You know how they say kids are sponges, soaking up everything people say and do around them? While this might help you cool it on the four-letter-words you say around your children, you might not realize that kids pick up on water usage habits as well. If water conservation isn’t something you talk about frequently in your family (hey, we’re not judging), your kids might not realize that small things like leaving the faucet running while brushing their teeth are wasting gallons of water each year.
Luckily, since kiddos are young, impressionable little nuggets, you can take advantage of this time and start instilling environmentally-friendly, water-saving, reducin’-reusin’-recyclin’ habits. Here are our favorite kid-friendly water conservation activities.
Go on a Water Leak Hunt
The easiest way to get kids excited about water conservation is to make it seem like a game. To that end, organize a hunt for leaks in your toilets, faucets, and showerheads (and if you’re especially handy, be ready to fix them — or at least have the plumber’s number ready to go).
While you’re scouring the house for leaks, you can explain to your kids the importance of turning faucets off all the way so drips don’t add up to hundreds of gallons wasted. Encourage them to be “leak hunters” around the house and get into the habit of turning faucets off when they’re brushing their teeth or washing their hands.
Take a Field Trip
A field trip is always the highlight of any kid’s day, right? Set aside a weekend to take a family field trip to your local drinking water plant. Many public water facilities offer free tours for the public, and they’ll teach your kids how the water cycle works and what goes on behind-the-scenes of the place.
No luck with the water tour? The EPA has a fantastically retro virtual tour of a drinking water treatment plant, along with tons of interactive games and activities for kids of all ages.
Get a Green Thumb
“Plant the seed” of water conservation by starting your own at home garden (ba-dum-chhhh). A home garden has tons of benefits for families trying to learn more about water conservation. Your kids will make the connection between water and sustaining life (instead just thinking about water as a tool to scrub off the playground dirt). You can also show them how you can save leftover water from their reusable kids water bottles, the shower, or even ice cubes you dropped on the floor, and reuse that water to nurture your garden. If you’re feeling ambitious, you might even set up a rain barrel for extra water and a concrete visual of how rainfall and drought affect the landscape.
Want to take a slightly different approach? Grow a garden of cacti or succulents (especially if a green thumb doesn’t run in the family). The lesson here is that nature protects water resources when they’re scarce; dive into the different adaptations each plant has taken on in order to hoard water. Plus, let’s be honest, a low-maintenance garden is our favorite kind.
For the ultimate family-friendly water conservation move, get the whole gang reusable water bottles. You’ll reduce waste, stay hydrated, and look hella cool rocking the reusable (and if you say it exactly like that in front of your kids, you’re guaranteed at least an “UGGHHH, you’re so embarrassing.”)