How to teach kids to care for the environment and cultivate sustainable habits

3 kids at Child's Play Early Learning Centre playing and learning in the veggie garden area

Now more than ever, building a sense of environmental responsibility and instilling sustainable habits into our children has become more and more important. By introducing these values into our little ones at a young age, we’re empowering them to take care of the planet and instil the same values into the generation after them. In this article, we’ve brought together all the best ways to teach kids about the environment, as well as activities to make eco-learning fun.

Connecting with nature

The first, and probably the best way to get your little ones to cultivate eco-friendly habits is by exposing them to the beauty of nature. Experiencing nature for yourself is the most effective way of connecting with it. So spend some time outdoors – nature walks, camping, gardening projects or just a picnic at the park – the more time they spend outdoors, the more they’ll foster a love for nature and a sense of awe, respect, and appreciation for the environment.


Teaching our kids eco-friendly habits

The most important thing to remember is to keep everything hands-on. The more kids can get stuck in themselves, the more they’ll connect with whatever we’re teaching them. Below are a few of the most sustainable, and fun things to teach kids about doing their part for the environment.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Why not teach your little ones the importance of the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Teaching kids to repurpose items instead of throwing them away is a large part of establishing an eco-friendly approach to life. You can do this by buying them reusable water bottles, lunch boxes and sandwich bags – and explain how that’s more sustainable than using a new one and throwing it away every day.

A class of children at a Green Science Fair event, with presentations on solar power and recycling.

Water Conservation

This is a big one. Teaching kids about the importance of conserving water and the impact of wasting it can’t be understated. Practical ways to do this include encouraging them to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth, turning the tap off properly, and running the bath a little bit lower if possible. Another fun way to teach water conservation is to involve them in activities like collecting rainwater in buckets and using it to water the garden or indoor plants.  

Saving Energy

Energy saving is another easy eco-friendly habit to teach kids. You can do this by reminding them to turn off lights, and appliances when they’re not being used. One of the best ways to achieve this is by making sure you set a good example. When turning a light or appliance off yourself, be sure to speak out loud and explain why you’re turning it off, and how doing so will save energy. 

Encourage sustainable transportation

Wherever possible, try and teach your children about the environmental benefits of walking, biking, or using public transportation instead of using a car. Surprise them and change things up by suggesting that you all walk or bike to school or use alternative modes of transportation, like the bus or train, if you can. This won’t just be an adventure for them, but will also help to introduce them to the concept of sustainable transportation.

Eco-friendly activities for kids

There are a ton of fun eco-conscious activities you can play with your kids, to make learning about the environment more engaging. We’ve picked some of our favourite ones below –

Nature Art Projects

Get your little one to create a piece of art using natural materials like leaves, flowers, twigs, or pebbles. Alternatively, you could get them to create a piece of art using repurposed items they’ve found around the house. Help them to collect things like paper towel rolls or empty tissue boxes and then help them to make something new out of them, speaking about the conservation process as you go.


Another easy way to get your little ones involved is by including them in planting flowers, trees, fruits, or vegetables in the garden. Teaching them about how plants grow, watering and caring for plants, and how they can then eat them will foster a sense of responsibility and connection to nature and how it can provide for us. Not to mention the excitement and wonder they’ll experience as they watch their plants or flowers grow from seeds into beautiful fully-grown plants.


There’s no better way to instil a love for the outdoors than by sleeping under the stars. Camping is a great way to teach your little ones about the environment, explore the beauty of nature, and connect with them over some family time away. Remember to include them in everything you do, from preparing food to sightseeing and navigating the area to find the perfect camping spot.

Leading by example

As much as we can include and introduce our little ones to living more sustainably, they’ll never learn more than from watching us. Children learn by example, so it’s important that we all model environmentally sustainable behaviour for them. Be purposeful about exposing them to your own eco-friendly habits. This can include everything from composting and gardening to reusing products and taking public transport or your bike to work.

Raising eco-friendly kids

By including your little ones in these fun and eco-educational activities, you’ll be creating a love and respect for nature that will last a lifetime. Let’s set a good example and make eco-friendly habits an everyday habit by building them into our children’s routines. This way, we’ll be inspiring them to become stewards of the environment and develop lifelong sustainable habits.

At Child’s Play, a love for nature is part of our curriculum. With outdoor play, as well as activities that instil respect for the environment, we always aim to set a shining example when it comes to following more sustainable habits every day. If you’re looking for a well-rounded learning centre that prioritises learning through play and engagement, get in touch with a member of our team today!