3 Ways to teach. Your kids about Sustainability
Eco-Parenting,  Green Living

3 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

Kid’s Earth Day experiments

Teaching kids about sustainability can be challenging. A lot of times it can feel overwhelming. It can feel like problems are too big and they can’t relate to them. Show kids the environmental impact of small changes by doing these experiments together this Earth Day.

One-week Trash audit 

Materials needed: 3 large containers, garbage cans, or boxes

We go through a lot of trash. The US threw out 292.4 million tons of waste in 2018!! (EPA.gov)

For our kids, garbage is a way of life. They don’t think much about where that garbage ends up after it leaves the house in those big black trash cans or drives away in the garbage truck. 

To teach kids about low-waste lifestyles, try doing a trash audit. This can also help them understand the difference between trash, recycling, and compostable waste.

For one week, separate trash into three different containers:  

  1.  Garbage that can go to the landfill
  2. Recyclables that can go to recycling plants
  3. Food scraps such as fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, and anything else that can be composted.

How did your trash add up? Seeing one week of our trash all in one spot and sorted into these three categories can be eye-opening for everyone.

After they see this, you can discuss ways to reduce our trash or use our food scraps as compostable materials. Produce a healthier garden and give back to the earth! 

This is also a good time to talk about recycling and reusing products over and over again if possible to reduce waste.

Celery and pollution

Materials needed: clear glass, water, food coloring, a stalk of celery 

What does celery have to do with pollution, you ask? Pollution is another big topic that can be difficult to grasp because we don’t see the immediate effects. A good way to share this is by using food coloring, water, and a stalk of celery to visualize the effects of pollution.

Take a clear glass and fill it with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water, preferably red or blue so it’s easier to see. The food coloring will act as pollution, such as that from contaminated lakes, streams, and rivers.

Take a fresh stalk of celery and place it in the water with the food coloring. After a few hours, you’ll notice the celery start to change colors.

At this point, the kids can already see how that pollution (food coloring) is affecting the celery. Go ahead and slice into that piece of celery to see how it looks on the inside of the celery, too.

Talk to your kids about how to reduce pollution in our water and air to protect wildlife and ourselves.

Water timer

Materials needed: 2 buckets and a faucet 

This experiment is super simple and easy for kids to grasp. Make a list with your kids of everyday things that they do with water. This can include washing their hands, brushing their teeth, or taking a shower.

First, use a 1-gallon bucket and put it under the faucet. Have your child wash their hands while the bucket catches the water runoff from their hands and the running sink. See how much water was used in the 20 seconds it takes to wash hands. Did it fill the bucket?

Next, put the other 1-gallon bucket under the faucet. Now, have your child wash their hands while turning off the water while they are scrubbing. Turn it back on only to rinse. Compare the two buckets of water from when the sink was left on the whole time to when it was turned off in between uses.

How much water did you save by turning off the sink?

Don’t waste the water you collected! Go ahead and take that water and use it for your garden or to wash your car or bike.

Repeat this experiment for brushing your teeth or even time your shower to compare!

Kid’s earth day experiments

Teach your kids about sustainability!

These little experiments can make a world of difference in a child’s knowledge about their environment, sustainability, and conservation.

Remember the best way to teach kids to be more eco-friendly is by modeling the behavior you want to see. Use your daily tasks to encourage sustainability in everyday life to create eco-conscious children!

Happy Earth Day! Share with a fellow parent and subscribe to my weekly blog updates. 

Related reads: 

How to Count Down to Earth Day
How to Make Every Day Earth Day
Green Living from The Peaceful Burrow


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