10 Fun Conservation Activities for Parents, Teachers and Kids
Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00  |  Written by Evan Miller | Article

Baby Deer and Girl photo by Kelly VLooking for ways to introduce conservation concepts to your children at home—or, if you are a teacher, to your students at school? For maximum retention, kids should be exposed to ecology in a practical, straightforward and, above all, fun way. Below are ten introductory conservation activities that encourage youngsters to think about and appreciate the natural environment around them.

Wildlife Conservation

1. Help your kids research what kinds of animals are prevalent in their area. Even if you live in an urban environment, you should be able to identify some types of birds or insects. Talk about what kind of habitat the animals need to survive.
2. Grow plants in your home or classroom. Try to use local/native plants. If you have space, start an outside garden where kids can grow all the ingredients for a salad.
3. Take your children on a field trip to a local park or outside area. Have them sketch a flower or plant that they enjoy, and challenge them to identify the plant when they get back home or to the classroom.

Energy Conservation

4. Make your own solar oven using everyday items found in the home or classroom such as boxes, black construction paper, aluminum and newspaper. Get students to use the oven to heat up snacks on sunny days. Check out these plans for building a solar oven from a pizza box.
5. Create a weekly “energy sheriff” role, a student whose task it is to make sure the lights are out when no one is in the classroom. A similar role is possible for a child at home.
6. Ask kids to identify the devices in the classroom or their home that use energy. Devote a day a week, or month, to energy conservation, during which youngsters try to get as many tasks done as possible using the least amount of non-human-powered devices.

Water Conservation

7. Have children track how many times they flush a toilet, drink from a water fountain or wash their hands. Encourage them to set goals for themselves to reduce their waste and reward them with a water citizen badge when they meet their goals.
8. Create homemade rainwater containers from milk cartons or cans and host a brainstorming session during which students think about how they can use the rainwater in their classroom and around the school to save water. The same can be done at home.

Recycling

9. Compile a list of recycled materials in your community and encourage kids to investigate all of the items that their families recycle. This activity is great because it encourages students to talk about conservation with their families. Conversely, a discussion with kids at home about what is recyclable and then encouraging them to investigate what their schools do and do not recycle is possible as well.

10. Have kids identify one or two items that they, their families or their schools normally throw away to reuse as a classroom or home decoration. To get them started, provide a list of ideas such as creating bird feeders out of milk cartoons, book holders out of cereal boxes, etc. Once you have laid down the basic concept behind reusing, you can segue into more complex activities such as composting.

Conservation inspirations and teachable moments are everywhere and kids are infinitely curious. That’s a powerful combination. Bringing the two together in the home or classroom is easier than you might think, and it’s certainly worth the effort. It can instill laudable values in children that will last them a lifetime—to the benefit of the future adults they will become, to society and to the Earth.

See EcoHearth's Eco Parenting Blog for more ideas.

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Comments (2)add
Written by Steve Beasley , April 05, 2010
A spectacular article! Thourougly enjoyable and not so much as a typo to ruin my experience. If only the NZ Herald (or Tampa Tribune) could hire writers as competent.
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Written by josh wynn , March 07, 2010
When I was a kid I had children's books that turned me on to nature--books on identifying rocks and minerals, plants, birds and fossils, trees, etc. I loved going around the neighborhood trying to find things in my books. I would highly recommend this to parents and teachers as a way of getting kids more involved in nature.
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