Saving energy is important because it reduces the amount of carbon that is expelled into the atmosphere. These carbon emissions have been linked to changes in weather and global temperatures. On a more immediate and personal level, wasted electricity costs you extra money every month. Teaching children early on that saving electricity and energy is important will help reinforce the act of conserving energy. Children learn more by doing that being told, so making a game or activity of saving energy can help teach them while holding their interest.
The website Kids Energy Zone has some games that will teach your child to save energy. In the Lights Out! game, your child guides Charlie the CFL bulb around a home in a quest to cut electricity use from lights and electronics. Charlie has to grab a CFL bulb from the basement and replace all of the incandescent bulbs in the house, then shut them off. A tally on the left side of the screen shows how much electricity has been consumed and the rate it’s being consumed. Try to get a lower total electricity to be an energy saving hero!
Try activity books like energy related coloring books to teach energy conservation while encouraging your child’s creativity. Energy Star has a section dedicated to children and they can learn about saving energy and protecting the environment alongside classic Dr. Seuss characters Horton and the Lorax. Kids Activities Blog also has a do it yourself project for kids to build a solar oven and make s’mores. The solar oven is built by using an empty pizza box and wrapping the inside and outside with aluminum foil. Cut a flap two inches from the front, left, and right edges and prop it open with a ruler. Place some marshmallows on a paper plate inside the opening, using the foil wrapped flap to reflect sunlight onto the plate. Depending on the heat and time of day, the marshmallows could take up to an hour to become soft and gooey. This project saves energy by not using any electricity, but the energy it uses is clean solar energy. You’ll also be repurposing the old pizza box, which contributes to recycling.
Finally, you could bring your children on an energy scavenger hunt. Print out this worksheet from EnergyHog.org and scour the house to rack up points for good energy practices. The higher the score, the better your home is for saving energy. This makes a good friendly competition between multiple children, and at the end you can explain ways to help reduce the energy, and after reducing it, have the kids try again to get the high score.