Want to help save the world? Foster nature-loving kids

According to experts, the “lungs of the planet” are burning. In August, there were more than 30 000 fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, destroying an ecosystem that is vital there and around the world. As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon produces 20% of the oxygen in the atmosphere, which is why it’s considered the “lungs of the planet”.

While there might not be a lot we can do here in South Africa to help with the devastation in the Amazon aside from donating to the likes of the WWF Emergency Fund, we could make choices here that can help the planet, and teaching our kids a love of nature. It’s also Arbour Month this September, so we have some great ideas for fostering a love and knowledge of trees in your kids.

“There are many nature-related arts and crafts ideas online, which are fun and educational too.”

  1. Plant a tree! Take your kids to a garden centre or nursery, and choose a seedling or fruit seed to plant at home. Kids will enjoy watching their tree grow, and perhaps one day will enjoy the fruits of their labour!
  1. Learn about trees. Walk through your suburb or park, and try to learn and identify trees in their environment. There are apps that can help with this, such as TheTreeApp.
  1. Make some tree and flower art. Who remembers pressing leaves and flowers between sheets of wax paper, and placing them in an encyclopaedia to get flat, to be used for art and other pretty things? There are many nature-related arts and crafts ideas online, which are fun and educational too.
  1. Climb a tree! Let’s go back to our roots (literally) and climb a big tree. Just make sure you can get up and down safely!
  1. Spend time outdoors to encourage a love of nature. Observe things together like cloud formations, colourful flowers or what trees look like in the different seasons.
  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle, and teach this by doing, not just by saying. Reduce your use of plastic at home, and actively recycle, whether it’s by dropping your goods off at recycling points or getting your recyclables collected. Also, try to save materials that can be used for art projects or playschool activities.
  1. Remind your children about the importance of saving water when washing their hands, taking a shower or cleaning dishes.
  1. Grow a veggie patch at home with the kids. You’ll save money on store-bought fruit and vegetables, plus it’s very rewarding growing and tending to produce that you can eat.
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