Recycling and other environmentally-conscious activities often begin at home, and parents who are concerned about the planet have a variety of resources available to help get their kids involved. From school programs, to government agencies, to non-profit organizations, there are a wide array of ways to drive home the message of youth environmentalism. Here are just a few:
EarthForce’s mission is to educate children about the environment and give them the tools to make lasting change. Through EarthForce, children learn how water, sustainability, and health all impact the environment. Children are able to actively participate in activities in cities that partner with EarthForce, which currently serves over 50 communities in the US and Canada.
Additionally, EarthForce provides resources for educators to help them encourage and engage their students. Teachers are even provided with program implementation help and advised about how to effectively collaborate with school administration. Teachers are able to teach EarthForce curriculum in 8- or 25-week periods, and a resource guide is provided to ensure the kids gain a thorough understanding of our environment.
EarthForce collaborates with more than 100 partners and facilitates the Community Action and Problem-Solving Process, which enables these partners to address environmental issues specific to their geographical area. The EarthForce Community Action and Problem-Solving Process is a six-step process that provides instruction on environmental and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
This process allows students to identify causes of environmental concerns, and work on concrete solutions within their communities to address problems. The goal of this process is to build teamwork and help students understand that they each can play part in helping the planet.
Kids Recycling Zone
Kids Recycling Zone provides kids with games, trivia, and facts regarding recycling and the environment. Children who visit Kids Recycling Zone can play games like True or False, Recycling Word Search, and the Conversionator. The information on the Kids Recycling Zone website goes further into detail in terms of what actually happens to items once placed into recycling bins, which helps kids see beyond simply throwing an item into a bin with no real knowledge of what happens afterward.
Recycling – The Magic Makeover allows kids to play an engaging game that allows them to see what their recycled items could possibly turn into. Children are able to select such an item such as a plastic bottle and are shown what that plastic bottle could turn into, such as the filling for sleeping bag or even a backpack.
In addition to the games that are provided on the site, Kids Recycling Zone also provides a wealth of information for parents to help their kids get more involved in recycling as well as fact sheets and statistics on real environmental issues. Children are able to access educational videos on subjects such as how trash is recycled, and they can even watch a walk-through of a real municipal recycling facility in New York City.
Developed by NASA, Climate Kids is an interactive website that serves to educate and provide new ideas that encourage children to actively participate in saving the environment. Children can learn about climate change, recycling, energy, and a variety of other phenomena that impact our planet.
Climate Kids goes beyond simple explanations, thoroughly exploring the history behind each subject, how we got where we are now, and what kids and adults can do to address the situation in the present. For example, The Climate Time Machine is an online tool that allows children to see how the earth’s climate has changed over the years, discover which parts of the world may end up underwater as a result of climate change, and learn how greenhouse gasses have adversely affected the earth.
In addition to the wealth of information available on the Climate Kids website, there are many games for children to play to learn more about the current state of the environment. Kids can access trivia on subjects such as water, global warming, and energy conservation. They can even print out colorful light switch covers, encouraging them to turn lights off and conserve energy in the home. Climate Kids offers a wealth of knowledge and even gives children advice on how to pursue an environmentally-centered career.
Though just a few programs are listed here, there are many more available for children and parents to help young people understand the current state of the environment and the impact they can have by getting involved in protecting it. In addition to online resources, many municipalities have programs dedicated to empowering and educating youth with regard to saving the environment. Contact your local municipality or school to discuss what programs they have in place and how you can participate.