"The Lorax" movie is a great way to introduce kids to the topic of ecology! Take this opportunity to share one of the many messages from Dr. Suess' story about "The Lorax": the long-term consequences of a decision, why we should protect nature, and how one person can help to change the world.
1. Read Dr. Suess' "The Lorax" FIRST!
Seriously, no matter how good the movie, Dr. Suess' "The Lorax" is one of those books that every child should read TWICE in their life. The first time as a read-aloud (having a parent or teacher share the story with them when they are young), and the second time during their teen years when they will be able to see how they, one individual, can make an impact on the world.
2. Introduce the idea of ecology for kids - how people interact with their environment.
Talk to kids about ways they can have a positive impact when they are outside. For example,
- stay on the sidewalk or trails when walking/hiking,
- don't break branches off of trees or peel their bark - if you need an item, use the pieces that have already fallen to the ground,
- turn off the lights in the house to conserve resources,
- reuse and recycle items instead of throwing them in the trash.
Fun books for kids that discuss the idea of ecology include:
"Farewell to Shady Glade" by Bill Peet is a must-read! Beautiful illustrations and a great story about what happens when people don't think about their impact on the environment.
"Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney is a tale about how one person can have a big impact on improving the world. Kids will love this story as they will understand that we are all able to do simple things that will have long-term benefits to others.
3. Have some fun outside!
Get out and appreciate the trees. Discover the Forest has an outstanding printable "The Book of Stuff to Do Outside" which includes a scavenger hunt, matching animal tracks, using a compass and many other activities!
The Arbor Day Foundation also has has some wonderful ideas for connecting kids with nature and play in natural environments at Nature Explore.
4. Be 'The Lorax' in Your City
Visit some of the parks and forests in your area to experience why the Lorax wants us all to be 'friends to the trees'. As your observe the trees, talk to your child about who needs the trees (like the animals) and what trees give to humans. Some cities will also have a list of their oldest trees or tallest trees - contact your city office to see if one is available in your area.
In Kansas City:
- Check out the list of Champion Trees in Kansas City from the Heartland Tree Association - go and visit some of these majestic giants, some more than 70 feet tall!
- Hike some of the great trails in wooded areas of Kansas City - Shawnee Mission Park, Martha Lafite Nature Sanctuary, Swope Park and Overland Park Arboretum to name a few. Ask your kids to list all of the ways that people and animals need and use trees.