Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Tim Magner, an environmental educator and children’s book author. For more resources on Growing Green Minds, visit Green Sugar Press.
What are your best memories from childhood? Catching fireflys? Building forts? Making mudpies? Climbing trees?
I’ve spent a lot of time with kids and there’s one thing I know makes sense: Letting kids be kids. They’re curious. They need time to imagine and play and explore. They want to be inspired and nature does the trick.
We adults know ice caps are melting and forests are burning, but don’t make this the focus of children’s education. There are far healthier ways to raise environmentally aware kids than to scare
To be a green kid means getting outside and getting dirty. Children have a natural tendency to bond with the world around them. It’s in our genes and part of who we are. Wander with toddlers outdoor and let them dig in the dirt and chase chipmunks. Pay attention as they turn into explorers and connect with nature nearby.
In the words of place-based educator David Sobel, “If we want children to flourish, we need to give them time to connect with nature and love the Earth before we ask them to save it.”
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your kids, get outside and get dirty!
Image: shortfatkid on Flickr under a Creative Commons License