Cancel climate change
The science of climate change is hard to grasp, but we can teach our kids that human activities such as driving gas-powered cars and using too much electricity make the planet less habitable.
As a family, study the climate impacts of transportation. Print out a map of your neighborhood, then go on a walk. Help small children mark places on the map they can walk to. Point out the cars, power lines and polluting activities you see along the way. Have older kids highlight places on the map where there isn’t a sidewalk or a bike lane, then send a copy of the map to an elected official, asking them to put more sidewalks and bike lanes in your neighborhood.
Afterward, make a plan together for incorporating more walking and biking into your family’s daily life, and for using public transit once physical distancing is over. If they haven’t learned already, now is a great time to teach your kids how to ride a bike and use bike hand signals.
To understand the power of solar energy, preschoolers can use a thermometer to see differences between sunny and shady areas before using solar energy to melt blocks of colored ice, blow up balloons or create shadow art.
For their study of sustainable energy sources, older kids can build a solar oven or make their own wind turbine. Building a dirt battery doesn’t really illustrate geothermal power, but it is fun! Teens can conduct the same experiments without supervision, or even make their own biodiesel. Then they can calculate your family’s carbon footprint and develop a household climate action plan.