Understanding climate change and the need for sustainability can be a difficult topic to tackle when it comes to children.
If these topics are not explored or introduced in a safe, child-friendly manner, children run the risk of developing climate anxiety – creating feelings of helplessness, powerlessness and a sense of impending doom.
At Compass, we are dedicated to combatting issues of sustainability throughout our community, committed to promoting sustainable and fair practices across our organisation, in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We feel it is vital that children are empowered with the knowledge and information regarding climate change, as the implications of global warming directly concern their futures.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of some climate change activities for kids that will support your child’s learning and facilitate various discussions about climate change, including what we can do to keep our planet healthy for years to come.
Go Litter Picking
Litter picking is a great place to start when looking for climate change activities for children, helping them to feel proactive in the fight against climate change.
Try telling your children to look under, around and behind various things – just as if they were on an easter egg hunt, or a treasure hunt. Litter picks will encourage your child to take pride in their local community and the environment.
While litter picking, explain to your child how removing litter helps to preserve the natural ecosystem, ensuring wildlife can continue to live there happily – as well as making it a better space for humans to enjoy too!
Check out this advice from Keep Britain Tidy on litter picking safely.
Make A Closed Terrarium Together
Fun to make and beautiful to look at, closed terrariums are a great tool for demonstrating the way ecosystems work, as they start to develop their own miniature climates once planted.
Sealed terrariums work a little bit like a greenhouse, with sunlight entering through the glass and warming the air, soil, and plants – the same way sunlight enters Earth’s atmosphere and warms our planet.
Try planting a terrarium with your child and observing how it grows over the next few months, considering how the plants might grow differently if the glass was thicker, or the air inside hotter – just like global warming.
Design Climate Change Posters
Art is great for children’s development, helping children to gain confidence, develop skills and learn how to deal with and express thoughts and emotions in healthy ways.
Why not ask your child to design a poster on a climate-related topic of their choice? They could design a poster on the proper way to recycle, or why walking and cycling is better for the environment than driving.
This artsy activity will encourage your child to think about some sustainable lifestyle choices and how they might benefit the environment, whilst also engaging their creative side.
Please note – if you’d like to put up the posters in public, you’ll need permission from property owners or your local authority. Otherwise, you could be fined for fly-posting.
Make a Bug Box
Another great outdoors activity, building a bug box invites children to consider the various delicate ecosystems that exist all around us.
Building a bug box, or bug hotel, provides a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about a world they can’t always see – the world of insects. Creating a habitat for insects will also have a positive impact on the local environment, encouraging biodiversity and providing a safe, natural habitat for insects to live.
Check out this video guide on making bug boxes from recycled plastic water bottles.
Plant a Tree
Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Trees are essential for the climate, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. However, since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost due to deforestation.
Planting a tree – no matter how big or small – is a meaningful way for you and your child to give back to the environment, providing the perfect opportunity for them to get their hands dirty and appreciate everything that trees do for us!
If you don’t have the space or facilities to plant a tree, why not take a walk in the forest instead, and encourage your child to guess the age of each tree and how long it has been stood there.
Get Crafty With Recycled Materials
Recycling means reusing materials again, rather than throwing them away, and it one of the most important things we can in the mission for sustainability.
This craft activity encourages your children to think about how everyday rubbish could be turned into something new, stressing the importance of sustainability for kids. The recycling bin is a great place to turn for inspiration; is there something new they can make from something old?
These are just a few simple suggestions for helping your children learn about climate change and sustainability in an engaging and hands-on way, encouraging them to leave the planet in a better condition than they found it in.
You can also check out our recommendations for children’s books on climate change here.