There’s lots you can do to enthuse and engage babies, toddlers, and children.
If you are not able to get out into nature for real, then from an early age you could use picture books focussing on stories connected with nature or show your little ones videos or animations of British and global wildlife. If possible, install a bird feeder at home and regularly watch the different birds using it, or start growing flowers or fruit and vegetables – this can be done in a window box, or even a sturdy plastic bag or bottle if you’re short of space. These activities will help to build a bond with living things.
Hand me downs are also a good way of raising awareness of reusing and recycling. If you’re passing on clothes to little ones from their older brothers or sisters, let them know it’s good thing for the environment as well as helping to save money by reducing the amount of clothing that ends up as waste.
If you have reading time at bedtime or sometime through the day, we recommend the Durham Little Read, Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico. This wonderful picture book inspired by the young climate activist Greta Thunberg has been the basis for a wide range of early years and primary school resources that have been developed by several specialist educators.
Schools and early years settings can download lots of resources by signing up to open learning Durham. These include lesson plans and activity sheets covering music; literacy; outdoor learning; poetry amongst others is designed for child minders; early years pupils and primary aged children. Parents can watch a repeat of a session led by the author for the Durham Book Festival.
We all know that children like to get creative and like crafts and this can get quite expensive for parents although very rewarding for children’s developing and inquisitive minds. Consider using recyclable materials such as cereal boxes, plastic bottles, jars, lids – the list is endless. You can find some very interesting crafty ideas by visiting the no time for flash cards website for some artsy sustainable inspiration. Using art as a way if highlighting messages – the importance of our protecting our environment and looking after the people around us can be very rewarding. Natural art using leaves, stones, sticks etc is a great way of using free materials to connect with your local places.
Join an environmentally conscious youth organisation such as the Woodcraft Folk. The club teaches children from the age of six about the environment and sustainability as well as social justice and democracy. There are two active Woodcraft Folk clubs in County Durham.
If you have more ideas on how to involve young children or have something to share why not get in touch with us and tell your story or share your art with us.