Teaching young children how to respect the planet can be a really fun lesson, in addition to the benefits it brings them as they grow into adulthood. There are so many great games, activities and stories to share both in and out of the classroom.

Sharing those same lessons might sound more difficult for babies and toddlers, but did you know there are a number of ways you can instill respect for the planet into your little ones right away?

In honor of Earth Day this month, April 22, 2023, we’ve compiled a list of super simple ways to introduce one of the most important skills to your child, thus creating eco-conscious adults who respect the earth and lives around them for generations to come.

  1. Set an Example: Before your baby can even speak or communicate, they’ll be absorbing every bit of the world around them through watching their favorite person: you. Watching you place cans, plastic and newspapers into one bin and other types of garbage into another is something they’ll notice and mimic as they begin to grow. Watching you brush your teeth and turning the water off in between rinses, taking quick showers, and putting old toys and clothes away in bags for donation will become so normal to them, they’ll surely pick up the same habits as they grow. Making an effort to purchase eco-friendly items like sustainable cleaning products, reusable food bags and water bottles, eco-friendly toys and games, as well as compost bins are also ways to demonstrate sustainable practices at home and in the classroom.
  2. Read: There are so many amazing books for babies and toddlers that focus on sustainability in simplistic ways. Read them books that talk about the importance of trees, recycling, and little animals like bugs. A few of our favorites include The Earth Book by Todd Parr, Counting on the Earth by Ekaterina Trukhan, and Recycling is Fun by Charles Ghigna.
  3. Go Outside: Young children not only need to understand simple tasks to help save energy, but they also need to be introduced to the environment to understand and respect nature. Take them in the backyard or your local park and show them the leaves off the trees, point out the little ants that walk by and demonstrate that they need to be gentle and not harm them. Show them the birds singing in the trees, remark on the sun shining and heating their skin. Once play time is over, make an effort to throw all your trash away and clean up to demonstrate respect for the earth and respect for those around them sharing the same space.
  4. Ask for their help: When leaving a room, ask them to turn off the lights as you carry them out. Show them how to shut the water off when you’re done. As they grow into the 8-10 month range they’ll be working more and more on their fine motor skills, so you can ask them to help you put the plastic bottle into the recycling bin. They’ll be practicing their eco-conscious activities as well as strengthening their cognitive abilities.                                                                                
  5. Play with eco-friendly toys: Giving them access to eco-friendly products no only offers them fun play experiences but it also boosts your confidence that you’re doing your part to help the earth, while providing your little ones with safe, sustainability made toys you can trust. Items like our Sensory Balls, differently textured balls made of natural rubber, and our Eco Maxi Chain , made from bioplastic derived from sugar cane, are great ways to support eco-friendly practices while providing them with options for classic play that strengthens their gross and fine motor skills.

This Earth Day, help to do your part in conserving energy and the planet. For more ideas on living eco-consciously and to get involved in projects around your community or the legislative level, visit EarthDay.org.