Each day, much of the energy we use, we use without even realizing it. And what we sometimes take for granted is how easily accessible electricity is, but also how important it is to use only as much as we need. Conserving energy, or reducing the amount of energy we use, can help make power plants work more effectively, reduces costs and uses less of the planet’s resources. This is not only great for adults to know, but for kids to learn at an early age to be energy-conscious for life.

If you’re looking for ways to teach your kids about energy conservation, consider these four ideas.

  1. Create a compost in your back yard
    Here’s a project that can get the entire family out of the house in the summer time. Rather than putting unused food scraps in the garbage disposal, build a compost pile in your backyard to help eliminate waste. In addition to saving energy by not using the disposal, composting enriches soil and helps reduce your overall carbon footprint. Composting at home is easy! The EPA shares how.
  1. Come up with fun ways to stay cool in the summer without the air conditioning
    It’s no secret that air conditioning units are energy hogs, but it’s all too easy to rely on them when the summer heat arrives. To help cut down on AC usage, think of creative ways to help beat the heat. This includes planting trees outside the home for additional shade, installing shaded window film to block extra sunlight and making sure you’re saving chores that produce moisture, such as mopping, laundry and dishwashing, for early morning and nighttime hours. The humidity from these activities only make things feel hotter.
  1. Show them how much savings can come from reducing the household energy bill
    Does your child want to save up for something special? Whether it be a new bike or fun family vacation, the savings from energy conservation alone adds up towards a common goal. Encourage your child to look into which appliances in the home use the most amount of energy when not in use (tip: TVs are a big one) and the dollar amount the family can put away from making easy changes each month. This is not only a great way to get your child to think about turning off appliances when not in use, but also the benefits of conserving cash.
  1. Encourage shorter showers
    It’s easy to indulge in a long, hot shower or bath but in reality they use a ton of energy to refill and reheat and entire hot water heater. In fact, it could take as many as 25 gallons of hot water to fill the bathtub, compared to only seven for a quick shower. Consider making a family game out of who can take the quickest shower (while actually getting clean!) and teach your kids the overall benefits of reducing water use, such as saving energy used to pump, heat, and treat water.

These are just some of the many ways we can all work to conserve energy while at home, regardless of age. If you’re interested in other ways to teach kids valuable life skills, check out our other Energized Youth blogs.