By contributing writer Tabitha
I grew up in Southern California, which originally was a desert. I spent a lot of my youth in Utah and Nevada, also deserts.
So, I grew up knowing that water is precious. I was also taught not to waste anything. Therefore, my kids learn water conservation with a vengeance.
Before we moved to Missouri, where no one has sprinklers because water tends to fall from the sky pretty regularly, we lived in Amarillo, Texas, also a desert. The older kids remember having to water the grass and garden. When it did rain, it flooded. It flooded this summer with unseasonable rain.
Fast forward to living in the green Midwest, at least when it’s not a drought year. We’ve had so much rain the last 48 hours we can’t even walk anywhere without getting muddy. If the kids hear something that sounds like rain, they assume it is rain, even if it is sunny outside…and they could be right.
It’s hard to explain to the kids that clean water is a limited resource and that we need to use it wisely, but there are many ways to teach this.
Sure, I could just talk, talk, and talk about all the reasons we need to save water. In the last 5 years, they’ve seen no real shortage of water, so I know I need to give more reasons they can relate to.
The things that always stuck in my mind as a child were songs, usually from TV shows, and so I sing them with the little kids. Trust me, the older kids pay attention even if they feel they are too old.
Resources for Teaching Kids About Water Conservation
One short but sweet resource was a Sesame Street clip where the fish calls up the boy wasting water. Click here to see it.
Sesame Street has many other videos available on their website, including more about saving water in ways even the youngest can understand but with reasons the older ones can get behind.
A newer one that has come to my attention recently is the newest season of Schoolhouse Rock, also known as Schoolhouse Rock Earth. There’s a whole song about not wasting water.
Water, Use It Wisely
Another fun thing (of which there are many) are websites like Water, Use it Wisely and others. There are games, printables, and reminders of how even kids can make a difference.
Charities and Organizations
Speaking of kids making a difference, sometimes my kids think that anything they do isn’t worth trying because there is so much going wrong with the world. We find stories about kids like them who have helped in some way to save water and get clean water to where it is needed. We’ve talked about stories related to different charities and kids’ organizations, such as Students for Safe Water.
Between the songs, video clips, and the learning materials and the awareness we’ve found for our family, I think we can make a difference too, even if it’s just doing little things like not wasting water in our own home for now.
I still have to remind my kids. They are just kids. But the reminder is good for all of us. Thinking especially of those for whom clean water is a luxury, don’t waste the water we have.