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Children aren't born understanding the importance of nature, but learn by modeling the behavior of those who are important to them. If they learn from observation that nature is disposable, that is how they will treat it. Children can learn the importance of nature by teaching them a few simple things.
Boys and girls alike love to find and keep bugs, reptiles, rodents and other small creatures. They don't have any intention of harming the animals. Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are doing. Teach your children that when they remove an animal from its environment, they are breaking the circle of life. An animal needs to live in his natural environment to eat properly and reproduce.
When hiking with your children, teach them to stay on the trails. They will learn the importance of nature by respecting the plants and trees that grow along the trails. When going off trails, plants and small trees get trampled. There is also a risk of picking up seeds and transplanting them outside of their natural habitat. This can cause them to destroy the native plants in that area.
Kids will learn the importance of nature when they are taught not to feed the wildlife. When animals are fed human food, they learn to like it, and therefore, beg for more. It is easier for an animal to beg humans for food then it is to hunt for their own. Oftentimes, this causes them to wander into human territory where they are at risk to be hurt or killed.
Teach children the importance of nature by encouraging them not to litter. Show your children by example how to hold onto their trash until they find a trash can. It is easier to just throw trash on the ground, but it destroys the environment. Animals who eat the trash may get poisoned or choke on it. It also causes pollution in the atmosphere.
Recycling is a great way to teach your children the importance of nature. It also makes them feel like they are contributing to environmental conservation. This makes it more likely they will continue the behavior later in life. Allow your children to collect all the cans and bottles in the house and trade them in for cash. It is a great motivating factor for children.
The more children learn about the importance of nature, the greater the likelihood that there will be a nature for their future children to enjoy. Children who learn to respect nature at a young age will grow to become adults who want to protect it. It is well worth the effort.
@ Alchemy- Children learn well through discovery, so teaching them about nature through activities that you recommended are important. Allowing a child to see how natural processes work, and showing them the relationship between things they might not know are related are both good ways to teach the importance of nature.
Activities that show the human connection to nature are also good ways to teach your child. Teaching survival techniques on a camping trip are good ways to teach your child. Showing them plants that they can use as disinfectants, or how to build a shelter can teach your child that nature is a protector of species. Remember, people once relied on nature more directly than they do now.
Don't forget that nature includes more than the terrestrial areas that we camp and hike in. Teach your child the importance of nature through science.
Take your child to the ocean to swim n the surf, comb the beaches, or search for animals in tide pools. Take your child fishing on a lake and teach them the importance of only keeping what you need, and releasing under developed fish. Teach your child about air composition, or teach your child how solar energy is the basis for most life on earth.
Don't forget to teach the child how all the different geologic systems are connected. It is important to teach your child how nature works.
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