Did you know that when surveyed about the environment at home, in their communities, and around the world kids said:
- 48% of kids said that “global climate change” is the most important environmental issue facing the world today, followed by “energy resources” at 19%, “water resources” at 17% and “wildlife conservation” at 16%.
- 66% of kids believe that it is “mostly my generation” who are responsible for the environment.
- 51% of kids said in 10 years they want to see their communities add “solar panels on new public buildings.”
- 37% of kids said that in the future, environmental problems will be “Better! I think people will change their behaviors.”*
Interesting, don’t you think?
Even though Earth Week begins today and Earth Day is on Wednesday, April 22, learning about the environment, practicing conservation of resources, and reducing our carbon footprint needs to be an ongoing practice. Whether you are trying to be more green or already are, here are my picks for Earth Day websites that will reinforce a love of the environment into the current generation.
Best Overall Earth Day sites:
Scholastic Act Green encourages kids to be Green. Children can learn 100 ways to act green and sign up to become one of the Green Team Greeniacs who are working together to make the world a greener place. Best for elementary ages.
Educate about environmentalism with The Scholastic Kids Press Corps, a team of student reporters ages 10-14 from across the country, is also reporting on Earth Day and the environment. In their Earth Day 2009 special report, Kid Reporters are covering everything from “green” cars and young environmental activists working to save the earth, to tours of a recycling plant, the El Yunque rainforest and a luxury home powered by geothermal and solar energy. Kid Reporters will also be reporting on Earth Day activities in their own hometowns on the Kids Press Corps blog, where other kids are invited to join the conversation. Best for elementary and middle school ages.
The Energy Star page teaches about energy in a fun and kid friendly way. The well designed website isn’t overwhelming and has just the right combination of graphics and text on a page for kids to be able to successfully navigate each area of the site. Kids can learn why our planet is in trouble and what we can do to keep Earth healthy by finding alternate energy sources and making big changes to the way we live. I think the word bank is an especially useful feature since it provides friendly definitions to some difficult words. Photovoltaic cells or biomass, anyone? There’s also a wonderful page of factoids. Best for elementary ages.
Disney’s Earth is coming out on Wednesday the 22nd in honor of Earth Day. The film, narrated by James Earl Jones, is about three animal families and their journey. On the accompanying website you can find dazzling images in the gallery, an educator section full of printable materials about migrations, Earth and Sun, adaptations and habitat, predators and prey, and live cycles, and transform your computer desktop background with an amazing picture of whales, elephants, or polar bears. If you are planning to see Earth, be sure to purchase a ticket during opening week so Disney will plant a tree in your honor. Younger ages will enjoy the images and the printables are geared for elementary grades and up.
Younger kids will enjoy the Go Green Challenge on PBS Kids Arthur where they can select among different challenges to be more green. Challenges include water, getting around, clothes, energy, outdoors, everyday choices, and food. Personalize the challenge, print it out, and mark the box as each of the three tasks are completed. Also check out The Rain Savers where young conservationists can learn how to save water. Best for preschoolers or early elementary ages.
WasteManagement’s Think Green site has differentiated activities for those in grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Powered by Discovery Education, this site features puzzles, educational videos on current environmental topics, and interactive activities, links to resources, and books that are specially designed for each age group. If you are a teacher or parent who homeschools, be sure to check out the teacher resource page where you can search for materials by grade, topic, and resource. All ages.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycle City features an interactive map of how its city’s residents reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. Best for elementary ages and up.
Tell your child’s teacher that they can download a free copy of an electronic version of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax from KidThing to share with the class on Wednesday. Best for preschool and elementary ages.
Games and Puzzles:
- Grow your own groovy garden with Marc Brown’s Arthur in his Groovy Garden Game.
- Create an original Earth Day-centered tale at Dot’s Story Factory and enjoy games and activities with environmental themes.
Elementary Ages and Older:
- Play Scholastic.com’s Virtual Forest Game and be faced with choices about what will have the best impact on the environment around them.
- Locate energy hogs within certain areas of your home in HogBuster.
- Choose from one of four environmental issues and select a fact to include on your Tree Free eCard from Scholastic.
- Test your Water Sense with Flow The Water Efficiency Hero from the Environmental Protection Agency. In this PacMan-esque game, Flow has to get through the water pipes to the sink, toilet, glass, and sprinkler while avoiding water wasting monsters. It is your job to snswer questions about how to conserve water during everyday tasks.
- In DumpTown, kids get to be the new city manager in charge of cleaning up the city and encouraging residents to reduce and recycle.
- Complete an Ozone Science Crossword Puzzle
- Test your knowledge of UV radiation and its effects in this crossword puzzle.
- In honor of the 4th annual PBS KIDS Share the Earth Day, videos featuring favorite characters like Super Why, Sid the Science Kid, Clifford, and Curious George are available on the web-based Earth Day Channel. Also look for new episodes premiering with Earth Day themed content on shows like Curious George, Arthur, CyberChase, Super Why!, Sid the Science Kid, Maya and Miguel, and more on your local PBS affiliate station. Best for preschoolers and early elementary ages.
- BrainPop’s Science section on the Earth System features favorite animated characters Tim and Moby covering topics like groundwater, the greenhouse effect, ozone layer, water cycle, Earth’s atmosphere, and many more. Sign up for a free trial for access to the videos throughout the duration of your trial period. Best for elementary ages and up.
- Earth Day Television features channels with content on topics like global warming, alternative energy, and greener living. Best for middle school and up.
- Earth Day Activity Book containing 11 pages of things you can do to make Earth a better place.
- Download printable signs, stickers, and door hangers to encourage others to be green from Scholastic’s Act Green site.
Now go forth and conserve and celebrate the Earth this Earth Week!
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama