Looking for nature-based, screen-free activities for your kids that foster an appreciation for the planet and environment? Check out this list of free eco-friendly educational programs and projects for kids, some of which are aligned or consistent with national academic standards.
I’m sure nearly all of us have heard our kids whine about being bored over the last few weeks. I agree that this “quarantine thing” is getting pretty old. Boredom is really great for kids for a variety of reasons, so letting them feel bored is a great parenting move.
Sometimes, however, it’s nice to have a project they can work on that you know has solid educational merit. The number of apps and software programs and websites that have opened up for free for parents and teachers while school is out is brilliant.
However, sometimes it’s also a little overwhelming. We really can have too much of a good thing if we are trying to take advantage of all the wonderful projects and programs available right now.
Also, many of them involve screens. While I understand that this is sometimes necessary considering we are stuck at home, I also love the programs that encourage kids to get outdoors, explore nature, and learn about the environment by experiencing it.
7 Places To Find Free Eco-Friendly Educational Projects For Kids
If you’re interested in some ideas for great programs to help teach kids about nature and foster appreciation and respect for the environment, check out these free eco-friendly educational programs and projects for kids.
Sustainability Science Sundays
Jess, of Thoughtfully Sustainable, shares a simple, at-home science experiment each Sunday using #SustainabilityScienceSunday that you can do with your kids to help them learn about the science behind eco-friendly initiatives and the importance of sustainable living. Many of her experiments include full lesson plans, which she develops using her experience as a former high school science teacher.
I shared about this landfill experiment she created, and we joined forces to introduce this and two other experiments on Going Zero Waste a couple of weeks ago. I encourage you to follow Jess on Instagram and try out one or two of her experiments.
Captain Planet Foundation
Captain Planet Foundation works collaboratively to engage and empower young people to be problem-solvers for the planet. Among many other things, the foundation creates Quests as part of their Project Hero program.
These quests are project-based learning tools to help kids engage with nature and better understand environmental matters. They currently have two Quests, one about Pollinators and one about Soil Health, that kids from around the country can try. The Quests are developed using Next Generation Science standards and are aimed at teachers but can certainly be used by families at home.
Global Guardian Project
Global Guardian Project creates free online activities for kids and monthly e-magazines that teach how to care for the earth, endangered animals and each other. We recently signed up for this, and I’m excited to see what the boys and I can do together.
With so much online now and our kids spending lots of time on screens, we’ve invested in Ocushield screen protectors that filter out blue light, protect our eyes, and ultimately help kids sleep better at night. If you’re considering using the Global Guardian Project resources, it may be worth taking a look at the Ocushield screen protectors or blue light glasses to use during screen time.
1000 Hours Outside
Started by a mom looking to get her kids outside more (a lot more) and off of screens, 1000 Hours Outside is a blog and related family challenge to spend at least 1,000 hours outside over the course of 12 months.
We printed out the charts and have been tracking our outdoor hours (sometimes diligently, sometimes not so much). They also have some helpful posts like how to make a lantern for hiking at night and some great tools to find the nature gems in your local area.
As the name implies, Kids Gardening is all about gardening with kids. It has so many resources, which felt overwhelming for me at first. But I spent a bit of time making my way through many of the resources, and I have a few favorites spots that I found really helpful.
My older son sometimes reads sections on his own. I also use the resources to create ideas about how to better engage my boys in our garden, like when we are creating a pizza garden for kids or managing our compost at home.
Patch Programs from Cabot Creamery
Yep – the cheese company. Cabot Creamery has created several Patch Programs to provide a simple curriculum or set of activities to do with kids to help them learn about various topics. For example, they have a Pollinator Patch and a Sustainability Patch. The patch programs can be used by scout troops but are also great for parents to use at home.
Environment Education in Wisconsin
This organization has created a bunch of activities for kids that relate to recycling and trash, animals and nature, clean air and climate change and more. I used the Recycling Memory game a while back, and they have lots more activities you can print out or try with your kids.
Do you know any other places to find educational projects for kids that help foster an appreciation for the environment and a love of nature? Share them in the comments!