Photo: Jerry Wang via Unsplash
When we make the change to become vegan, it is often for ethical and moral reasons. It is normal to want your children to understand and adopt the same values and lifestyle as us. Besides, it becomes quite complicated to cook meat for part of the family when the very idea is repulsive to us. When they are young, children are curious and want to know more about the world around them. Now is the perfect time to talk to them about the condition of animals in today’s society.
In this article, we will share with you some ways to introduce your child to a vegan lifestyle. Whether through readings, films, or activities, it is possible to demonstrate your values and make them accessible to your children.
Children’s Bedtime Reads
Reading with your child is an excellent way to introduce them to ideologies and ways of thinking. Introduce your little ones to the colourful worlds in which animals are the center of the story and take the time to talk with them about what they have just read.
Don’t Eat Us By Ruby Roth
This children’s book, “Don’t Eat Us,” by Ruby Roth aims at children aged 5 to 9 and deals directly with the problems that come with using animals. In the book, the author emphasizes animals’ right to life by comparing them to humans, affirming that they also have families and a survival instinct.
It contrasts the way animals should live and how they are treated on farms and other environments that exploit them. Roth’s explanation educates children about different animal lifestyles, the ones they should have.
This explanation demonstrates how absurd it is to oppress animals, as it becomes evident to the reader that they cannot go about their natural activities. Make no mistake; this book does not evoke happy feelings. Roth does not miss the opportunity to illustrate to children how many animals are sad in their environments, such as farmed fish, farm animals, hunted, and bred animals. A super interesting book to make your children realize the dangers that animals live while informing them about their natural way of life.
To order the book visit: https://www.amazon.ca/-/fr/Ruby-Roth/dp/1556437854
Sprig the Rescue Pig by Leslie Crawford
Crawford tackles the more difficult topics concerning farmed animals in her book, “Sprig the Rescue Pig.” Readers follow the story of a pig who is suddenly forced into a truck, having no idea where he is going. Sprig is squeezed into the truck with other terrified pigs when he smells delicious aromas of fruits and vegetables during the ride. Intrigued, Spring jumps out to follow the smells. The truck driver chases him through a field, and Sprig realizes he’s in danger. Sprig runs for his life and manages to escape when he stumbles upon a mother and daughter having a picnic. The mother and daughter lead him to safety by bringing him to a sanctuary for pigs. Sprig will now live happily ever after, among other happy pigs. Crawford brilliantly covers concepts like pigs consumed for food, pigs in captivity, and animal cruelty in a kid-friendly manner. The author includes all sorts of interesting facts about pigs at the end of the book, such as how they can feel emotions and how they are often smarter than three-year-old kids! This book is best suited to children ages 4-7, though it is a great story for everyone to read! To order a copy of the book, visit:
To Make Them Love Vegan Food: Some Recipe Ideas
Cooking is also an essential aspect of the vegan lifestyle with children. It is necessary to find mouth-watering recipes that the little ones will love to encourage them to participate in the movement. We recommend a few cookbooks and platforms to follow to find the best vegan meals for children!
Your First Vegan Cookbook by Ruby Roth
Ruby Roth, also the author of the previously mentioned children’s book, has created a vegan cookbook for kids featuring colorful and simple meals that your little ones will be happy to cook with you. Over 60 herbal recipes are part of this book that are easy to make with your kids! The book includes six sections: drinks, condiments, sauces and dips, a little hunger, a big hunger, salads and dressings, and desserts. In addition to giving recipes, several comments are affixed in the margins to help children understand animal cruelty and the problems associated with carnivorous eating, both by exposing the animal agriculture industry and its environmental impacts. Recipes like the chocolate mousse or dried mushroom meat will make your mouth water! To order the book, visit: https://www.renaud-bray.com/Livres_Produit.aspx?id=2179206&def=Ton+premier+livre+de+cuisine+v%c3%a9gane+%3a+plus+de+60+recettes+v%c3% a9g% c3% a9tales + que + les smallest + can + pr% c3% a9parer% 2cROTH% 2c + RUBY% 2c9782825146620. The book is currently out of stock. Please allow time for ordering.
Holy Cow: 66 Vegan Recipes for The Kids!
The ‘Holy Cow Vegan’ blog was started by Vaishali Honawar to help busy families eat well. Using wholesome, plant-based ingredients, Honawar teaches her readers and followers how to transform simple vegetables into satisfying delicious meals for every day of the week. Holy Cow Vegan even has specific tried-and-true recipes the kids will love. To see these recipes, visit:
Activities To Do (And Not to Do)
With the apple-picking season approaching, many of us enjoy going with our children to pick the sweet fruit and admire the animals on the small farm in the orchard. We must not forget that these animals are locked up in small enclosures for the sole purpose of entertaining the families who come to see them. Like zoos, the Biodome, or farms, animals cannot engage in their biological activities and, above all, cannot roam freely in the vast environment in which they would normally live. Instead, for your weekend activities, prioritize visits to animal sanctuaries that save animals so they can live in their natural habitats without the goal of consuming or making a profit off of them.
Enjoy a walk in nature and admire the birds or deer without getting too close to them. Sépaq parks sometimes offer weekend activities to educate children on animal ecosystems, promoting animal freedom, because they talk about their living environment without having to see them in person. For example, Sunday mornings from May to October, at Mont Saint-Bruno, DIY and discovery activities are offered for families to learn more about nature and its inhabitants!
For more information on these activities:
For rainy days, you can try online activities like the ones available on this site: https://www.livingwithwarmth.com/. Livingwarmth.com features playlists of videos about veganism, printable coloring sheets, activity ideas, and more that are suited to children of all ages. You can always create educational games yourself. For example, you can print pictures of animals and ecosystems and have your child put the animals in the right place. This way, you can make them aware that they have a home too and aren’t meant to be in zoos or farms.
Educational Films and Videos
Well known animal-rights activist Ed Winters, also known as ‘Earthling Ed’ discusses climate change and animal agriculture with a group of 10-year-olds at their school. Winters asks the children simple, yet thought-provoking questions that get them engaged and thinking about how veganism can help prevent climate change and environmental destruction. To see the video (English), visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkyxsTrDqvE
Watch movies with your kids that show the problematic reality of how animals are treated and open a discussion afterwards with them, having them reflect on what happened to the animals in the film and how they feel about it. Some ideas of movies that promote sensitivity and awareness about animal treatment are: Free Willy (1993), Okja (2017), Spirit (2002), Nemo (2003), Ferdinand (2017), Bambi (1942), Charlotte’s Web (1973), and Babe (1995). Many films show animals in a positive light, which is why it’s important to consider them because they serve as a way to open discussions with children about animals.
Raising Thoughtful Kids Who Will Become Compassionate Adults
Talking to your kids about animal welfare and teaching them to adopt a vegan lifestyle is possible. Whether you teach them about animal rights and veganism through books, cooking, the outdoors, online activities, movies, chats, or other ways, it’s never too late to start educating your children about animals’ realities and changing your lifestyle as a family. The typical summer zoo trip can be easily replaced, and movie nights can become an opportunity to talk about animal rights with your kids. There are many ways to introduce vegan values to your children, so they become true animal lovers and champions of change.