If you were a kid right now, would there be anything about renewable energy that would be attractive to you? All of the conversation around energy is actually pretty stale and boring — even for adults! And since kids are the future of the renewable energy industry, it’s imperative that we don’t overlook this fact and discover ways to engage them.
Five Ways to Get Kids Excited About Renewables
If you want to get kids excited about renewable energy, you have to take a back door approach. You can’t just bring up the topic and shove it down their throats. This is how you turn them off from the topic. Instead, you need to make it fun, engaging, and age-appropriate. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Find Online Resources
Kids are visual and they love doing things on tablets and mobile devices. If you can find a way to curb their YouTube watching habits and make their screen time a little more educational, then you should.
Thankfully, there are actually a number of good online resources for kids to learn more about energy. NASA has one of the best. It’s called Climate Kids and involves a series of games, videos, trivia contests, and printable activities.
2. Conduct Experiments
Remember back to when you were a kid and you were in science class. Did you prefer to sit quietly at your desk and listen to the teacher lecture, or did you prefer to do hands-on experiments? Most people learn better when they’re able to partake in experiments and visually see the results.
You should look for any opportunity you have to conduct “field experiments.” For example, let’s say you’re on vacation at the beach and you see a parasailing boat. Not only would taking your family parasailing be fun, but this is a great opportunity to help your kids understand the power and potential of wind — a renewable source of energy.
3. Create Competitions
Many children thrive in competition. Having some sort of reward or recognition on the line helps them find motivation and drive. If you know that your children are driven by competition, tap into this. Develop games and contests around energy topics and ask them to come up with projects or create models.
4. Be a Positive Example
One of the easiest and most effective ways to get your kids interested in renewable energy is to be a positive example. If you’re trying to teach them about the importance of conserving energy, yet you’re always leaving the lights on, what does this really teach them? Kids are more influenced by your actions than your words. Understand this and find ways to reinforce various concepts with responsible actions.
5. Get Your Kids Involved
Kids need to get involved in renewable energy in order to feel a connection. Look around for opportunities to get them engaged in the local community. If you’re having trouble finding something, try contacting National Geographic Education or the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy — both of which partner with schools to deliver educational programs.
Involve Kids in the Conversation
The average child isn’t going to naturally be drawn towards renewable energy. They’d rather be out building forts, playing with dolls, playing sports, and having fun. But, if you can make renewable energy fun, then you may be surprised to find they’re all in.
Involve kids in the conversation of renewable energy and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. These are just five of your options. You know your children better than anyone else, so work with their strengths and don’t be afraid to challenge them.