Encourage your child to build a bond with nature

We all know that children’s early years are a powerful time to build habits and values that can last a lifetime. The fact is 90% of brain development happens before the age of 5 (Harvard Center on the Developing Child) and research shows that learning through play is critical for children’s skill development for the future (The LEGO foundation). At Earth Warriors our objective is to enable children in their early years to build a bond with and love for nature, along with individual behaviour and action, to enable them to engage in systems level change later on.

We believe that children in their early years can learn about climate change and sustainability through play-based activities that use a positive, solutions focused approach. Here are five Earth Warrior activities that you as a parent or guardian can do with your child at home to start building sustainable habits and nurture their love for nature.

Activity 1 – Make Your Own Pot

This activity is fun for your child and good for the planet! Find an empty yoghurt pot or loo roll for your child. Get your child excited to paint, colour and stick materials on the yoghurt pot or loo roll, to design their own unique food grower!

What will your child be learning? 

Early years skills: This activity is great for motor skill development, creativity and imagination.

Earth Warrior knowledge: Explain to your child that instead of throwing away these materials, you used them to make a pot that you can now grow your own food in!

Activity 2- Grow Your Own Food

This activity is easy, fun, cheap and delicious. It’s perfect for an urban environment without much outdoor space. All you need is a pot (you can use the pot from Activity 1), seeds or vegetable scraps, water, and sunlight. The experience of getting their hands dirty, digging in pots, and playing with seeds from tomatoes, onion bulbs, beans, and peas, engenders an emotional connection and love for nature. An example is growing your own cress heads in egg shells or on kitchen paper.

What will your child be learning? 

Early years skills: This activity is great for motor skill development and early science observation and data collection skills. Your child will monitor the changes in the plant growth process over a period of time.

Earth Warrior knowledge: Explain to your child that instead of buying

Activity 3 – Make Your Own Toy

Save any old items you have around the house from kitchen rolls to empty milk cartons to yoghurt pots and use them for this activity. Your child can get creative with designing and making his/her own toys. An example is making and colouring in a robot from old tissue boxes and loo rolls.

What will your child be learning? 

Early years skills: This activity is great for motor skill development, creativity and imagination. This also tests children’s problem-solving skills as not all materials will fit together on the first go.

Earth Warrior knowledge: Explain to your child that instead of buying a new toy which produces waste and using resources, they are creating their own special toys and helping protect the Earth at the same time!

Activity 4 – Upcycle Old T-Shirts

Create something new out of something old! Give your child an old t-shirt (ideally a light coloured one) and provide them with some markers to decorate and design their shirt. Then help your child cut a deeper hole in the neck of the shirt and tie the bottom to make a tote bag. Tell your child that you will take this bag with you the next time you go shopping so you don’t have to use a single-use plastic bag.

What will your child be learning? 

Early years skills: This activity is great for fine motor skills, creativity and imagination.

Earth Warriors knowledge: Explain to your child that this activity shows that it is possible to reduce waste by reusing and upcycling old things and turning them into new things.

Activity 5 – Nature Treasure Hunt

Go on a hunt with your child for nature’s treasures! Tell him/her that a treasure trove is a collection of special things and that nature is full of special objects. You can make binoculars out of old loo rolls and string for students to “spy” their treasures. You can have your child decorate old egg cartons to collect their treasures in. Go for a walk with your child in your local environment to collect their treasures such as leaves, sticks and pine cones.

What will your child be learning? 

Early years skills: Understanding the world; physical development; Speaking and Listening, well-being.

Earth Warriors knowledge: This activity starts to build a lifelong bond with nature.Your child begins to appreciate all the treasures nature has to offer and how special nature is and that we have to protect our planet, even as young kids!