Select Page

Sustainability – learning to protect the environment

Page 4/7: Topic B: How to prepare activities with the children

Topic B: How to prepare activities with the children

It is important to make thorough preparations for the activity day about the grey and the green house. Hold a staff meeting where you go through the following points.

Coordinate with your colleagues and management before starting the session. If possible, get full understanding, support and cooperation from them. It is important that all caregivers read the story and the topic introduction in order to be able to talk with the children about sustainability.

Get an overview: Read the material in the session:

  • The topic introduction.
  • The story about the two houses and the flower. Link – The Story
  • Information about the change process that the flower symbolizes.
  • Information about the circle of realistic optimism.

Get a common understanding of the grey house, the green house and the flower. Tell each other in the staff group how you understand the story and share experiences from your own life about living in the grey and the green house, and of making realistic optimistic changes.
Think and reflect about these questions before the activity day so you know what to do. Make sure to write down your reflections.

Find your focus.
This session contains various focus points within the concept of sustainability.
Here you can find a more detailed description of the different sustainability topics.

  1. Water – Link
  2. Waste – Link
  3. Electricity and energy – Link
  4. Gardening – Link
  5. Animals – Link
  6. Keep it clean and tidy; daily duties – Link

When working with these topics, please follow the same procedure as described on next page.

All the topics are about sustainability and ecological thinking with the common purpose of helping the children to understand and respect the relations between humans, animals, nature and the world’s resources. The children should be presented to one topic at a time. Therefore, it is important that you choose a focus for the session each time you perform it.

“Happy and healthy” is the focus of the story, the examples of activities and the work plans. We suggest this focus for the first time you do the activity day.

If you have a large child group, you divide it into groups. For example one group with children aged 5-11 and another with children aged 12-17.

Discuss how the chosen focus fit your culture? What traditions do you already have that supports a sustainable life, protecting nature and the resources?


Make the two houses and the flower.


Before the activity day with the children you need to decide how you will make the two houses and the flower with four leaves. You can either do it together in the staff group, or you can involve children in the process. If you have large pieces of cardboard or wood, you can ask the children to paint the houses on either of these. However, you can also use smaller pieces of paper. The important thing is, that the houses and the flower are made so the children can see them.

One house should be painted grey/sad/negative, and the other green/happy/positive. The four leaves of the flower are all painted green. Do not write words on the houses or the flower before the activity day.

Make your own version.
It is okay to tell your version of the story and make your own supplements to make it is easier for the children to relate to it. For example, in the beginning of the story, you can add some more local details about the houses. Find your own way of performing the activities.

Make a plan for grouping the children.
Make groups where every child feels comfortable enough to engage positively in the activities.

Make a sign that explains what brainstorming is

  • Bring up and write down all ideas that come to mind.
  • Bad ideas, crazy ideas and unrealistic ideas are welcome.
  • Do not criticize other children’s ideas.
  • Build on other ideas, get inspired, and let it grow.
  • Go for the best idea(s).

Make a work plan.
Which group can do what, and when?

Create anticipation.
When you start, put up the painted houses and let the children wonder and ask what is going on. Tell them about the meeting, create some expectation, and let them be curious.