Can you really expect your children to prefer washing the dishes instead of tossing out harmful plastic-ware? Will your newborn notice the difference between organic onesies and non-organic clothes? Thankfully, raising your kids to be environmentally conscious is getting easier, more affordable, and more rational, thanks to kid-friendly educational websites, online games, special TV programs, networking events, and youth conservation groups that inspire kids to save the environment. Find 100 of the best tips and resources here.
Understanding the Environment
Check below for kid-focused articles, interactive websites and other fun resources that introduce kids to the environment.
- Understanding the Human Impact: The Save a Snowman group helps kids understand the real human impact on the environment.
- The Green Squad: School-aged children will learn how their school affects their health and the environment. The Green Squad shares ways to investigate their school’s safety rating according to an Enviro-O-Meter and more.
- TreePeople: TreePeople specifically serves school children and the communities in the Los Angeles, CA, area, but anyone can benefit from their website, which has resources, tips and event planning ideas for planting trees and finding solutions for urban ecosystem problems.
- Volunteering: Helping the Environment: PBS Go! asks kids, "Do you love your mother…Mother Earth that is?" Find reasons and tips to take care of the planet here.
- Discovering the Oasis: This interactive site challenges kids to discover an ecosystem near them and report back by answering questions about what kind of environment they visited, what animals and insects they saw and more.
- Just for Kids: The University of Illinois sponsors this website, full of games and interactive pages that let kids explore their environment, from insects to plants to planting a garden.
- The Nature Conservancy Fun Stuff: From nature e-cards to conservation quizzes to slideshows, videos and audiochats about different ecosystems, this page is a great resources for introducing your kids to the environment.
- A Bigger Splash: This Splash Zone from the Monterey Bay Aquarium is designed to help "children forge a lifelong love for the oceans." They can play in the interactive Coral Reef Kingdom look at pictures from the Enchanted Kelp Forest and more.
- EPA Environmental Kids Club: The Game Room at the EPA Environmental Kids Club lists "a bunch of games that will help [kids] learn about the environment and have some fun at the same time."
- EEK! Environmental Education for Kids: Let your kids play around this site to learn about the planet, animals, and more.
Infants and Toddlers
Start raising your kids to be environmentally conscious when they’re babies, and pursuing an organic lifestyle will come natural to them.
- Organic Baby Food: According to this article on Good Green Fun, "making your own [baby food] is cheaper and safer." Learn how to make your own baby food in this post.
- Green books series: The Green Eaters: This series of green books for toddlers focuses on five farm animals.
- Chapter One Organics: The Green Eaters author also designs this organic clothing line for babies.
- Wholesome Baby Food: Check out this website for wholesome menu ideas for babies from 4 months to 12 months.
- 10 Ways to Raise a Green Baby: Ecostreet lists ten ways you can raise a green baby, from breastfeeding to using reusable diapers.
- Cutting Down on Plastic Toys, Gizmos and Doodads: This author knows that when you have a baby, it’s hard to spend the time and money searching for Earth-friendly toys and "gizmos." Read her tips for cutting back here.
- How to Raise a Green Baby: The LifeScript Connect Network shares "natural and organic choices for your baby" in this article.
- Are Organic Baby Clothes Necessary?: Check out this post to find out if all the hype over organic baby clothes is really worth it.
- Phthalates in Baby Care Products: How to Avoid Toxins Without Losing Your Mind: Reduce harmful toxins in baby care products by following these tips.
- Hazel Wood Children: This online shop specializes in "environmentally conscious products for infants, children and parents," from clothing to furniture to bedding to skincare.
Part of raising an environmentally conscious child is getting them to eat healthy foods, especially all-natural or organic meals. Look to these sources for kid-friendly options that are tasty as well as Earth-friendly.
- Chocolate Dreams: Chocolate That’s Good for People and the Earth: Most kids adore chocolate, but some chocolate comes from harmful sources that rely on excessive chemicals or even slave labor to work in chocolate fields. Use this guide to find out which chocolate is good for your family and other communities.
- Make Smart Seafood Choices: The Monterey Bay Aquarium helps eco-smart parents make decisions about picking out ocean-friendly seafood.
- The Best (and Worst) Products for Making Baby Food: From the potato masher to the mini food mill, find out which tools are best for making your own baby food.
- Granola Chic: Granola Chic publishes lots of kid-friendly recipes that are also organic, natural and/or raw-based.
- Organic and Other Environmentally Friendly Foods: Turn to this guide to help you understand the meaning of organic foods, sustainable foods and other natural, Fair Trade or grass-fed foods.
Be a green example for your kids by making your own cleaning products and getting creative when doing your household chores.
- Controlling Mold Without Toxic Chemicals: A moldy house can result in a harmful environment for your kids. Get rid of mold without adding toxins to your air with the tips presented in this article.
- How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit: This guide from the Care2 website shows green moms how to make oven cleaner, window cleaner, furniture polish and other non-toxic household cleaners.
Medicine and Health
Understand how the environment and your kids’ health are intertwined with the help of these resources and guides.
- Ozone, Air Quality and Asthma: KidsHealth.org helps parents and kids understand how the ozone and air quality affects asthma.
- Eczema Rise in Kids Worldwide: Is There an Environmental Connection?: This article questions the rise in kids with eczema, and lists several factors that can contribute to or worsen symptoms.
- Herbal Medicine and Children’s Health: This resources is especially helpful for parents of young children, who can’t take over-the-counter meds to help ease their symptoms.
From starting eco-friendly holiday traditions to planting trees, these special activities will keep kids interested in saving the environment.
- ZOOM Into Action: This organization partners with local PBS stations to inspire kids to volunteer, recycle, and let other kids know how they’re helping save the environment.
- Sierra Club Action Center: The Sierra Club’s Action Center website lists current projects like the Help Save the Polar Bear plea. Check back often to find ways your kids can make a difference in legislation, saving the animals, or just learning more about energy and the environment.
- Plant a tree: School kids have been planting trees on Arbor Day for decades. Make it a family event to plant a tree each month or year in yard, a friend’s yard, or anywhere that’s practical (and legal).
- 5 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Holidays: Show your kids that the holidays aren’t an exception to green living. This quick guide has tips for keeping the holidays fun and eco-friendly.
- Visit the zoo or aquarium: Getting to see animals from around the world in replicas of their natural habitat will give kids a better idea of how ecosystems affect one another.
- Throw an organic birthday party: Bake an organic cake or batch of cupcakes following one of these economical recipes.
- Visit your local farmer’s market: Visit your local farmer’s market to give kids a chance to talk to the farmers and gardeners who grow their own food. It’s also way more fun than going to the grocery store.
- Take a drive out to the country: If your family lives in the big city, take your kids on a vacation or just a drive through the countryside. If they’ve never been exposed to nature, they won’t understand how or why to appreciate it.
Get your kids to go green early by following these Earth-friendly tips.
- Recycle: One of the easiest ways to get kids to make a difference is to recycle. Set up an extra recycling container next to the trash can for empty soda cans, old papers and plastic.
- Carpool: Save gas and the environment by taking turns driving the kids on your block to school or practice.
- Write on both sides of the paper: When your child gets a new notebook or coloring book, encourage them to write on both sides of the paper so it’ll last longer and waste less paper.
- Get political: If your child feels strongly about a particular issue, help them write a letter to your Congressman or U.S. Representative. You’ll not only promote environmental advocacy, but your child’s participation in the political process as well.
- Turn off the water when you brush your teeth: Ask your kids to turn off the water when they brush their teeth to cut down on water consumption.
- Make a birdhouse: Offset urban and suburban development by giving the birds a place to live. Making a birdhouse is a fun activity for kids too.
- Ride bikes: If you have to run a short errand to the corner store, ride your bikes or strap on roller blades instead of jumping in the gas guzzling, air polluting SUV.
- Grow your own vegetables: Kids might be more likely to eat their vegetables if they grow them themselves. You’ll also help cut down on the harmful mass packaging and transportation it takes to deliver goods to the grocery store.
- Make book covers out of recyclable materials: This guide suggests that kids use paper grocery bags and old newspapers to make book covers instead of buying ready-made ones at the store.
- Be aware of watering rules: Make sure you only water your yard on assigned days, if your city has a shortage.
Toys, Arts and Crafts
These fun activities are eco-friendly and promote environmental awareness.
- Zen Design Group: The Zen Design Group designs and manufactures fun, engaging, good-for-the-environment toys for kids.
- Artists Helping Children: This list of resources from Artists Helping Children has online interactive coloring books, homemade art supplies recipes and more arts and crafts ideas, some of which are green, and others are not.
- Water Filter: Kids learn how to make their own recycling water filter in this quick guide.
- Send Nature Ecards: Letting your child pick out nature-oriented ecards for special days is fun and good for the environment. Plus, they’re all free.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Learning Activities: Even if you don’t live near the Bay Area, you can introduce your kids to the animals and sea life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This page has printable coloring pages, online games and more fun facts about oceanic ecosystems.
- Discovering Outdoors Sheets: Projects on this site include bird watching, building a nest box, and growing plants without seeds.
- Organic Crafts: Kimberly Monaghan posts 75 different Earth-friendly arts and crafts activities for kids of all ages.
- Art from Recycled Materials: Kids will enjoy turning everyday items like coffee can drums and coasters into art items.
- Green Crafts: Find organic and Earth-friendly art activities here.
- Ten Green Toys for 2008: This list of ten green toys, including Fair Trade footballs and a bamboo xylophone, are safe and fun for kids.
Articles and Guides
These articles and guides have tips for parents, as well as fun games for kids that promote an eco-conscious lifestyle.
- 50 Ways to Save the Environment: The Kids Corner at JustGive.org lists 50 ways for kids to save the environment, from promoting conservation at home, in the yard and at the store.
- Recycle City: The EPA’s kids’ site introduces children to recycling here.
- Bindi The Jungle Girl: Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi has her own show on Discovery Kids, and a website with games, videos and photos that teach kids about respecting animals and the environment.
- Bringing Up Green Baby: This how-to guide has tips for raising green babies and older kids too.
- Green Mom Guilt: This post helps guilt-ridden moms feel better about juggling their motherhood instincts and their environmentally-conscious lifestyles.
- Tree Hugging Family Browse posts about Earth Day, eco clothing, organic cooking, and eco youth on Tree Hugging Family.
- Mindful Momma: Find out what the Mindful Momma has to say about raising kids to be environmentally conscious.
- The Green Mommy: This green mommy blogs about consumerism, raising her son to be environmentally conscious and more.
- Eco Baby Blog: Find out everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins, harmful chemicals, children’s books about the environment, environmentally friendly products and more.
- Be a Green Kid: If your child wants some advice on what he or she can do to make a difference, direct them to this guide at KidsHealth.org.
- Can We Build It? : Turn your little kids on to Bob the Builder, if they’re not watching him already. According to RiverWired, Bob is "America’s greenest builder" and takes on projects that use solar panels and hay bales to increase insulation the natural way.
- Discovering the Oasis: More Resources: This page lists books about recycling, endangered animals and other environmental subjects for kids of every age group.
Games and Interactive Websites
These online games give kids the chance to have fun while learning important facts about the environment.
- Inspiring Kids Making a Difference: Kids will be inspired when they read about what other kids their age are doing to help animals, other children, and the environment.
- Eco Child’s Play: This blog is devoted to sharing green finds, from organic toys to kids’ books about the environment to green holiday ideas.
- Natural Family Online: This website gives tips, resources and products to promote "whole living for the whole family."
- Kids’ Planet: Kids’ Planet is a colorful, interactive website that encourages kids to be "defenders of wildlife."
- The Big Blue Bus: This website teaches kids about water consumption, different marine ecosystems, and more through games, a Water Wizards Club and more.
- Nature Challenge for Kids: Kids take 10 challenges with tour guide David Suzuki to protect nature.
- Kids Go Wild: Kids Go Wild! is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and includes fun facts about wildlife, an arcade with different games and more.
- TMWA Academy: The Aqua Academy has facts, games, science guides and more fun stuff about water, organized for kids in grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. There’s also a special section for teachers.
- My First Garden: This "guide to the world of fun and clever gardening" has a garden gallery, tutorials explaining gardening basics and more.
- Kids Saving Energy: Kids can play games and learn about renewable energy on this interactive site.
- NRDC Kids’ Links: Visit this page for even more websites, games and resources for kids interested in energy, air pollution, conserving water, protecting wildlife, and preserving the environment.
Make protecting the environment a fun way for your kids to make new friends and feel like they are part of a big movement. Read below to find information on eco-driven movements kids can join.
- Earth Force: Earth Force is a network of youth who care about saving the environment. The site has lots of "tools for teachers," as well as a list of local offices around the country, and a list of programs, like Earth Force After School.
- Earth Day Network: Encourage your kids to join the Earth Day Network, or get the whole family to sign up. You’ll find a list of programs held throughout the year, as well as basic information on how to promote Earth Day ideals everyday.
- Save a Snowman: Save a Snowman is a nonprofit group promoting "a fun, positive approach to solving the climate crisis." Kids can adopt a snowman, and parents can sponsor a family or raise money at work.
- Ocean Action Team: Join the Ocean Action team, sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to get your kids involved in saving the natural habitats of whales, sea otters and other sea life. This page also has quizzes, volunteer information and more.
- Care2: Care2 is a popular social networking sites for environmentalists. Encourage your teenager to join, or set up your own profile on behalf of the whole family.
- The Environment Site: The Environment Site has its own MySpace profile for networking purposes.
- Kids F.A.C.E.: The Kids For A Clean Environment group has more than 2,000 chapters all over the world and sponsors tree planting events and other activities.
- Idealist.org: Find volunteer opportunities for your kids or show this site to your teens to connect with environmentalists all over the world.
- Environmental Groups: The Natural Resources Defense Council publishes this inclusive list of environmental and conservation groups alphabetically.
Get your teenagers involved in environmental activism by showing them these sites, resources and ideas.
- I Buy Different: This website gives teens the message: "You have the power to make the Earth a better place because of what you buy." Encourage them to make responsible decisions.
- Sierra Club Outings: This page has information about trips around the U.S. and around the world. Travelers will learn how to offset their carbon footprints during their vacation and will meet up with other nature enthusiasts during trips to the glaciers, the mountains and more.
- Green Alternatives to Typical Spring Breaks: RiverWired’s eco-travel post has alternative Environmental Spring Break ideas for conscious teens.
- Top 10 Eco Celebrities: Show your teens this list of some of the hottest and most powerful green celebs on the planet to give them some inspiration.
- Nature Stories Podcast: If your teenagers are stuck in front of their XBOX 360 day in and day out, inspire them to get outdoors and experience nature with these exciting podcasts. They feature adventures from Australia to Mongolia to Appalachia.
- Eight Ways to Go Green: These environmental tips are geared towards teenagers.
- How To: Recycle Your Computer: TreeHugger explains the process and importance of recycling a computer.
- Shop green: Lots of designers, celebrities and stores like H&M, Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman, Stella McCartney and Barney’s have come out with organic or all-natural clothing lines. Shop around for green products that are good for the environment.
- Drive an eco-friendly car: Even SUV manufacturers are getting in on the action to give consumers more options for driving green.
- Ecorazzi: Visit Ecorazzi, a blog that dishes up "the latest in green gossip," from animals to shopping to movies to cars.