Elevate Difference

Grow Your Own Tree Hugger: 101 Activities to Teach Your Child How to Live Green

As a woman with young siblings, I have a vested interest in all materials that help me to have a positive influence on the adults they will grow up to become. I was very excited to see this new title by Wendy Rosenoff, an environmentalist who works with children through the Girl and Boy Scouts. Grow Your Own Tree Hugger contains, as noted, 101 activities that you can work through with your kids to help them better understand the planet and how to take care of it.

I often find it challenging (though necessary) to discuss lofty concepts with kids, and Rosenoff’s book helps because the activities serve as examples or analogies to larger, more complicated issues. For example, it might be difficult to get a child to understand the impact of pesticides and chemicals on our food, especially when these foods look the same as organic ones. Rosenoff suggests that you take two pieces of fruit—one organic and the other non-organic—and put them in the refrigerator. After several days, the organic fruit will be green and withered while the chemically enhanced one will still look new. This is a great, visual way to illustrate how pesticides prevent the natural decomposition process for kids.

Some activities do not actually involve activism, but offer a fun game as a way to encourage open conversation. Rosenoff suggests you make and fly a kite with your child and then use the opportunity to talk about wind power. She also encourages parents to take their kids out to experience nature, something the modern child often lacks exposure to.

In this day and age of the internet, video game devices, and television, some kids don’t spend much time outdoors at all. Rosenoff believes you should take them to examine tree stumps and determine the tree’s age, or get outside and plant something. She even includes recipes that parents and kids can make together with organic ingredients.

In working through Grow Your Own Tree Hugger, you not only inform your kids about the environment and the ways in which they can have an impact, but you get to spend time with them doing hands-on activities that are actually a lot of fun. You will probably both benefit from the time you spend growing your own tree hugger.

Written by: April D. Boland, April 30th 2010