By Uma Campbell
Are you looking for new ways to keep kids busy after school and on the weekends? Luckily, there’s one fun project that is perfect for kids of all ages, and it’s educational, too! Dedicate your time with your kids to teaching them about climate change and why everyone on the planet needs to make an effort to stop it.
Why should kids learn about climate change? Kids are the future, and they will inherit this planet one day—and all the damage previous generations have done to it. Scientists understand time is running out to limit climate change to only 2 degrees Celsius. Because of this, it’s important you teach kids how to live a more sustainable life and limit the damage to this planet.
But, getting kids interested in such a complex and scientific topic can be difficult, but not impossible. Here’s how it can be done:
First, help them understand.
Kids can’t get involved with something unless they thoroughly understand it, so explain climate change to them in a kid-friendly way by using visuals. For example, the concept of greenhouse gases may be lost on kids, but if you turn it into a fun science project, they’ll be able to see what you’re talking about. Get an empty aquarium tank and put it upside in the backyard on a sunny day. Place one thermometer on the outside of the tank and one on the inside. Show your kids how the temperature inside the tank increases faster than the temperature outside of the tank. Then, explain how this is happening to the Earth, too. Gases are trapped inside the atmosphere, just like the heat is trapped inside the aquarium. Once kids understand what climate change is, you can start motivating them to take action against it.
Download an app.
Kids are very tech-savvy, so if you allow them to learn while also playing with an app, you will probably have more success. Download the app “Painting with Time: Climate Change” to show kids how certain areas have changed over time because of the negative effects of climate change. Although you can’t pick specific areas in Minnesota that they are familiar with, they will still get the idea once they see how much damage is being done to the world.
Visit a museum.
There are a number of museums in Minnesota that can help kids learn about the environment and what can be done to help it, such as the Science Museum of Minnesota. Either take your kids on a Saturday afternoon, or sign them up for a weekend youth camp at the museum so they can learn around other kids their age.
Now that kids are aware of what climate change is and the effect it is having on the environment, show them how to live green to reduce their carbon footprint. Teach kids to turn off and unplug devices when they are not in use, and show kids how a small change like switching out light bulbs can save energy and make a difference. On the weekends, instead of loading up your car and going to the mall or movie theater, hop onto a bike and reduce carbon emissions by biking through town with your kids.
Kids may have heard the term “climate change” before, but it’s up to you to help them understand just how serious this issue is, and how important it is for them to get involved.