Would you like to teach kids about sustainability from a young age? Maybe you are looking for some fun home based eco activities? From outdoor adventures to practical and fun home activities, we have teamed up with SSE Airtricity, to bring you home based eco activities that are sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. And help teach them about sustainability to equip them well for the future.
In a nutshell, sustainability is how we can improve the impact we as humans have on the earth and environment. Teaching kids about sustainability is best done through fun activities they can relate to. These home based eco activities are suitable for everyone to enjoy and learn from.
Home Based Activities To Teach Kids About Sustainability
#1. Keep A Nature Diary
This is a fun eco activity that can help your child learn about nature. You’ll need a notebook or a nature diary.
Record different animals, plants, insects and birds you can see in your garden. You could widen this to things that you see when you are on a walk, or in your neighbourhood.
Snap a picture or draw every new plant or animal species you encounter. You could also look up some facts for each one to add to your nature diary.
More ideas for kids for keeping a nature diary:
- Keep a weather diary, this would make a great long term project where you could compare rainfall, wind, sun or temperatures daily and compare each year to the last
- Plant some flowers or vegetables in your garden and record their progress in your nature diary. You could even take some photos to show the growth process from seedlings to flowering or harvesting.
- Create a seasonal nature diary so you can see how nature changes from month to month
- How about a tree nature diary showing different trees you see when you are out and about? To add interest you could pick up leaves that fall from different trees and dry them between the pages of your diary or do a leaf rubbing for each one.
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#2. Fun Upcycling Activities
What items in your home could be upcycled/re-invented? From clothes you have outgrown, to soccer balls with punctures to furniture that’s sitting unused, there are lots of opportunities to upcycle. And these can be fun projects to do together with your child or teen. Here are some fun ideas to try:
- Make an old football/basketball/shoe/wellington boot into a plant pot!
- Turn an old pair of trousers or jeans into shorts. Simply find trousers that are now too short for you and cut them to the length you want your new shorts to be. Sew a hem to finish them, and you could also add extra embellishments such as a button design on the pocket or a fun patch using different material.
- Dye a t-shirt or top to make it look different and give it a new lease of life.
- For older kids and teens, maybe you have a piece of furniture that could be upcycled and turned into a funky addition for their room? Here are some suggestions to inspire you:
- An old chest of drawers could be sanded and painted or sprayed, new handles could be added to bring it up-to-date.
- You could paint or spray a wooden wardrobe so it matches a new colour scheme.
- A side table could be given a new look either with paint or using decoupage and turned into a bedside table for a lamp and books.
- A standard lamp could be updated by creating a funky new shade by covering the existing one with different materials.
- A sofa could be updated by creating a cover and cushions from an old duvet cover or old sheets.
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Eco Explorers Club
Together with their Sustainability Partner Dublin Zoo, SSE Airtricity have launched The Eco Explorers Club, a 10 week brand-new series designed to entertain and educate primary school children and their families alike.
For the next 10 weeks The Eco Explorers Club will explore inspiring educational content hosted on a dedicated hub and across the @SSEAirtricity social channels, giving parents and kids the opportunity to engage with all things sustainability while adjusting to our current lifestyle changes.
Don’t miss out on:
- The Draw with Don Conroy – Art Classes and the Animated video series on Youtube
- Storytelling with Reuben the Entertainer & SSE Airtricity’s Mia Fahey McCarthy
- Imagination Children’s Yoga
- Virtual Eco Explorer Tours at Dublin Zoo.
Join SSE Airtricity on an exploration of our world right from your home and help our little ones on their journey to becoming Eco Warriors of the future.
#3. Measure Your Energy Use
Every home has an electricity meter. Energy is measured in Kilowatt hour units (kWh) and you can use your meter to find out how much energy you are using at home.
To measure your energy use:
- Find your energy meter and record the numbers (KWh units) showing.
- Go back after one week, at approximately the same time and record the numbers again.
- From this you can calculate how many KWh units your home uses in a week.
- Come up with ways that you think you can reduce your energy use. (Hint: turning off lights when you leave a room and unplugging chargers!)
- Now implement some of those energy saving ideas to see if you can reduce the KWh.
- After one week, check the meter again at around the same time and record the new numbers. Have you managed to bring the number down? Can you think of other ways to reduce that number further?
Now have a look at the kWh unit price on your electricity bill and you can also calculate how much money you have saved too!
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#4. Create A Compost Bottle
This fun eco activity will show your child how food and garden waste is broken down to create compost. (NB you will need some patience, as the compost can take over a month to form!)
You Will Need
- An empty, clear plastic drinks bottle (2 litre bottle with a wide top is best)
- Newspaper shredded
- Food waste such as vegetable peelings, leaves, grass cuttings, bread, coffee grounds, tea bags etc.
To Make Your Compost Bottle
- Remove the lid, but keep it aside. Add a layer of soil to the bottom of your bottle.
- Next add a layer of food waste, include some of your shredded newspaper then add a little water.
- Repeat the process until the bottle is three quarters full finishing with a layer of soil.
- Replace the lid and leave it aside.
- Every day shake the bottle and remove the lid to allow any gases created to escape.
- After about a month, the waste will have decomposed and you will have compost to use in your garden or to plant some seeds in.
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#5. A Fun Recycling Game To Make And Play
Whether it’s teddy bears, paint in a garage, or bottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that can be recycled, reused, reinvented or upcycled such as: donating old toys to a charity, turning old trousers into shorts, or swapping clothes with a friend.
This will help your child to get into the habit of thinking about how your old things can find a new home or new use.
Here is an easy game that you create with your child and then they have to guess which type of waste goes where.
You Will Need
- Pen & scissors
- 7 envelopes
- Old magazines, catalogues or newspapers
What To Do
- Label the 7 envelopes so they represent different type of waste – paper, electrical, glass, compost/food, plastic, general, charity shop/collection point.
- From old magazines, catalogues or newspapers, cut out different items that you would find in the home. For example, milk carton, fruit, batteries, magazine cover, clothing, glass bottle, etc.
- Mix up all the images you have cut out.
- Now your child has to decide which envelope they think each image should go in.
- Give them 1 point for every correct answer they got.
- Remember to recycle the cutout magazines and papers afterwards!
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#6. A Water Saving Challenge For Kids
Teaching your child about water, where it comes from and how we use it is a valuable lesson. And maybe you can get everyone working together to reduce the amount of water you use at home. Here are some things for your child to try:
- Next time your child has a shower, you get to time how long they take and see if they can do it in less than the time it takes to sing a full song!
- While you are waiting for the shower to heat up, put a bucket in it to catch the water! Kids will love this bit as they watch it fill up. You can use this water for house or garden plants.
- They have to turn the tap off while they are brushing their teeth.
- Remember this poem when they are at the toilet: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”
- Wash their apple in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap.
- With the help of a parent, set up something in the garden to collect rainwater and then use that to water the plants or the garden.
Over to you now. Did you try any of these out with your child? Any other suggestions that can help teach kids about sustainability? Please let us know in the comments box below.