As a parent, you and your child probably love playgrounds. It gives you a chance to relax while your kids enjoy themselves on swings, ladders, and climbing walls.
But playgrounds also provide a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about the natural world. That’s because children feel safe in playgrounds, and can engage with the natural environment while swinging, running, and climbing.
So, the next time you and your kid head to the playground, consider teaching them about environmentalism through practical playground learning.
Environmentalism for Kids
Topics like climate change, deforestation, and environmental degradation can be a little overwhelming for children. They will quickly notice that things are getting worse, and may become stressed out if you don’t introduce environmentalism in the right way.
When starting conversations around environmentalism, be sure to empower them at all times and promote the importance of responsibility. This might mean you sidestep conversations around climate change for a while and, instead, focus on practical steps like recycling and picking up litter before they start playing.
As well as picking up litter, you can bond with your child by volunteering together. Volunteering with your local park and playground will help you and your child grow closer over the bond of shared responsibility and allows you to set a great example for them. Volunteering with a park will also improve the quality of the playground that your child enjoys, as many local parks require extra hands to pick up litter, improve facilities, and keep children safe while they enjoy all that playgrounds have to offer.
If you do want to engage in bigger conversations around environmentalism, being out in a playground is a great place to reinforce lessons through practical experience. For example, if you and your child are playing in a park with plenty of trees, you can use your environment to introduce them to the carbon cycle. If you’re volunteering at the local playground, you could even reinforce this lesson by gaining permission to plant some trees together with your child. This will develop civic responsibility in your child and will ensure that the lessons you’ve taught them stick.
Planning a Day at the Playground
Heading to the playground is probably a part of your daily routine. But, if you want to incorporate environmentalism and practical lessons into your next trip, you will need to do some planning and preparation ahead of time.
Start by ensuring that your child is well-fed with energizing foods — they won’t be able to focus on practical learning if they’re hungry or in the middle of a sugar rush. Start with a nutritious breakfast of oats and a little protein as this will help control your child’s blood sugar levels and promote focus throughout the day. Pack a few snacks like berries or nuts, just in case their energy dips.
If your child loves tech, you can get them to play outside and enjoy the playground by bringing games and tablets along with you. Some apps, like SkyView and Voodoo Skies Normal or Not use interactive app design to overlay the real world with virtual information. This is particularly handy if your child has a hard time listening or focusing without virtual stimulation. Download a few interactive apps, and bring them with you in case your child needs a little extra motivation to learn.
Teaching children about environmentalism can start at any age. Local playgrounds with plenty of green space provide a perfect setting for lessons that will stick with your child. You can even volunteer with your local park to further instill a sense of responsibility and should consider utilizing tech that helps your child develop into a climate-conscious citizen. Just remember to pack some nutritious snacks to ensure that they have enough energy for learning and playing.