Vacations Are Great For Teaching Kids About Water

Here are some fun ways you can teach your children to be good stewards of this precious resource every day.

  • If you’re taking a car trip this summer, kill some time and keep the kids occupied with a fun “I Spy” game for water.
    1. As you drive along, have the kids “spy” people using water. They might see a pool (people playing) or someone washing a car (cleaning). Sighting water will draw their attention to the many uses of this resource and let them see first hand if the water is being wasted. Count the number of “sightings” and see who has a better water-eye!
    2. As they spot each use of water, give them an extra point for spotting “water hogs” or those instances where water is being wasted. Ask them to think of ways that the water could have been saved in that instance – such as shutting off the water hose while soaping up the car.
    3. Have them close their eyes and imagine a globe or a map of the world. Ask them to guess how much water covers Earth. (The answer is 70 percent).
    4. Then ask them how much of that 70 percent we can actually use. They will be surprised to learn that not even one percent is usable freshwater.
  • At home, try setting up a Water Scavenger Hunt. Count the areas or items in your home that provide or use water (sink, tub, washer, refrigerator, coffee maker - don’t forget your outdoor sprinklers or spigots). Then send the children off to identify each item in your home. When their done, count how many items they can match to your list. They may find items you’ve missed!
  • Officially proclaim your child the household “Water Detective” and provide them with a kit to do their job. Put together a bucket that includes a cup that measures ounces, a kitchen timer and food coloring. Have them search for clues that a “water hog” may be lurking about by checking to see if your sink, toilets, showers, or outdoor spigots have leaks. If there is a drippy faucet, they can see how much is wasted by placing the measuring cup under the faucet and setting their timer for 10 minutes. When the timer rings, check the amount of water in the cup. See if they can multiply the number of ounces to illustrate how many gallons are wasted in a day. To check the toilets, have them put a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 30 minutes without flushing the toilet. If they return to find the coloring has seeped into the toilet bowl, then they’ve identified a water hog and found a leak.
  • Make an outdoor “rain barrel” – it doesn’t have to be fancy! During your next rainstorm, have them put a bucket outside near a gutter or roofline to catch rain that can be saved to water indoor and outdoor plants after the rain ends.
  • Involve your children in household chores that can be done in a water-wise way. Help your children understand the importance of running the clothing washer with a full load by counting how many socks or shirts they can drop into the tub before it becomes full.
  • Often kids don’t realize how much is going down the drain unused. When it’s time to brush their teeth, close the stopper in the sink and allow the water to run while they are brushing. When they’re finished, show them the amount of water in the sink that could have been used for another purpose if they had turned the water off while they brushed. Then ask them if they can think of other ways that they can help save water.

Learning to save water can be fun and will leave a lasting impression on your children that will one day make them water-wise adults.