Earth Hour provides an excellent opportunity to show kids the difference it would make if everyone took small steps against climate change. For young and elementary aged children, a few quick discussions and demonstrations before and during Earth Hour will make the lesson of conservation more accessible and meaningful. But don’t worry, these lessons do not require any extra supplies or preparation and will still help you inspire a budding environmentalist.
A few minutes before Earth Hour begins, take a tour of your home and either unplug each and every appliance, or if that’s not practical, point out and quickly discuss each electrical appliance before switching it off. Youing children will be amazed at how many electricity “eaters” you have while older children could write down each one on a list and total them up at the end. This list would make an excellent research project on specific ways to conserve energy in your home.
During Earth Hour, discuss how people lived before electric light. Candles and gaslight can capture a child’s imagination, with parental supervision of course. Step outside if weather permits and see what your street and neighborhood look like. Is everyone participating and if so, what would it be like without street lights? Ask your kids what it would be like to have a cooking fire in your kitchen every day. Let them know that George Washington lived that way. If you have solar garden lights they make great stand-ins for torches to carry on a walk for a quick historical re-enactment.
With a little thought, your kids will have a greater appreciation of how electricity changed our ancestors’ lives and how easy it can be to go without, even for just an hour.