Have a breather while they’re busy learning about the environment.
As our kids have been sent home from school because of the ongoing coronavirus situation, chances are you’re going to need a few ideas for keeping them occupied in the coming weeks/months.
Whilst home schooling is challenging, these fun activity ideas will keep them busy and help them learn about climate change and the environment, letting you get some well-earned peace and quiet (well, maybe).
- Put them in charge of energy
Kids love being given a bit of responsibility – it’s a chance for them to prove how grown up they are! Give your child the very important job of energy monitor, and ask them to make sure that lights and appliances aren’t left running, that curtains are closed from dusk until dawn, and that the thermostat doesn’t creep above a temperature of 19°C. Reward them at the end of the week with a small treat – consider it their ‘salary’!
- Let them run riot with the smart meter
Smart meters respond almost instantly to appliances or lights being turned on or off, which can provide hours of endless fun as kids explore cause and effect around the house. Task them with finding out which gadgets and appliances use the most energy, and which use the least. (They could even make a chart!)
- Get crafty with the recycling
Your recycling bin is a goldmine of arts and crafts materials. Paper, card, bottles, lids, tubs… everything can be turned into a masterpiece with a bit of imagination. Set your kids up with some glue, tape and (age-appropriate) scissors and ask them to create a work of art based on any theme you (or they) can think of.
- Have a leaf collecting competition
Send your kids out to the garden (or nearby park or woods, if suitable) and ask them to collect as many different types of leaves as they can find. The winner is the one with the most varied collection. Afterwards, ask them to turn their treasure into a leafy collage. Woodland Trust has a useful app for identifying different species of trees.
- Build a bug hotel
If you’ve got old pieces of wood, tiles and terracotta pots lying around your garden, you’ve got all the materials you need to build a bug hotel. The RSPB has a great easy-to-follow guide here. Once assembled, ask your child to keep a log of its visitors, which could be anything from hedgehogs and toads to bees and ladybirds.
- Conduct some energy-related science experiments
Kids know that electricity ‘happens’ when you flick a light switch, but they’d probably struggle to explain how it works (to be fair, a lot of adults would as well!). Get them involved in some fun and easy science experiments that will help them understand the basics of things such as heat absorption, hot air and static electricity. Here are some ideas to get started.
- Plant some seeds
One of the best ways for kids to understand the natural environment is for them to witness it flourishing before their very eyes – planting some simple flower, fruit or veg seeds is a great way to do this. Plus, it’s an activity that will keep them focused over the longer term as they care and tend to their plant. Suttons have a wonderful range of ‘Fun to Grow’ seed packs that have been designed with Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum in mind.
The bottom line
It’s no secret that kids get bored easily, and right now it may be more challenging than usual to keep them occupied. Before they park themselves in front of the TV (or once they’re bored of it), these ideas will keep them busy in a fun and educational way that will set them up for good environmental citizenship long into the future.
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