential oxygen and shade from the sun and act as natural barriers against flooding and storm damage. But, unfortunately, the world’s forests are in trouble. We have lost more trees than we have planted. It is at this time that we need our children more than ever. They are our future, and if we can get them to care about trees while they are young, they will continue to care as adults.
Here are my seven ways that you can teach your kids about the importance of trees and inspire them to take action:
1. Don’t Waste Paper: By using less paper, you and your child can help to save trees from being cut down. How can children help? Look for a space in your home for a paper that is blank on the other side, then reuse it before you recycle it. Encourage your kids to do this every time they make their art. In addition, you can encourage kids to use cloth napkins and handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues.
2. Play and Create Something With Trash: Show your kids that trash doesn’t have to be trash. For example, you can make art with paper products like coffee filters, napkins, and old newspapers. You can also have your child play with cardboard boxes, kitchen towel rolls, and empty toilet paper. Boxes can become their forts, and superhero bases and toilet or kitchen rolls turn into telescopes or binoculars. There are no limits to their imagination.
3. Plant a Tree: You and the kids can start a new tradition by planting a tree together. Whether you do it in your own backyard or a place close to your heart, this act will help your child understand the importance of planting trees and help them connect them with the environment. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your children how to take care of the tree so they can continue to benefit from its shade, fruit, and more.
4. Borrow, Share And Donate Books: Lots of children read a lot, which translates into lots of interesting books – and therefore lots of paper. The library is an excellent alternative to buying new. So it’s important to encourage your kids to borrow books from the library or friends and family instead of buying new ones. You can also donate old books they don’t need anymore so that other kids can enjoy them.
5. Visit Local Parks and Forests: This is an excellent way to encourage children to learn about nature. Take your kids on a nature walk or go camping in a national park or forest for the weekend. Be sure to allow them to explore and discover what’s there on their own.
6. Always Stay on The Trails: When visiting forests, make sure that you stay on the trails. This is an excellent way to prevent soil erosion and promote the healthy growth of plants. Encourage your kids to do this, as well, to help preserve the natural beauty of our parks and forests.
7. Share Knowledge About Trees: If your child comes across a tree on the way to school or home, let them know about it. Children love to learn about new things, so encourage them to share their discoveries with you and other people around them. Ask them about the tree’s shape and size, what kind of tree it is, and if they know any interesting facts about it. Offering every detail they can think of can also help kids learn more about trees and nature.