Teaching Kids to Conserve Energy

The other day, I asked my daughter to turn off her bedroom light so we could save energy.  And she asked me, “What’s energy?”  The answer isn’t so easy, but helping her understand how to help us conserve is.  Because when we save energy, we save money and that means the family has more fun!  Here are some ideas for Teaching Kids to Conserve Energy.

Ideas for teaching kids how to conserve energy because saving energy means saving money means more fun for the family!  (spon)

What is Energy?  And How Do We Make It?

In kid’s terms (because I’m assuming you know the answer, but your preschooler might not…), energy is the power we get from things like electricity and natural gas.  This power helps us run machines that we use in our daily lives.  Without energy, there would be no Daniel Tiger on TV, cold yogurt in the fridge or hot water in the bath.

And just like how we get tired and run out of power when we’ve used a lot of it, energy is a limited resource in our world.  Only about a third of the electricity produced in the US is generated by renewable sources like water and biofuels. (Source: EIA)  So we have to do what we can to save energy.  And that means using more efficient appliances and turning them off when we don’t need them.  It means a lot more things, too, but I’m going to leave that amazing list of suggestions to PG&E.  And maybe most personally, it means saving money when we don’t use as much electricity and natural gas.

What Does Saving Energy Look Like?

For a three and a half year old, visual differences in energy are the easiest to teach. Although an Energy Star fridge is better for your budget and the environment, I don’t think it’s benefits are going to sink into my daughter’s head.  So I chose light bulbs as the place to start.  She can easily understand on and off and when we’re using energy to make them shine.

Light Bulb Crafts

The Babe and I did a few little crafts to help reinforce our conservation efforts.  Repetition, repetition, repetition!  You can use my handy Light Bulb Printable for all three of these activities.

Lightbulb Crafts Left Brain Craft Brain

First we talked about how much energy it takes to light a light bulb.  Then I asked her to paint what that looks like.  She said “It takes a lot of energy to paint this whole light bulb!”

Next we talked about ways that we could save energy in our house.  She said that we could turn all the lamps off and have a party in the dark.  I said “Why don’t you paint that?”  And she said “Why don’t you Mommy?”  Gotta love the honesty and attitude of a preschooler.  So I tried and painted the scene and it looks like a preschooler did it :)  This is a great activity for older kids, too…

Glow in the Dark Light Bulb Craft

Finally, The Babe made a glow in the dark light bulb.  I thought that glow in the dark paint would help her understand how we can run out of power.  Her light bulb won’t glow unless it has been “energized” sufficiently by the sun or other light.

Supplies Needed:

Glow in the Dark Cotton Ball Light Bulb Supplies Left Brain Craft Brain

To do the craft, print out the Light Bulb Printable on thick card stock or scrapbook paper.  Then glue the cotton balls to the paper.  Cut or tear a piece of aluminum foil for the bottom part of the bulb and glue to the paper as well.  Once the glue has had a chance to dry a bit, paint the cotton balls with the glow in the dark paint.  Then hang in their bedroom for some after dark artwork.

Light Bulb Craft Left Brain Craft Brain

Making Energy Conservation a Game

Last of all, we try to make energy conservation a game.  The Babe is the light switch girl before we leave the house.  We use a stop watch (on our phone) and do a race to see who can turn appliances off the fastest.  And we do all of this because as much fun as energy conservation is, having extra money to spend on other activities is way more fun :)

Show How You Conserve Energy

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, PG&E supplies our power.  They’re working hard to educate us all on ways to conserve energy.  And right now, you can enter the #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest by showing how you save energy.  From November 17th-23rd, they’re giving away 7 $100 Home Depot gift cards to help you make your home more efficient or more fun.  (New dryer anyone?  That’s what I’d put the money towards!)

I’d love to hear how you teach your kids to conserve energy!  Leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to comment back…

Teaching Kids to Conserve Energy Left Brain Craft Brain FB

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. Pingback: Turn It Off Helper (Crafts and Activities)

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