Quantcast
Climate

5 Ways to Teach Children About Climate Change

Climate change is a big topic that can be difficult even for adults to wrap their minds around—especially, it seems, if they are elected to Congress. Although indicators of it are all around us, it can be hard for someone who's not a scientist—as members of Congress keep telling us they aren't—to put together cause and effect.

For a child, the concept is even more abstract. But the good news is that kids are receptive to new information and there are fun ways out there to make real to them how the climate is changing and what humans are doing to make that happen.

Kids can participate with their parents in projects such as a beach cleanup, where people gather to pick up trash on local beaches.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Play a game. By their very nature, games are fun and kids have that spirit of friendly competition. NASA's Climate Kids Eyes on the Earth website has a series of online games kids can play or parents came play with very young kids. There's a climate trivia game that offers multiple choice answers and clear, simple explanations for why a choice is right of wrong; kids can vie to see who can come up with the right answer. Play Climate Bingo, "Recycle This," or get into the Climate Time Machine to see how the climate has changed over time and how it might look in the future. All of the games provide copious information, stated in clear terms kids can understand, about what is happening to the climate. EcoKids offers games for different age levels, such as "The Case of the Warming Planet" in which child detectives match up greenhouse gases with their source to "solve" the case and learn what they can do to slow climate change.

2. Watch a video. There's a wide variety of short videos online covering climate change in different ways, ranging from the humorous and to the strictly informational. Sustainability Hub has picked the "Ten Best Videos on Climate Change." Most are bite-sized clips suitable for a child's attention span. Free Range Studios' animated 3D video Change for the Oceans demonstrates the impacts of rising sea levels and melting ice on various marine animals. Others, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's The Physical Basis provide a meatier but still easy-to-understand explanation of the science of climate change. One intriguing video, Song for a Warming Planet, features a project by University of Minnesota grad student Daniel Crawford who used fluctuating global temperatures to "compose" a piece of music that illustrates climate change aurally. Watch him perform it on his cello!

3. Download an app. There's a sea of apps out there that will bring facts about climate change to your phone to share with your child. Painting with Time: Climate Change lets kids explore how a certain location has changed over the years due to climate change. They can "wipe away" the changes at different speeds. The app also includes information about why these changes are occurring and tips for taking photos to monitor climate change in their own communities. Voodoo Skies: Normal or Not could appeal to an older child (or adult), allowing the user to compare the current weather in his location (or another) to the historical weather on that day. Its huge database of weather history could be a real time suck for the weather-obsessed.

4. Do a project. Nothing drives home an idea to kids more than actually DOING something. Encourage them to think about climate change for their next science fair project. They can measure how weather conditions impact how fast a puddle melts or explore how frost forms, drawing larger conclusions from the evidence in front of them. Kids can also participate with their parents in projects such as a beach cleanup, where people gather to pick up trash on local beaches. Huge bags of plastic picked up from a single beach provide a concrete reminder of what dumping non-degradable waste can do to the environment.

5. Join a museum or nature center. An outing to your local natural history museum or nature center puts information in front of a child in a memorable way. They're be able to look at and explore exhibits which these days are increasingly interactive at all but the most basic nature centers. Most offer specialized programs including films, lectures, storytelling, hikes and nature fairs. Plus a membership in a museum or nature center is not only a great gift for a child who can then feel a sense of ownership and belonging, but they—and you—are supporting an organization that is actively working to educate people of all ages about the actual science of the world around us and helping inoculate them against the politicized talking points of climate deniers.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

World's Largest Plastic Bottle Structure Draws Attention to Global Plastic Pollution Crisis

Obama Sets Out to Fight Climate Denial in Classrooms, Museums, Bathrooms and Other Places

Climate Deniers Push for False Science in Textbooks

Show Comments ()
Sponsored

How Big Is Your Environmental Footprint?

If you want to make a positive change this Earth Day but don't know where to start, one of best things you can do is take an honest look at your environmental footprint. For instance, how much water are you wasting? How much plastic are you throwing out? How much planet-warming carbon are you producing?

Luckily, there are many online calculators that crunch through your consumption habits. While the final tally might be daunting, it's the first step in living more sustainably.

Keep reading... Show less
Shopping at farmers markets can help minimize your waste.

6 Simple Tips to Reduce Waste So Every Day Is Earth Day

Earth Day 2018 is focused on the all-important theme of reducing plastic litter and pollution. Of course, we shouldn't just reduce our plastic footprint, we should try to reduce waste in all shapes, sizes and forms. It's said that the average American generates a staggering 4 pounds of trash every day—but you don't have to be part of that statistic.

Here are six entirely manageable tips and tricks to help you cut waste.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Earth Day Tips From the EcoWatch Team

At EcoWatch, every day is Earth Day. We don't just report news about the environment—we aim to make the world a better place through our own actions. From conserving water to cutting waste, here are some tips and tricks from our team on living mindfully and sustainably.

Lorraine Chow, reporter

Favorite Product: Dr. Bronner's Castile soap

It's Earth-friendly, lasts for months and can be used as soap, shampoo, all-purpose cleaner and even mouthwash (but I wouldn't recommend that).

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Will Rose / Greenpeace

7 Things You Can Do to Create a Plastic-Free Future

By Jen Fela

We're celebrating a huge moment in the global movement for a plastic-free future: More than one million people around the world have called on big corporations to do their part to end single-use plastics.

Now we're taking the next big step. We're setting an ambitious new goal: A Million Acts of Blue.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular

5 Environmental Victories to Inspire You This Earth Day

Planet Earth is at a crisis point. Researchers say we have to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 if we want to meet the temperature goals outlined in the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change.

The work to be done can seem overwhelming. A survey published this week found that only 6 percent of Americans think we will succeed in reducing global warming.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A fin whale surfacing in Greenland. Aqqa Rosing-Asvid / CC BY 2.0

Iceland to Resume Killing Endangered Fin Whales

By Kitty Block

Iceland seems to be the most confused of nations when it comes to whales. On the one hand it attracts international tourists from all over the world to go out and see whales as part of their encounters with Iceland's many natural wonders. On the other hand it kills whales for profit, with some portion of the kill even being fed to some of the same tourists in restaurants and cafes.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
A.millepora in the Great Barrier Reef. Petra Lundgren, Juan C Vera, Lesa Peplow, Stephanie Manel and Madeleine JH van Oppen

Hope for Great Barrier Reef? New Study Shows Genetic Diversity of Coral Could Extend Our Chance to Save It

A study published Wednesday had some frightening news for the Great Barrier Reef—the iconic marine ecosystem is at "unprecedented" risk of collapse due to climate change after a 2016 heat wave led to the largest mass coral bleaching event in the reef's history.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Lyft

Lyft Announces Carbon Neutrality Drive

Lyft will make all of its rides carbon neutral starting immediately by investing millions of dollars in projects that offset its emissions, the company announced Thursday.

The ridesharing service, which is part of the We Are Still coalition, provides more than 10 million rides worldwide each week. "We feel immense responsibility for the profound impact that Lyft will have on our planet," founders John Zimmer and Logan Green wrote in a Medium post.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!