Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.
Kids may be small people, but they can make a big impact in energy conservation. The key is to get them excited about it. Here are a few ways to creatively engage the whole family in energy conservation.
Take advantage of the many online resources developed specifically to get kids interested in and motivated about energy conservation. Here are our top picks:
Energy Kids — Sponsored by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this site provides a clear explanation of the different types of energy (renewable, non-renewable, electricity and hydrogen), a downloadable Energy Ant Activity Book for younger kids and Energy Scavenger Hunt for older children.
Energy Star Kids — Let your kids click around on "hot spots" in a virtual kids' bedroom to get specific tips on saving energy in their own homes. They also can play games that tie in with The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (now a new 3D movie). Use the Fun Facts page to make up your own "Energy Trivia" cards and quiz the kids at the dinner table.
Energy Hog — A tough-looking pig in a biker jacket and a "No Adults Allowed" sign welcome young energy savers to the Kids section of the Energy Hog website. Once inside, kids can complete five games to become an official Hog Buster. An interactive Scavenger Hunt can teach the whole family some new ways to reduce energy consumption.
Give the kids an up-close look at energy in action. Find out if your local power company offers tours of power plants or solar power plants. Coordinate with friends who want to encourage energy conservation in their families, and arrange a group outing. While you're at it, consider scheduling a visit to the recycling plant as well.
Changing habits can be hard for kids and adults. Give your family a weekly challenge to focus on one particular energy-saving switch. Post reminders around the house with visual cues. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Switch off lights
Turn off the tap
Take short showers
Reward the kids when you catch them unplugging, switching off or taking action in any way to conserve energy. Just watch out: Pretty soon, the kids will be reminding you to put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat.