Have you taught your kids the basics of being green? If you haven’t, please do. You don’t have to wait for Earth Day to teach your kids how to save the planet and make their neighborhoods more habitable. And it is simple, really. You only need to leverage kids’ love for fun science activities to educate them on environmental conservation and the dangers of the destructive environmental rampage. If you don’t know where to start, here are 6 fun science activities that will help your kids thrive on matters of environmental responsibility.
Turn trash into treasure
Hold a folk art competition where your kids and their friends collect trash from the neighborhood and use it to create amazing works of art, and then liaise with a local museum to host an auction for the artifacts that the kids come up with. Don’t tell them what to create in order to allow their creativity to run wild. You won’t believe how creative kids can get when they get their hands on recyclable waste such as cardboard rolls, polystyrene, paper bags, and most packaging bags or boxes. Turning trash into treasure will stimulate the kids’ young scientific and artistic minds, on top of getting trash off the streets.
Mini greenhouse gardening with kids
All the empty boxes you throw away in your household will come in handy when you decide to create a mini-greenhouse with your kids. Fill the bottom half of every container with dirt, plant seeds, pop the cover on them, and water the mini garden until the first sprouts start growing. You can then transfer them into bigger containers and make an indoor garden, or you can move them outside to create an outdoor garden. The kids will have recycled containers to reduce waste pollution, and at the same time, they will have turned their living space into a green space. If you opt for an indoor garden, LED grow lights will come in handy. These energy-efficient flowering lamps are ideal for photoperiod-sensitive plants.
Try geocaching for kids over 10; they will love this interactive treasure hunt. Buy them a handheld GPS device and then help them identify nearby geocache sites from Geocaching.com. Just that and your kids will be off on an adventure to find geocaches.
Electric bike conversion
Acquire an electric bike conversion kit and together with your kid, convert their hybrid bike, mountain bike, or a road bike into an e-bike. Electric bicycles are great for the environment because they have a lower carbon footprint compared to conventional vehicles, and they are faster and more convenient to ride than regular bikes. So, by the time you are done converting your kid’s bike into an electric-powered, you will have excited his/her young engineering mind, and at the same time put him on the right side of environmental conservation.
Water treatment projects
Buy a water treatment guide book for kids, help them to collect dirty water samples from a local pond or river, and then use the guide to treat the water. If you don’t have a guide book, follow these water treatment steps:
Step 1: Coagulation and sedimentation.
Put a couple of tablespoons of Alum in one bottle of the dirty water, shook it up, and then let the bottle sit for a few hours. That will make the dirt settle at the bottom.
Step 2: Filtration.
Filter the water through sand and gravel. Most of the dirt will be filtered, but the small specks will remain. Use a coffee filter to filter off the small specks.
Step 3: Disinfection.
Drinking water is often disinfected using Chlorine, but you can use cleaning bleach if you don’t intend to drink the water.
Bottom line: By the time you are done with the simple water cleaning process, the kids will have appreciated the need to conserve water and protect our water bodies from human pollution.
Soda bottle compost
This recycled science project allows kids to see composting in action. You will need a well-rinsed, clear 2-liter soda bottle for the project. Any clear bottle will do if you don’t have a soda bottle. You will then need to supervise as the kids put layers of soil at the bottom of the bottle, put compostable material (plant matter, and water to facilitate composting. Let your compost sit under sufficient sunlight for several weeks as the kids keep a record of the changes observed during that time. They can take pictures and take notes in their science notebook.
Any fun activity that raises awareness of the responsible involvement of kids in their environment will be fine. However, kids perceive science and fun differently, so you need to first understand what would interest your kid and what won’t work. Build on their interest to grow a desire in them to be actively involved in pollution reduction and environmental conservation.