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Sustainability games to teach your kids about waste management and their carbon footprint

Get help teaching your kids about their carbon footprint with our art and craft ideas.


By Cleanipedia Team

Bagged vegetables as part of a sustainability game for kids
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Key Steps

  • Create an easy carbon footprint calculator for kids to teach them about small changes they could make to help protect their environment.

  • Use recycled materials to create bug hotels, or places to grow flowers in the garden.

  • Make homemade gifts like Christmas tree decorations using materials you would otherwise throw away.

Teaching kids about carbon footprints and climate change can be tricky. A great way to keep kids enthusiastic about saving the planet is to use some fun eco-friendly games! Here we’ll share some top art and craft ideas for kids using recycled materials as well as an easy explanation of carbon footprint for kids.

Ensure you’re well versed on the facts, so you understand what you’re explaining to your kids. Then make the explanation fun so that they absorb the lesson.

An easy explanation of carbon footprint for kids

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The best way to go about teaching kids about carbon footprint is to create a simple carbon footprint calculator for kids they can use to start making small changes.

  1. Start by giving each activity a number. Activities that have a low carbon footprint have a score of 1, whilst higher carbon footprints are a 2. For example, walking, scootering or biking scores 1, while driving in your car scores 2. Having a shower scores 1, while having a bath scores 2. Reading a book scores 1, while watching the TV scores 2.

  2. Next, ask them to choose which activities they do most.

  3. Once they have selected their activities, add up the scores. The higher the score, the worse the carbon footprint they have.

  4. Help them lower their score. Encourage them to make smarter choices to lower their carbon footprint by offering weekly rewards based on their scores.

How to make creative things from waste material at home

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One of the best ways to learn is through play, and a big part of reducing your own personal carbon footprint is to reduce your waste. That means reusing or recycling goods as much as possible. There are some great art and craft ideas for kids using recycled materials that can help you do just that while teaching your kids about their carbon footprint.

  • Fall in love with nature and the great outdoors. If your kids love being outside, they’re more likely to want to protect it. Try some plastic bottle art and craft to make plant pots, bug hotels and more for your back garden.

  • Experiment with science. One of the biggest effects of global warming is the changing weather patterns, so try these ideas to create weather in a bottle:

    • Fill a bottle ¾ full with water. Add a drop of washing up liquid, then replace the lid tightly. Leave it to stand for 10-15 minutes. Hold the bottle top give it a swirl, turning from the wrist. Stand the bottle up. You’ve created a tornado!

    • Fill a bucket with ice and place a bottle of water inside. Add salt and top up the bucket with water. Leave it for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the bottled water and pour it into a glass. Place an ice cube from the freezer on top of the water in the glass and watch as it freezes instantly.

  • • Make homemade gifts. Why not fill an old jam jar with cake mix or create hanging decorations for next year’s Christmas tree from old clothes, paper and other recycled materials. Try out these plastic bottle crafts too!

We hope you now have some inspiration for art and craft ideas for kids using recycled materials, as well as an easy explanation of carbon footprint for kids to help your family make changes today.

Originally published