By Janelle Schroy, Adventure Clubs Founder
The world’s ecosystems, and our very existence as humans depend on our stewardship of the wonderful world around us – the plants, the animals and the natural resources. If we as parents want our children and grandchildren to have a safe, healthy, beautiful world, it’s our responsibility to steward it well and to teach the next generation to do the same. But families and schools don’t always have time to teach this in its fullest sense.
For our own good – food and water, health and wellness, beauty and appreciation – we MUST teach our children. We can’t see human living and wild ecosystems as two silos – they are inextricably interwoven. Of course, we cannot preserve every species, but we must teach children to ensure that ecosystems are as rich and diverse as possible.
When kids get to see a problem or a solution first hand, they can easily become passionate about it and take up the cause to move the needle forward around the problem. When kids get to take a walk in a rainforest, or meet endangered animals with a specialist, they suddenly have a whole new world opened to them where they have an understanding of why it matters to save the rainforest, or the tigers, or the sea turtles.
Kids are concrete thinkers in many ways, but education tends to be very big picture, like “save endangered species!” but kids don’t know exactly what that means for them. When they come face to face with a Bengal tiger along with a loving zookeeper who knows details about tigers and what they need and why they are so important, the child has a concrete memory to draw from in their learning process.
So this begs the question, in what ways can we, as parents, intentionally facilitate our children having experiences that open their eyes to the big world and the ways we can help to sustain it, protect it and steward it well?
Four Fun Ideas to Get You Started
#1 Sign them up for an Adventure Clubs’ conservation focused club with other kids their age. Download the Adventure Clubs app on the App Store or Google Play.
#2 Dig into the rich resources offered by BrainPOP in their Science section. Explore the collection called “Our Fragile Environment” together. This collection of animated videos is one of our favorite resources!
#3 Sign up for TED Ed emails which offer free videos about climate change and closely related topics. They are SO good.
#4 Explore NatGeo Kids’ webpage about animals and everything to do with protecting endangered species. There is so much on the site to keep kids busy and learning.