3 Tips On Teaching Kids About Pollution

The global environment is perhaps one of the most important issues affecting the world in the future. Unfortunately, for the past few decades, many have not taken the environment seriously, which has led to a great deal of the problems that we are facing today. Climate change is considered a major issue by many scientists, which could very well doom future generations that have yet to be born. With that being said, much of the true problem that contributes to climate change is pollution and a lack of understanding about its seriousness. Pollution, whether through emissions or through physical trash, essentially increases an individual’s carbon footprint. The more intense that carbon footprint becomes, the more serious an individual’s effect on the environment is. Therefore, it’s crucial that children are educated from a young age about pollution and how to prevent it. However, it can be difficult to teach children about this type of serious issue without completely intimidating or confusing; and for that matter, it can be hard to present the topic in a manner that seems optimistic. This in particular is important, as a lot of children won’t pay attention to the matter of pollution itself if it’s presented in a manner that makes it seem impossible to help. With that being said, children can be taught about pollution through some simple steps that make the idea easier to digest.

1. Take Them To Pick Up Trash

Litter is obviously a major issue when it comes to pollution, and it is perhaps one of the biggest factors contributing to pollution today. It’s also one of the clearest ways in which kids can help prevent pollution, as picking up litter is something that everyone can do. While adults certainly need to be present to ensure that children don’t hurt themselves while picking up trash, they can certainly do a lot to help kids do so around their neighborhood. They simply need to wear gloves and use recyclable bags to pick up things like glass, paper products, and of course plastic. Plastic is one of the biggest products that cause pollution. Polyethylene plastic is the most common type of plastic, and its annual global production is around 80 million tons. Much of this ends up being littered across the globe. Letting children see this in person through picking it up is a great teachable moment, in a hands-on way that is easier for them to digest than a heavy lessen. With that being said, you should probably drive around your neighborhood before starting to pick up litter, as you’ll want to make sure that you have an idea of what kids are getting themselves into. Some pieces of litter might be dangerous, and you’ll want to make sure that kids aren’t getting themselves into anything that you can’t safely supervise ahead of time. This shouldn’t push you away from the idea of picking up litter entirely. Rather, it’s simply a part of preparing ahead of time.

2. Use Big Ideas

There are a lot of contributing factors to pollution. For example, air pollution is one of the biggest problems facing the global environment. Air pollution is essentially the presence of any kind of chemical, physical, or biological agent in the air that can eventually change the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. While this may make sense to the typical adult, it can be a lot more confusing to kids, as can the idea of global warming in general. Therefore, it’s best to stick to big ideas that can more easily make sense to children, and ultimately make pollution more understandable to them in the future. One way that you can make this easier for kids to comprehend is by using those big i and helping them make fact cards or posters about pollution. Use big letters and bright colors, as well as markers or cut-outs, to create a teaching moment that the kids are essentially involved in creating themselves. In fact, you can have the children create these fact cards or posters and present their big ideas to each other. At the end of the day, the children are not only teaching themselves but teaching each other in a way that can make a huge impact.

3. Focus On the Future

Again, pollution is an idea that can be very doom and gloom, and a lot of kids may ultimately feel as if they can’t change anything about the world, no matter what they do. Therefore, it’s important to teach them about the future and what they can do to make a better one. Try to boost the positive factors, and let them know that there are things that they can do to make a better world for not only each other but the generations that will come after them. And there are many factors that will affect the future! For one thing, picking up litter, as mentioned above, and recycling it as well as all recyclable trash that children themselves are responsible for in their own homes, can make a big difference. Solar power can also be taught to children. As American solar power can offset more than 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, it’s essentially the equivalent of planting 1.2 billion trees. This can be presented to kids as essentially utilizing the power of sunlight, ultimately making it a lot easier for them to understand in the long term. Recycling at home, picking up litter, and looking for other sources of renewable energy like solar power and hydropower, can make a major difference for kids when they consider the future.

Pollution doesn’t have to be an intimidating or scary idea for kids. It can be easily taught, and ultimately can make a big difference for children. Yes, children really are the future. The more that they know about pollution, the more that they can do to prevent it.

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