The top websites breaking down the big business of climate change in a child-friendly way.
Climate change is a vast, complex subject, so it can be challenging enough for the average adult to get their head around, never mind children. Now, if the last year of home-schooling has taught parents anything, it’s that kids like asking questions that we don’t always have the answers to. Or perhaps we do, but articulating them in a way that makes sense to young minds can often be tricky. That’s why we’ve rounded up our pick of the top climate education resources, all of which are designed to communicate the issue to children in an engaging and inspirational way.
Before you dive in, take a look at our guide to talking about climate change with children. This explores lots of helpful advice and tips on broaching what can be an overwhelming or frightening subject. Secondly, we all know kids respond well to rewards, so consider incentivising their climate education. Younger kids can earn a Blue Peter Green Badge (and free entry to hundreds of UK attractions) with their efforts, for example. And parents can win one too!
Climate change will play a central role in children’s futures, so it’s important they’re clued up about what’s in store, and that they feel empowered to take action that will help them and the planet.
Climate resources for children in primary school
The BBC’s Bitesize online resource has a really varied range of learning material for children aged 7-11. It features a range of videos, quizzes, games and activities on the topic of climate change and renewable energy.
Created by NASA, the Climate Kids website has been designed specifically for children to navigate themselves, and has a wide range of resources including videos and games. The site also helps to address some of the bigger questions, such as ‘What does climate change mean?’ in understandable, non-frightening ways.
Energise Anything is a kid-centric information hub from energy supplier E-ON. Its online activity centre is full of resources and fun experiments designed by STEM experts to help primary school-aged children get to grips with all things energy-related.
Practical Action has lots of free STEM resources on offer for primary school-aged children, all of which fit the UK curriculum and engage kids in the real world issues of climate change and renewable energy in an easy-to-understand way.
Scholastic (yep, the people that make the educational books) have created a brilliant website for parents who want to help their kids learn more about the environment. Expect lots of expertly-written suggestions for fun at-home nature projects and activities, as well as practical parenting advice on navigating the topic of climate change with your child.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has put together a great series of climate change activities, presentations and lesson plans for primary school children. Primarily aimed at teachers communicating climate change to their pupils, these resources will prove valuable to parents, too.
The Young People’s Trust for the Environment (YPTE) has published loads of resources over the past year designed to help parents and carers get kids thinking about nature and the environment. You’ll find dozens and dozens of ideas for eco-related home learning activities on the site, plus great videos and explainers on all sorts of topics that make the climate conversation easy for kids to understand.
Climate resources for children in secondary school
Baked Alaska is a theatre production by the Riding Lights Theatre Company that breaks down and explores the challenges posed by climate change in a fun, thought-provoking way. The show is split into seven parts, each of which has been uploaded online for teens to watch at their leisure.
Bitesize also does a brilliant job of explaining climate change to slightly older children, aged 11-13, through short and snappy videos covering a range of topics, from acid rain and oil spills to food efficiency and emissions.
Like BBC’s Bitesize resource, E-ON’s Energise Anything site also caters to older children, between 12 and 18 years old, with activities and experiments for secondary school kids digging a little deeper into the issues around energy consumption.
Extinction Rebellion might be best known for its non-violent civil disobedience, but the movement is keen to educate on its aims, too. The Rebellion Academy is an interactive platform that plays to each individual’s preferred learning style (skim readers, deep divers, video fans, and so on) to equip everyone – teens included – with the knowledge they need to enact meaningful change.
Most secondary school-aged kids will be familiar with Fridays for the Future (FFF), the climate strike movement started by Greta Thunberg in 2018. This site is full of great explainers on the issues FFF seeks to address, and provides lots of information on how others can get involved in future efforts.
This resource from the Council on Foreign Relations provides an accessible step-by-step look at some of the biggest themes of the climate conversation, through guided videos, infographics and summaries – perfect for older kids that want to learn at their own pace.
As well as a great selection of primary school resources, the WWF’s Shaping our Future portal contains equally engaging and relevant lesson plans and interactive presentation ideas for older children, and particularly encourages them to think independently about climate issues.
The bottom line
Because of the unstable climate, children are going to grow up in a world that will face more challenges than ever before. As the Teach the Future climate education campaign illustrates, it’s important that children understand the climate emergency and ecological crisis. But they also need hope so they are inspired to learn the green skills required to reach net-zero emissions. Let’s surround them with a community working together – and maybe even wearing Blue Peter badges, as well!
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