Parents and caregivers always want to protect kids from the world while they’re still young — but without the right education, kids won’t know how their actions have ripple effects on the earth. When we inform and engage children in a creative way, with important information early on, they’re more likely to use it to inform their habits later on in life. That’s why so many teachers and parents have begun to teach kids about permaculture — a concept that helps people understand human-to-earth connection and create eco-friendly systems in our everyday lives.
Read on to learn six ways to teach kids about permaculture. They’ll easily embrace new habits when they’re taught, so try out these tips to open their minds and show them how they can change the world:
1. Grow Small Plants
A large part of permaculture is learning to grow food, which should start with something small. Kids can grow small plants at home or in the classroom if they have pots, a little soil and an easy routine to follow. Flowers and herbs are a great place to start and provide something pretty for children to look at as the reward for their hard work.
The act of planting, watering and caring for these small plants will show kids that they can grow other things as well. Food like strawberries, carrots and tomatoes won’t be far behind. They’ll learn that after you plant seeds, these seedlings need you to care for them. This concept provides a sense of independence that can help adolescents embrace more significant sustainable efforts.
2. Show How to Harvest Water
It’s easy to take tap water for granted, but using too much depletes the natural resource everyone needs. Instead of telling kids to turn the faucet off when they brush their teeth, which they may ignore, caregivers can demonstrate how to harvest water so they can collect rain and prevent water depletion.
Take rainwater from sumps or barrels and boil it before filtering it into a glass. Children will be pleasantly surprised that it tastes the same as tap water but doesn’t hurt the planet. It’s an easy way to teach permaculture for kids who can see, measure and taste the difference.
3. Demonstrate Composting Techniques
If kids show an interest in raising plants, they might like to learn about composting techniques they can do from home at any age. After they start composting waste like eggshells and newspapers, they can use that as fertiliser for the plants and food they want to grow. This practice also minimises the trash they put in the landfill, which they can see for themselves with a quick trip to your local dump.
4. Volunteer for Community Cleanups
Sometimes kids won’t want to do activities if they feel like they’re alone — so get their friends involved. Research nearby opportunities and volunteer for community cleanups at parks and playgrounds. Children can even pick up trash from their playground at school, competing to see which classroom collects the most waste. It’s a simple way for you to learn how to teach kids about the environment, so everyone can have fun and protect their local ecosystems.
5. Point Out Recycled Materials
A typical misbelief kids have about permaculture is that they’re the only ones doing it. Instead, point out recycled materials whenever possible. Show them labels on pens made from recycled bottles. Talk with them about recycling signs on soda cans and take them to a recycling plant where they can help separate plastics from other materials.
6. Use a Carbon Footprint Calculator
Kids always want to know why grown-ups ask them to do things. Helping the environment may not be a strong enough reason for them to try permaculture lifestyle changes. Parents and teachers can use a carbon footprint calculator to show what a difference their efforts make. Refer to CO2 amounts by filling cups with water or other visual tricks, so children have a reference to understand the numbers.
Try Different Methods of Education
People learn in different ways — especially children. It’s essential to try different methods of teaching about permaculture to raise eco-conscious kids. With time, you’ll find what works and what they engage with — so everyone can get excited about sustainability.