Five Ways for Children to Connect with the Earth this Spring

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Photo © Courtesy of Let’s Talk Science

A growing body of research suggests that learning and spending time outdoors as children builds a stronger sense of connection to the land and is an excellent step to ensuring today’s children will be making positive impacts in the future. Indigenous cultures have long-held practices of learning from the land and instilling a sense of stewardship in their communities that builds understanding and respect for the natural world.

Here are four ways to introduce the concept of climate change to kids while encouraging a connection with the environment and one special not-to-miss event.

Keep a climate journal

Climate change is an abstract subject for younger kids, you can explain that climate is simply the pattern of weather in a certain place over time. Have them keep a weather journal of the local weather day to day to get a sense of the climate in their area and talk about how it might have changed from when you were a child.

let's talk science
Photo © Let's Talk Science

Get in the dirt

Growing and nurturing plants helps children understand that living things have needs and that people have a role to play in helping living things meet those needs. Let’s Talk Science has a great project called Tomatosphere™, where you can grow seeds that have been to space!

Build an outdoor play tool kit

Put together an outdoor tool kit with things like a magnifying glass, a pair of binoculars, a shovel, and a bucket. These items can help kids find and collect natural specimens to examine. 

Walk and talk

Go on walks with your kids and, along the way, observe how other members of the community are helping the environment—say, a commuter riding a bike or a neighbour planting native flowers for the pollinators. Weaving these conversations into daily life helps keep children aware of climate change without fostering fear. For educators in Canada looking to learn more about incorporating other worldviews and indigenous ways of knowing into climate education, Let’s Talk Science is offering a new series of professional learning opportunities this spring focused on that topic area.

View the Solar Eclipse!

Many Canadians will be treated to the once-in-a-lifetime event of a A total solar eclipse—when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking out the Sun—on Monday, April 8, 2024.  It will be visible across North America, including Ontario, Quebec and the eastern provinces. Whether children are in school or at home, make sure they don’t miss out on this memorable event.

It doesn’t take much to cement a lifelong relationship between children and the natural world, but it helps to start early and be consistent. While celebrating Earth Month this spring, visit letstalkscience.ca/topic/climate-science for more resources on green careers, sustainable agriculture, STEM Storytimes and much more.  

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