Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the world has been reliant on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, up to 75% of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions stem from fossil fuels use. In order to reduce CO2 emissions, the USA has become very invested in renewable energy. As our children are the future guardians of the Earth, it is important to get them interested in environmental protection from as early an age as possible. While renewable energy might not be a typical field of interest for young children, there are luckily a number of fun and creative experiments and projects that can be set up to get even very little children excited about the topic.
Everyone loves pinwheels
One of the most prevalent types of renewable energy is wind energy. It is generated by wind turbines that basically look like sleek, giant pinwheels. The concept of wind energy can be explained to children through a fun and simple activity: making pinwheels. All you need to make a pinwheel is a square of paper, a drawing pin, and a straw. Before crafting the pinwheel, encourage your child to decorate their sheet of paper with crayons, paints, or colored pencils. Depending on your child’s age, you can either show them how to assemble the pinwheel, or you can do it for them. Once it's complete, let them blow on it for an exciting, interactive encounter. Playing outdoors with a pinwheel can also make for an exhilarating and educational experience. You can even buy a couple of durable pinwheels from your local toy store and make a miniature wind farm in your garden with them.
It’s fun experimenting with solar energy
The sun is a very powerful source of energy. The significance of solar energy can be demonstrated to children in a fun and creative way: by making a small solar oven. The internet is flooded with instructions on how to build a solar oven with your children. Ideally, you want to opt for one that can easily be made using common household items such as a pizza box, foil, and a few wooden skewers or a pencil. Once you have assembled the oven, you can get to the most educational (and much anticipated) part of the experiment – cooking in your oven. Your children will undoubtedly have a great time grilling their own hotdogs or making yummy S’mores in their newly-crafted solar ovens.
Water wheels teach us about hydro energy
Another popular source of renewable energy is hydro energy. In fact, hydro energy is the second-largest source of renewable energy after solar power. Building a miniature hydro wheel is a superb way to get young children excited about the power of hydro energy. A simple, working model of a hydro wheel can be built using household items such as a plastic soda bottle, pieces of foam rubber, wooden skewers, popsicle sticks, and a few flat-top push pins. The water wheel can easily be tested in the kitchen sink, although a trip to a nearby stream will undoubtedly be much more entertaining for any child. You can even make a day out of it and have your child test all three of their renewable energy projects while having a picnic with the family.
important that children gain an understanding of renewable energy from a young
age. By allowing them to partake in fun experiments that double as creative
play, they will both understand and learn to appreciate the various renewable
energy sources available to us.
Photo credit: PARINDA SHAAN