The summer holidays are here and this quite often means a lot of downtime, play, screen time and your annual trip away but just because they are on a break from school doesn’t mean that education has to take a full break… You just have to weave it into their days without them actually realising! Any talk about the world, life, money, or what you see when you’re out and about is all going to enrich them and also keep their brains in gear for these 6 weeks. With the environment and all the issues currently going on around the world being heavily focused on in the news/media and online I thought I would put together 5 ways you can teach your children about the environment right now without any of it feeling heavy or gloomy but instead interesting and fun.
Trips out to rivers, forests or the beach could all be turned into nature walks where you could do activities and games such as:
- Looking out for and talking about the different wildlife in this area
- Creating a game where the person who finds the most wildlife wins a prize
- Collecting items such as berries, twigs, leaves, moss etc to create a nature-based collage at home
- Looking for different footprints or droppings and talking about what may have left them
- Use a mushroom-identifying app to learn about the species you see on your walk
- Use a nature scavenger sheet to make learning fun
The changes in our weather are linked to climate change. We have seen an incredibly hot June followed by an unusually wet July and this is a really good talking point to start up with your children. It’s really important that they are aware of how human activity can alter our climate and seasons and also how we can take action in order to slow these changes down and prevent further destruction from wildfires and floods etc. This doesn’t need to be a heavy talk, just a few pointers and facts are often enough I find to help my children to understand and then engage in a conversation about why fossil fuels are bad and what alternatives they have. You’ll probably find that they already know quite a bit from their learnings at school and from TV shows like Newsround.
Kids love to litter pick! Honestly, either purchase some online or check if your council loans them out and choose a spot to give a good cleanup. You may be surprised by how addictive and rewarding it feels. This not only helps the environment but also highlights to your children how damaging littering can be.
Microplastics known as nurdles are a common sight on most UK beaches it’s just a case of looking hard enough for them. Once you do spot them it is a really sad sight BUT they are a good way of showing your children the long-term effects that plastics have on our environment. You can use facts like most plastics will take hundreds of years to break down and even then they will all be left behind as microplastics. Plastics are made using crude oil so you can also link this conversation back to climate change and the use of fossil fuels.
Visit Environmental Venues/Attractions
Science museums, natural history museums, ocean life museums, wildlife rescues, animal sanctuaries, and zoos that are conservation focussed are all great places to visit over the summer holidays in order to teach your children about a wide range of environmental issues. Look out for days when these attractions will be running workshops or educational sessions for your children to join in with. If you live in the south I can highly recommend visiting The Living Rainforest.
For more ways to teach your children about the environment check out some of my previous blogs here:
- 20 Of The Best Wildlife and Environmental Documentaries For Kids
- 6 Fantastic Books That Will Teach Your Kids About Environmental Issues
- Talking To Children About Climate Change and The Environment
- TV Shows and Films That Teach Your Children About Environmental Issues
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