By Sam Killmeyer

This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this holiday is a great opportunity to engage everyone, young and old, in conversations about the environment! More so, if your child’s school has been canceled or they are taking classes remotely due to coronavirus, you may be looking for some ways to supplement their education and keep them engaged. We hope that these tips help you think of creative ways to foster your child’s love for the earth and help them feel empowered in the face of an uncertain future.

Get Outside

Depending on where you live, it might be challenging to get outside right now. But sometimes we forget that getting outside doesn’t have to mean driving up into the mountains and camping. It’s as simple as walking out your door. Or onto a balcony of your apartment. You don’t have to go far to develop a relationship with nature. And if you are unable to go outside due to quarantine, spring is a great time to start seedlings. Or have your child help you care for houseplants or try an experiment like growing a lima bean in a plastic bag. 

Foster Love, Not Disaster

Talking about climate change with young people is challenging. After all, how do you explain to your child that animals are dying from swallowing plastic? Or that the fuel that allows the car to run is what’s warming the planet and threatening life around the world? Our global climate crisis is difficult for people of all ages to wrap their heads around, but a great place to start is through fostering a love for the environment. Loving the earth is the foundation upon which personal responsibility and understanding of the extent of the climate crises is built. 

When you are teaching about climate change, start with particulars. Drive by a fracking well in your community and talk about how oil taken from within the earth provides energy, but also warms the planet. If you’re on a road trip, point out wind turbines and talk about renewable energy. Have conversations about where paper and plastic come from, where the garbage goes, how the fruits and vegetables got to be on their plate. Kids are eager to learn, and when they see how the things in their daily lives are connected to a larger network of life, they’ll begin to see how we all have our part to play in helping the earth heal. 

Volunteer & Lead By Example

Your child is watching your daily actions, and that includes the way you live your life as an environmentalist. Practice eco-friendly habits like recycling, reusing, and reducing, and talk with your child about why you do these things. If possible, walk and bike places. Volunteer for kid-friendly activities, like weeding a community garden. Show them that small things make a difference, and that there are others out there who are also concerned about the environment and who are doing things to make the world a better place.

Remind Them That Kids Can Do Anything

Kids are often ready to change the world before their parents think they’re old enough to do so! It’s our job as the adults in their lives to encourage and support their ideas and goals. Greta Thunberg began striking on her own, and her action has become a global movement.

In fact, kids may be in a unique position to create change. They will be most impacted by climate change, and they can more easily point out the hypocrisies and failings in our current system to others. More so, kids educate other kids, who then educate other adults in their lives, including their parents who may not be as concerned about climate change. Letting kids lead the conversation immediately makes it less polarizing and puts them in a unique position to be heard.

Introduce them to youth activists — in person or online

Kids model their behavior after other kids, and that’s true for teaching about climate change too! Try finding youth activists in your area or attending a Friday’s for Future event. With the coronavirus pandemic, climate activism is being moved online and you can encourage your child to connect online or find creative ways to engage while prioritizing health and safety.

Youth activists to follow & share with children

Isra Hirsi – Isri is one of the co-founders of the US Youth Climate Strike, the American branch of the movement inspired by Greta Thunberg. She became a climate activist after seeing pipelines being built in her home state of Minnesota. She also happens to be the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Follow Isra on Twitter @israhirsi and Instagram @israhirsi

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – Xiuhtezcatl started speaking out about environmental issues when he was 6 years old, and since then has become the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of young activists, artists, and musicians from around the world who work to take action against climate change.

Follow Xiuhtezcatl on Twitter @xiuhtezcatl and Instagram @xiuhtezcatl

Mari Copeny – Mari, also known as Little Miss Flint, is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan who began raising awareness about Flint’s water crisis when she was eight-years-old. 

Follow Mari on Twitter @LittleMissFlint or her website

Haven Coleman – Haven is a 13-year-old local climate activist from Denver who has been leading co-local climate strike efforts. She is the Executive Director and founder of ARID Agency and a CO-Founder of U.S. Youth Climate Strike. 

Follow Haven on Twitter @havenruthie or visit

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