Kids are the future of our world. This is something that we cannot dispute no matter how much someone may want to. One day we will all be gone and the future generations will be in charge of the Earth. This means that we want to do as much as we can for them while they are still here. For many of us, this is one of the big reasons to support things like greenways. Just creating them isn’t enough though. We need to teach our children why these places are important. Here are a couple of ideas for parents and teachers to get our kids involved in our environmental installations.

Field trips are always a highlight of the school year, no matter how old you are. This is especially true of younger kids, though. I remember being in elementary school and going to an apple farm and a cranberry bog and loving every moment of both. Any time we got to go on a field trip and spend time outside was a huge win for all of us. If you are able to organize a field trip to a greenway, it’s sure to stick in their minds and be a hit. You can find hundreds of activities to do with kids of all ages outside, but some of my favorites were ones where we would learn about animals. There was a particularly fun one where different colored toothpicks taught us about camouflage in nature.

Art is always a great way to engage kids in learning. Something I have always done with my younger family members is after going somewhere special, we draw what we saw there together. Even as a teacher, you can have an assignment where your students spend a certain amount of time out on one of the paths (with an adult of course) and then in school have them draw what they saw and compare it to the other students after. This may also offer you some time to catch up on your lesson planning!

Nature is a playground for everyone, especially for those who are still younger. Getting kids exposed to the beauty and wonder of the outdoors is something those of us here in Gaston County always support. After all, they are the ones who will inherit the Earth. We want to make sure they know how precious it is.