Our Five Ring Circus: How We Teach Our Kids To Love and Respect the Earth

Thursday, April 23, 2020

How We Teach Our Kids To Love and Respect the Earth

Big Family Blog

I think this year, on Earth Day, we're all appreciating our planet just a bit more! With nowhere to go, many of us are relying on the great outdoors to keep us busy. Sometimes I feel like this was Earth's way of saying, "I need a break!!!"

As a mom, I want my children to succeed and do big things. More importantly, I want them to be kind and respectful, to love equally, and realize they CAN make a difference. Kindness is not just for our fellow human beings. It also should be directed at the world we live in!

It's our job to teach our kids to love and respect our planet. We started teaching our kids early, but there is always work to do. As adults, WE are still learning, so we're in this together!

I truly believe learning to love our planet starts during infancy. We take our kids outdoors almost every single day from the time they're born, even if it's raining or snowing. It might just be for a few minutes some days, but that's how they learned to appreciate all the beauty in nature, and learned how to enjoy each season that we get to experience. If they love being outside, they are more likely to make the outdoors a part of their lifestyle, and take care of the world they live in!

We encourage our kids to explore the great outdoors. We allow them to feel the grass on their feet and the rain on their cheeks. They are allowed to climb trees and jump in puddles. We tell them to run through fields so they can feel the wind blowing through their hair, to spin until they fall down, and to just sit peacefully while listening and observing. They are taught to enjoy each season - not fear them or wish them away.

Our kids LOVE going outside each day, and they always come inside dirty and rosy-cheeked. Playing outdoors is one of the most important things they can do during childhood, because it has so many benefits. In our experience, playing in fresh air leads to calmer, happier kids!

Here's how we encourage our kids to enjoy the outdoors:

  • Play outside every possible day, in every type of weather!
  • Go for a walk, run, or a nature hike, or walk the dog. 
  • Get dirty! It's okay!
  • Exercise outside.
  • Give them fun tools like shovels, buckets, bug catchers, and binoculars, along with traditional backyard toys and equipment.
  • Invite friends over to play outside. (When we're not social distancing, of course!)
  • Put out a blanket, and have a snack, read a book, listen to music, do homework, draw a picture, or bring out a few indoor toys like blocks or dolls. 
  • Let them personalize their outdoor playground by giving them a mini garden, or planting a tree of their own.
  • Although I think free play and exploring is best, sometimes my kids love structured activities like outdoor scavenger hunts, glow tag, or painting rocks. 
  • Get out there with them! If my husband and I join the older kids outdoors, they are more likely to stay outside longer!

One of our big family goals is to give back and make a difference in the world we live in. We give back by donating and volunteering our time to help others. That's definitely a great way to make a difference, but we also try to focus on the big picture: the planet on which we live. 

If each person made just one tiny change to help the planet, we could all work together toward big changes! I tell my kids that even the smallest things can make an impact. I often remind them to always be mindful about the way they are living their lives.

Over the years, we have made many changes in our lifestyle. Life is a constant learning process, and we're definitely learning how to help save the Earth along the way. What works for our family may not work for others, but there are so many things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and keep our Earth beautiful!

Here are the little things we do to love and respect our Earth:

  • Clean up trash around the outside of the house, or at the park.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I encourage my kids to always think in those terms.
  • We use reusable food storage, reusable storage pouches, reusable food pouches, reusable shopping bags, and reusable water cups. (Someday I'll share my favorite products!)
  • We only use chemicals to clean when necessary. (I use my norwex cloths for so much, and they really work!)
  • We carpool whenever we possibly can, and combine our errands and shopping trips.
  • Plant a tree!
  • Plant and take care of a vegetable garden. 
  • We purchase as much local food as possible. We try our hardest to support our community farms.
  • We make smarter choices while shopping. Less plastic, more organic, etc.
  • We rarely get coffee or tea to go. Instead, we brew it at home, and take it with us in a reusable travel mug.
  • We love accepting clothing hand me downs from friends and family with older kids, and we always pass our gently used clothing and items on to family members or friends.
  • We have our youngest kids take a bath together. 
  • We open the curtains and blinds every morning to let light into our home. We only turn on the lights when it gets dark, and if we leave a room, the light goes off.
  • We don't leave the TV or music on in the background at all times. (The constant background noise actually bothers me!)
  • If it isn't being used, it gets unplugged!
  • We don't leave water running while brushing or teeth or washing dishes.
  • We only buy energy-efficient light bulbs now.
  • We went paperless for most bills.
  • We only wash full loads of laundry, mostly in cold water, and we hang dry a lot of items.
  • We turn down our thermostat every time we leave the house in the winter.
  • We try to reuse anything we possibly can. It helps to get the kids thinking creatively!

  • Earth Day

    Our kids are already making so many positive changes, and they truly care about others and the planet. It's my hope that our five children will grow up to be world changers. We always encourage them to make a difference any way they can. I often say this: If we send five kind, compassionate, hard-working, thoughtful human beings out into the world, then we've done our job well!

    How We Teach Our Kids To Love and Respect the Earth

    What are the things you do to love and respect the Earth?

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