10 ways to love the planet back (a parent special!)
Show nature a little love this Valentine’s…
When you think about it, love really is all around us! From the earth under our feet and roofs over our heads, to the food we eat and sun that keeps us warm – our planet has treated humankind with love and care since the dawn of time!
Sadly, we humans have been taking this love for granted, and our wonderful planet is suffering. Species are at risk of extinction, pollution levels are climbing, ice is melting, and our wonderful wild spaces are disappearing. The world is in desperate need of our care…
Isn’t it time we showed the planet a little love in return?
This Valentine’s, Nat Geo Kids can’t think of anyone more deserving of our love than our very own Planet Earth – and we hope you’ll join us in showering it with love!
That might sound like a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, we reckon you can show the planet your appreciation by simply giving a little bit of love, every day.
We’ve put together a bumper list of the top 10 ways your family can love the planet back this year, so read on to learn how to appreciate nature from your home…
1. Get to know your world!
The best way to show the world some love, is to learn about it. Why not try spending more time out in nature with your family? Visit some local green spaces, or even have a go at birdwatching from your window! All that matters is that you take the time to appreciate the nature you see. There are loads of apps that can help you do this: try AllTrails to find walks near you, or iNaturalist to help you identify wildlife!
When you venture into the great outdoors, open your child’s eyes to the world of wonder around them. Talk about the oxygen that green leaves are producing, the wood that provides materials for homes and furniture, the buzzing, pollinating insects that support the crops that produce our food. Even the soil below your feet is more than just dirt – it’s a huge natural recycling system, providing the nutrients that help nature flourish.
2. Tackle the little things!
When it comes to saving the planet, it’s easy to feel bombarded by the size and scale of the crisis, and the pressure to find solutions. But this can distract from the fact that you can make a big difference by taking action at home! Actions that help the planet don’t have to take up much time or energy; there are lots of simple tasks that your kids can get involved in, too.
Did you know? A whopping 1 in 3 people leave the tap running while brushing their teeth, and that wastes 24 litres of water every day!
Encourage them to take simple actions, such as shorter showers, checking all the lights are off before you leave a room, or making sure that appliances are switched off at the wall when not in use. Small actions, taken by the many, can be a real gift to Planet Earth.
3. Show your kids that the world is wide!
While it’s really important to get to know your local area, kids also need an appreciation of the grand scale on which the planet works. Getting to know countries, people, animals, and habitats all over the world is an awe-inspiring experience, that can really open kids’ eyes to how amazing the planet is. In the long run, this will help them learn how to appreciate nature for themselves!
Here at Nat Geo Kids, we strive to inspire life-long curiosity about the world in our readers. Our monthly magazines are full of incredible information and activities all about our planet, and our website is also stuffed with free factsheets, fun and games! Check out our primary resources for ways to teach your kids about life in the rainforest, wild weather, or even cute animal couples (a Valentine’s day special!).
Start simple – plant trees.
This Valentine’s, Nat Geo Kids have teamed up with Ecologi, to bring you a fantastic way to show the world your love! For every magazine subscription bought between now and 16th February, we will plant five trees to help give back to our wonderful planet. Click here for more information!
For every five subscriptions bought, we will also donate one subscription to a disadvantaged child. That’s a whole lot of love!
4. Reduce your waste – and recycle what you can!
For many people, recycling is a part of life – and that’s brilliant, keep it up! But what’s even better, is working on reducing the amount of waste that you create. The next time you take your kids to a supermarket, why not make it a mission to collect as little packaging as possible? Say no to plastic produce bags, work out ways to snack on things that don’t come in wrappers, and take your own shopping bags!
Did you know? Households in the UK waste 6.6 million tonnes of food every year! All that rotting waste gives off greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.
Encourage your family to think carefully about food choices, too – make sure you only buy the ingredients you need, so the minimum amount is wasted. You could even go one step further and try a zero-waste shop for your weekly groceries. Why not have a look for your nearest one?
5. Get to grips with your garden (or even a sunny window ledge!)
You don’t have to been green-fingered to grow your own! Getting in touch with some plants is an amazing way for kids to learn about the process of growth, and at the end of it you’ll have beautiful flowers, or tasty herbs, for all the family to enjoy!
If you’re short on space, why not plant small? You only need a sunny window ledge to create your own herb garden, and you could even decorate the pots with recycled materials! For those with more space, great wildlife-friendly options include digging a pond, or even planting a tiny wildflower meadow. You and your kids could try planting some of your own vegetables, or making some wildlife-friendly crafts like this bug hotel!
6. Be a good role model – the planet will thank you for it!
You can teach your kids a lot about how to appreciate nature, by simply setting a good example. When you’re out and about, try to be environmentally aware, and make sure you leave as small a mark as possible wherever you go! This means picking up your litter, and taking care of the countryside by respecting any local rules. The planet loves us in so many ways – the least we can do is show it a bit of respect in return!
When you walk through your local area, inspire your family to take care of the planet by picking up any litter you can safely collect, even if it isn’t yours. You could even lead a neighbourhood litter pick, or take your children on an adventure to clean up a particular local area.
7. Do more with less, and teach your kids to do the same.
Waste not, want not! Try to teach your kids about the value of reusable toys, or toys that they make themselves. Chances are that they’ll love these toys more, and encouraging them to use recycled materials, or repurpose old toys, will likely be cheaper in the long run, too! You can find simple instructions for toys to make at home on our website – just click here.
Did you know? A poll by the British Heart Foundation found that more than a quarter of parents admit to throwing away toys that are in perfect working order.
If your children lose interest in a toy, don’t throw it away! Donate it to a charity shop, or ask around your friends to see if anyone is interested. You could even sell it, using an online marketing platform. This might take a little more time and effort than clicking ‘order’, but the planet will thank you for your efforts!
8. Take action in your local environment!
Volunteering for projects like tree planting, community gardening, and other conservation efforts is an incredibly worthwhile thing to spend your time on – and usually, very fun! It’s a great way to get your family together outdoors, and to feel connected to the planet.
You can’t get a much better gift than literally giving back to the world, so why not look for some opportunities near you? There are loads of different places to try, so you’re sure to find one that really fits your family’s interests. To start with, we recommend having a look at The Wildlife Trusts, The Conservation Volunteers, and Nature Volunteers UK!
9. Be a sustainable consumer – in whatever way you can.
One of the very best ways to show the planet some love, is to balance out all the things we take from it, by remembering to give something back. Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to do this. You can check them all out in our sustainable living primary resource!
Why not establish a ‘veggie day’ in your household, where meat is banned? Your kids could get involved with picking the meal, and you might even find a new family favourite. Maybe it’ll be this veggie pasta bake, that your kids can help you make!
When you go to get the ingredients, try to avoid using the car if you can. Use public transport, and encourage your kids to get out and about by bicycle. If you do need to use the car, make the trip into a game, where the challenge is to get as many errands done in one journey as possible!
10. Don’t stop!
Loving the planet needs to be a choice for life – not just for Valentine’s Day. Show your kids how to appreciate nature, by returning its love every day. Over time, your efforts will have a big impact on our planet, and we’re sure it couldn’t be more grateful!
You can also inspire your kids to keep on learning by themselves, with our magazine! Every month, our issues are brimming with exciting articles, fantastic facts, and loads of activities to develop your kids’ love for the natural world. We want to help kids be planet-conscious, and inspire a love for the natural world that lasts long into adulthood.