How to teach children about the climate crisis

How to teach children about the climate crisis

The climate crisis can be an upsetting and overwhelming topic to talk about,  especially with children. Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, a guardian, or a school teacher, it’s completely normal to want to protect our kids. But, they’re our future. By 2050, London could feel as hot as Barcelona. Edinburgh’s climate will be more like Paris’. As a society, we need to make big lifestyle changes to curb the effects of a changing climate. By teaching kids what we know about the climate crisis, and what we can do to prevent it, we can raise a new generation of eco-friendly, nature-loving adults. From fun games, to yummy meals, and exciting craft projects, there are loads of great ways to get your kids onboard with the eco-revolution.

Story time

Eco story books are a brilliant way to introduce children to the topic of climate change. They’ve been specifically designed by the writer, illustrator, and entire publishing team to educate kids without overwhelming them. There are loads of good eco story books out there, but some especially great ones include: The Lorax by Dr Seuss, The Earth Book by Todd Parr, and Our Planet: The One Place We All Call Home by David Attenborough. 

Fun (but educational) games

Play is a really important learning tool for children. Research by Play England found that it aids both the mental and physical health of children. It also teaches them problem solving skills, and promotes creativity, imagination and independence. As such, games are another great way to teach children about the climate crisis. NASA’s Climate Kids website has lots of different activities and games for children to play, from “Wild Weather Adventure” to “Meet the Greenhouse Gases!”. Eco Action Games also have a great selection, from an eco bingo game, to eco snakes and ladders, and eco twister. Alternatively, you could get creative and come up with a game of your own.

Eco craft projects

Kids love a good project, so why not get them involved in some fun eco-friendly crafts? From bird feeders, to bug hotels, to window box gardens, there are loads of great projects you can get stuck into. This not only helps to teach children about the climate crisis and the importance of biodiversity, but it also gives them an active way to help. A quick search on YouTube or Ecosia will bring up loads of eco-friendly craft ideas, but to get the ball rolling, here’s a super-simple fat cake recipe for birds:

How to make fat cakes for birds

During the winter and early spring months, it can be difficult for our feathered-friends to find enough food. Small birds, in particular, burn a lot of calories just keeping warm at night. To help them get through the cold season, you can put fat cakes out in your garden or local park.

What you’ll need:

  • A mixing bowl
  • A saucepan
  • A spoon
  • String or twine
  • Old yoghurt pots (or similar)
  • Coconut oil 
  • Unsalted peanuts
  • Currants
  • Sultanas
  • Oats
  • Breadcrumbs 

Step one: 

For this recipe, the best ratio is one part coconut oil to two parts dry mixture. Start by stirring all the dry ingredients together in your mixing bowl.

Step two:

In a pan, melt the coconut oil on a low to medium heat, then add the dry mixture. Stir well until the coconut oil has been evenly absorbed and the mixture holds together.

Step three:

Take your old yoghurt pot and make a hole in the bottom. Thread through your string or twine, then pack the pot full with the warm mixture.

Step four:

Place the pots in the fridge overnight to set, then cut through the pot and peel away. Tie a firm knot in one end of the string / twine to secure the fat cake. 

Step five:

Hang the fat cake in a tree or shrub and watch the birds enjoy their tasty treat! (Top top: the higher up it is, the safer they’ll feel). 

Make a vegan meal together

Studies have suggested that eating a vegan diet may well be the single best way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could bring down an individual’s carbon footprint from food by as much as 73% !! 

Even if you don’t follow a vegan diet all the time, eating plant-based meals more often is still a brilliant step. A great way to introduce children to new meals is to get them involved with the cooking or preparation, so why not make a vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack together? It’s a fun activity that helps them to understand where their food comes from. And when it’s all rustled up and on the table, they’ll feel proud of themselves for helping out (and therefore hopefully more likely to enjoy it!)

On the KiteNest blog, we have loads of deliciously simple vegan recipes for you to try. Plant Based And Broke is also another great blog to check out. It has heaps of different vegan recipes and snack ideas, all nice and simple, and perfect for kids (even the fussy ones!). 

Lead by example

Children learn from the grown-ups around them. They watch us much more closely than we might think, so whether you’re upcycling an old garment, popping an item into the recycling bin, or choosing the veggie sandwich over the meat one, be sure to set a good example for the positive change you want to see in the world. Take time to read up on the climate crisis so you can pass on your knowledge. 

Celebrate the positives

The climate crisis can easily feel all doom and gloom, which is why it’s important to celebrate the positives, especially for children (but also for yourself!). When there’s good environmental news, why not watch a favourite film together, bake a delicious cake, or blast some happy tunes, dance, and mess about. 

By teaching children about the climate crisis, you’re helping to raise a new super generation that’s kinder to the planet. Whilst kids are just kids, they’re also our future, and an important part of our society.