Sharpen your pencils and don those new sneakers—it’s back-to-school time! After a nice long summer, kids are back at their desks, ready to tackle everything from multiplication tables to “what I did over summer vacation” essays. Energy and enthusiasm is high—making this a great time to heighten kids’ awareness of their communities’ place in the world, and to help our young people become environmental activists.
Here are five fun, hands-on activities that kids can do in the classroom or at home:
My Class On The Map
We offer a dynamic, hands-on curriculum to help kids learn their place in the world—and their potential to affect change both locally and globally. Teachers will be delighted to know that the curriculum meets the Common Core standards for ELA and math—but parents will find lots of great ideas here, too. Activities include mapping school grounds or neighborhoods, marking sites that are important to kids’ lives and their communities. Further activities range from identifying climate zones to mounting a community action project; we also have some great reading suggestions. Through mapping, students come to understand how they and their communities are connected to people and places around the globe.
Be A Bird Nerd
Place a bird feeder outside a ground-level window, and create an observation station inside, complete with a local bird identification sheet and a composition book. Students and siblings can take turns observing morning and afternoon, taking notes on species spotted and behaviors in their observation log. Over time, kids will see how bird life changes with the seasons. (This activity complements our 5th grade lessons.)
Do an audit of your home or school. Do you separate out the trash from the recycling? Do you purchase responsibly sourced food and paper goods? Are lights turned off in unoccupied rooms? Together, take notes on current habits, then sit down to create a plan to become more sustainable.
The Pen is Mighty
Letter writing can be a powerful tool for change. Kids can write letters to thank organizations that are working to protect our planet, or to companies that have room for improvement. It’s never too early to start engaging with local officials, either.
From Forest to Fridge
Take note of the foods you eat. Do any of them come from rainforest regions? With the help of our 7th grade lessons, explore the journey tropical fruits take from rainforests to grocery stores. How does Rainforest Alliance certification ensure that this fruit is good both for people and the planet?