Environmental Education: five educational activities to teach sustainability to children



When environmental education begins to be applied from the first moments of early childhood education, the possibilities for positive results are greater.

educational-child-sustainability activities


Environmental education is the process of gaining new knowledge about environmental issues, becoming a transformative agent for the preservation of the environment and its natural resources. When environmental education is effectively included at school, the individual is prepared to exercise citizenship in a sustainable way.

Environmental education brings about radical changes in mindset regarding the choices we make in our lives, taking into account our relationship with nature. It brings about healthier and more balanced life choices, with ourselves, with others, and with the environment, starting at the workplace and at home. 

When environmental education begins to be applied from the very first moments of early childhood education, the possibilities for positive results are greater. It is possible to work with children on values and building ideas, seeking to transform their attitudes towards the environment, so that they realize that everyone is responsible for natural resources and that each one can do their part so that we can live in a better world. ​​​​

What is Environmental Education?

Environmental education is the process by which individuals and society build values, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies aimed at the conservation of the environment, an asset for common use, essential to a healthy life, to quality of life, and to sustainability.

Today, much is said about the environment and the need for its preservation. However, although encouraged among adults, the truth is that this awareness must be built since childhood, since it is in this phase that the individual learns concepts and values that will be taken for life. This is why environmental education in early childhood education is so important. 

For ecological education to start early, it is essential to know the right way to teach sustainability to children.  Ecological education is based on three pillars: environmental, social, and economic. All must be worked on together in order to promote and safeguard the existence and functionality of each pillar.  In other words, sustainable attitudes should strengthen the economy, preserve nature, and develop society.​

According to UNESCO, there are four reasons to provide children with environmental education:

  To make them more aware and conscious of environmental problems.

  To boost their interest in caring for and improving the environment.

  To enhance their ability to learn about their surroundings.

  To broaden their ecological knowledge in subjects such as energy, landscapes, air, water, natural resources and wildlife.​






How to introduce sustainability in early childhood education

Sustainability in early childhood education is something that needs to be worked on jointly by the whole society.  However, an important part of this work begins at home.  The attitude of adults in conversations with their children, grandchildren, godchildren, nephews and nieces (among other ties that are not necessarily biological) about what consumption is and what its effects are, teaching about topics such as waste disposal, food, social inequality, what recycling is and how it works, etc., is fundamental.

Sustainability is an ideal that aims to meet all the basic and primordial needs of the human being without endangering the preservation of the planet, which includes the fauna and flora. And this must be done through processes that enable the replenishment of natural resources and avoid deforestation, pollution, and the extinction of species of plants, animals, and biomes in general.

Teaching sustainability to children is one of the key steps to develop more environmentally and economically conscious adults. Every small action replicate in a big reaction on the planet, both positively and negatively. It is these reactions that need to be taken into account when talking about this topic, so that the outcomes of these attitudes are tangible for the little ones and encourage them to maintain the correct behaviors. 


5 educational activities to teach sustainability to children


It is much easier to teach sustainability to children through practical activities. Therefore, we have selected 5 activities to do with children and learn a lot while having fun.



Adopt in your home the colored garbage cans for selective waste collection and find a disposal point that receives the garbage separately by category. Although it is a simple action, this step is decisive so that from an early age there is awareness and responsibility regarding the destination given to the waste.



A home vegetable garden is a way to save money and still guarantee healthier meals, free of pesticides and other toxic substances.  Growing small plants at home is a great alternative to work on responsibility and contact with nature, with children putting their hands to work, or, better saying, in the soil.



Did you know that the first sponge you ever used is still on the planet, somewhere in the ocean? How about writing a different story with the kids?  Milk cans, pet bottles, cardboard boxes and many other objects that would be thrown away can become fun and educational recycled toys. When buying toys in stores, look for those made of wood and, preferably, those that have a sustainability seal.

Environmental education should also work on the reduction in the production of disposable waste, such as cups, cutlery, and napkins.  Nowadays, it is increasingly common to use tableware made of recycled materials or with low environmental impact.  Plastic, no way!



Quick baths are one of the most difficult tasks for children, who like to spend long periods playing with water. But nothing that a "record competition" can't help solve. The tip is to create a game with your little one and set an average of 10 minutes per bath. You help him/her to reduce this time daily through songs or good practices, such as turning off the shower when not in use.  For babies, the use of bathtubs retains the water, making bathing more sustainable and enjoyable.



Painting is a fun activity that stimulates creativity and can teach a lot to the little ones and to adults as well. In this sense, Neoenergia contributes to the education and awareness of children on issues that involve the environment and the search for a more sustainable society.

Neoenergia Institute launched the 2nd edition of the Coloring Book, this time focused on Brazilian Corals. The first book was launched in 2020, called "Coloring Book - Migratory Birds", which brings, in children's language, curious and didactic information about six species of waders, birds that feed on invertebrates hidden in the mud, five of which are migratory.  

For this year, the theme chosen was marine biodiversity, with corals as its main characters.  The Let's color the corals of Brazil? book addresses the importance of corals to the oceans, and points out ways for society to preserve marine species that are essential to the planet's biodiversity. In addition to explaining the five types of corals found along the Brazilian coast, the book's main attraction are the pages that allow children to let their imagination run free and color the corals.

Download it for free, learn, play, and have fun with the kids!