How do we raise planet friendly kids?

We love hearing about your eco-conscious efforts for raising your little ones to be passionate about the planet, appreciating their surroundings and taking care of the wildlife we share outdoor spaces with.

 

Recently, we asked our Frugi Family Facebook Group how they encourage their families to get outside in nature and what they do to form sustainable habits from early ages. We selected a handful of the wonderful responses we received which you can read below!

Ana Lesher has two children, Gael (8) and Gaia (4), who both love riding their bikes, going for walks in the forest, and swimming. Ana and her husband are both scientists and they live by a forest in France near the Swiss border.

 

Walking in the forest almost daily, the children love outdoor activities and spending time in their garden, tending to their vegetable patch and compost, as well as keeping chickens for eggs. They recently built an insect hotel to help insect populations, which the children loved.

 

Knowing that 80% of the happiest people in the UK said that they have a strong connection with the natural world, compared with less than 40% of the unhappiest*, we love that Ana and her family are making the most of the outdoors to raise their children.

Sarah Jeffery from Epsom, Surrey, is mum to Tom (2) who loves building and working with wood. Tom can use a screwdriver and name all the tools in Daddy’s toolbox! He also likes gardening on the family’s vegetable patch and helping to mow the lawn.

 

Knowing that 1 tonne of waste is produced for each disposable nappy wearing child after two and a half years*, Sarah used reusable nappies for Tom when he was a baby.

 

As a family they source reusable packaging for their groceries and Tom helps with the recycling and enjoys making things with cardboard boxes before they go out, such as fire engines and parking garages for toy tractors. Most of Tom’s toys and clothes are pre-loved which is a great way to save items that are still in great working condition from going to landfill!

 

We love that Sarah is getting her son involved in the outdoors at a young age, helping with gardening and nourishing the relationship to nature that will encourage him to love and protect the environment for years to come.

Rebecca Knight and her family live in Lanner, Cornwall. Rebecca is a teacher and has four children; Stanley (9), Ned (8), and three-year-old twins Norman and Mabel. The Knights have a vegetable patch and keep chickens, ponies, cats, a puppy, and fish, with everyone playing a part to look after them. Ned spends most time with the ponies and monitoring nature in the garden through his wildlife camera and is also the family foraging expert.

The family often sits by their outside fire in the evenings and listen to the nocturnal animals which fascinates the children. Sustainability and recycling are important, and they are living a zero-waste lifestyle as much as possible.

 

As a teacher, Rebecca has developed an understanding of how essential nature is for mental health and learning. She and her husband Daniel started a school garden club with some students that resulted in a Chelsea Flower Show silver gilt medal. Bravo Rebecca!

We love that Rebecca is incorporating so many aspects of sustainability into her family’s lives. From reducing their plastic consumption, growing their own vegetables, keeping animals, and appreciating the land as much as this family does is an inspiration for us all!

Becky Jones is a mum to six-year-old Arthur, four-year-old Ted and Dorothea who is just four months, the family are based in a small village in rural Worcestershire, where Arthur helps out on a nearby farm. Arthur has a thirst for facts and is really interested in the planet, gardening, animals, and conservation, and is talking to his school about becoming an Eco-School.

 

Arthur is autistic and being out in the environment is one of his special interests; he loves climbing trees, map reading whist exploring the forest and riding his bike on the cycle tracks.

 

As well as this, Arthur is a keen gardener, helping to plant fruit trees and enjoys discovering the ecosystems amongst fallen trees when out walking the family dog, Bailey. He's even made a bee house to help protect his local bees!

 

Knowing that just ten minutes in a natural setting can help children feel happier*, we just love these photos of Arthur enjoying nature and really interacting with the environment. We're also thrilled that he wants to get his school involved with the Eco-Schools programme, a global initiative to get children, parents and the entire community involved to earn their Green Flag certification.

Toni Stephenson from East Yorkshire, has two children; Florence (5) and and six-month-old Robyn. From using only reusable cloth nappies to regular litter picks, this family are true eco-warriors. They insist on plastic free items when shopping and opt for pre-loved toys over brand new ones. Florence attends the local Forest School where she is gardening and learning first-hand all about the natural world around her.

 

As volunteers for a local environmental group, the family help with a local Eco-Hut, which encourages others to carry out their own beach cleans, as well as giving presentations to local children. As a family, they feel very passionate that passing on their ‘eco-enthusiasm’ to the next generation will be important in ensuring the future health of our beautiful planet. We couldn’t agree more, Toni!

Knowing that litter on UK beaches has doubled over the past 20 years*, we appreciate that this family are true advocates for the planet and are getting out in the community to inspire, teach and encourage others to clean up and take care of the environment.

Shona Nelson lives in Scotland with husband Matt and their two children, Eloise (4) and Anders (2). Eloise calls herself a ‘nature kid’ and is planning a Mother Nature themed party for her 5th birthday! Eloise knows the names of lots of plants, birds and insects while Anders loves the water and splashing in muddy puddles, he's also learning bird calls - his favourite is the Wood Pigeon!

 

They often go camping and get outside in most weather to visit local beaches, woodlands and even their local pond with tadpoles and toads. Shona is a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS and might know a thing or two about child development and her husband Matt is a Landscape Architect.

 

We love that Shona and her family take advantage of the local wildlife and nature spots around them and encourages the children to learn the names and sounds of nature.

Louisa Knights has two boys Charles (9) and Joseph (6), and they live on a small farm in West Cornwall near Black Rock. Living near the sea, the boys are keen surfers and are passionate about marine conservation, which is probably influenced by the fact both Louisa and her husband are marine biologists working in fisheries, marine protected areas, and marine visualisation. The boys also love riding their pony, going on long bike rides, and helping to raise money for Asthma UK.

 

In 2018 they cycled across Cornwall to raise donations for the charity which is close to their hearts as both Charlie and Louisa suffer from severe asthma but view it as a challenge rather than a barrier.  The family are constantly having to pick up litter around their farm thrown from car windows and the boys also help harvest the organic hay, which needs cutting and baling each summer. The parents also encourage the boys to make things from nature, such as a butterfly and insect house as well as identifying wildlife, such as a hawk moth found in their stables.

 

We love hearing how the boys help on the farm, from clearing litter from hedges to helping cut and bale the hay (which is organic and wildflower-friendly!) each harvest. The boys are clearly showing an early interest in wildlife already and are happiest when outside exploring their fields and interacting with nature.

Sarah Wright Sarah and her husband have one boy Nathaniel who is nearly four and they live in Hertfordshire. The family have an allotment where Nathaniel loves to help garden and during lockdown he developed an interest in bees after watching leaf cutter bees in action.

 

He also loves going on walks and collecting seeds, sticks, and anything edible, such as blackberries and elderberries, and using his eye spy books to identify trees and insects, which he takes home to look at under his microscope. Sarah is a secondary school science teacher currently on maternity leave.

We love that Sarah has books to help Nathaniel identify items in nature which encourages his own investigation and discovery process. We wish this little eco-warrior lots of best wishes for his new sibling coming soon!

Jenny Nee has three children who are thirteen, eight and four months and they all live in northwest Ireland. Jenny’s children are bilingual as they moved to the Irish countryside to escape the fast pace of a big city in Germany.

 

They love exploring the beautiful Irish countryside and the older children are using methods to reduce, reuse, and recycle, such as wearing second-hand clothes.  They also love crafting with things they collect outdoors, such as stones, seashells, or driftwood, as well as using cardboard boxes for their projects.

 

We love that Jenny is taking inspiration from nature to do arts and crafts with her children at home. Foraging for special pieces of wood, stones, cones, leaves, etc, is the most ideal way to get kids connected and inspired by nature. Get them crafting at home and see them enjoy the wonders that nature can inspire.

 

 

 

 

*Further Reading:

Natural Childhood Report: https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/read-our-natural-childhood-report.pdf

Assessment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/290683/scho0505bjcw-e-e.pdf

How Spending Time in Nature Reduces Stress: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200225164210.htm

Great British Beach Clean Report: https://www.mcsuk.org/clean-seas/great-british-beach-clean-2018-report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *