March 19, 2009

Teaching Green Kids (updated 9-11-09)

Tips for Parents
Native Americans believed that “We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.” However, parents are the ones who teach their children best by example—and not only when their kids are young.

Green lifestyle habits that eco-parents can enforce at home include:
  • Encourage reuse of supplies rather than buying new. Do you really need to buy new notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc. each new school year?
  • Teach wise use of paper and buy recycled paper when possible. Use the back of paper when possible—especially for note taking.
  • Use a chalkboard or whiteboard at home for daily “To Do” lists.

  • Pre-cycle by buying products in the least amount of packaging. Teach the math concept of volume by computing how much air was inside your latest purchases—especially anything you bought online.
  • Beware of "biodegradable" products. Most claims that certain plastic products are "biodegradable" are misleading. The truth is that "degradable" plastics don't degrade in modern landfills and, at best, merely break up into smaller pieces that can release toxic substances.

  • Encourage green-thumbed kids to plan “mini-gardens.”

Great Educational Eco-Websites for Children (Please suggest more under “comments” below.)

Turn off your lights on March 28 at 8:30 p.m. local time: http://www.earthhourkids.org/

EEKO World from PBS: http://pbskids.org/eekoworld/

Meet the GREENS: http://www.meetthegreens.org/

Kids’ Planet: http://www.kidsplanet.org/

A Walk in the Woods: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/woods/

Nab the Aquatic Invader: http://www.sgnis.org/kids/index.html

Arthur's Tree House & Green Challenge: http://pbskids.org/arthur/thetreehouse/gogreen/index.html


Teacher/Parent Websites:

Sierra Club’s Tomorrow’s Planet newsletter for children: http://www.sierraclub.org/education/newsletter/

Cornell’s garden-based learning site: www.hort.cornell.edu/gbl/index.html

A plethora of children’s environmental websites: http://www.eartheasy.com/blog/2009/03/environmental-websites-for-kids/

Some great projects that you can do with your students and children:http://www.edutopia.org/environmentally-conscious-lesson-ideas

Enviro-Mom blog: http://www.enviromom.com/
Waste Management's teacher resources (by grade level and topic): http://www.thinkgreen.com/teachers