Monday, November 8, 2010

5 Ways for Children to Learn How to Conserve Water

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...                        Image via WikipediaBy Courtney Shipe

Teaching your children to be environmentally responsible is sometimes a difficult task. Helping them understand not only HOW to protect our resources, but WHY we do so is vital for them to continue the habits when they are older. Conserving water is a somewhat abstract idea, especially for younger children and it can be hard for them to understand. Here are five ways you can help you child understand why and how they can make a difference in their water consumption habits.

A timer in the bathroom can make kid's showers not just time to wash up, but a race to beat the clock. However, children won't really understand how much water they are saving. How to teach them? Simple, after a typical five minute shower have the child get out of the shower but leave the water running into a large container. Let the shower run for another five minutes, switching out containers as necessary. Then you can show your child a visual picture of how much water is wasted when their shower is ten minutes instead of five. The collected water can be used to wash dishes, water plants, or wash your car. In order for your child to get truly clean in a five minute shower, you might need to make them a checklist so they remember to rinse the shampoo out of the hair for example!

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that turning the water off when brushing your teeth saves an estimated three thousand gallons of water each year. How much water is three thousand gallons? Well, an average person drinks about sixteen thousand gallons of water over their lifetime so three thousand gallons is about fifteen year's worth of water for a single person.

Children don't just want a drink of water when they are thirsty. They want COLD water. The typical way to get a cold glass of water is to run the tap until the water is cold and then fill a glass. Teach your children how much water this wastes by placing a bucket under the tap and running it as you would to get a cold glass of water. How many drinks did your child pour down the drain to get one glass of water? A pitcher, water bottle, or water dispenser kept in the fridge will allow your child the opportunity to get a cold glass of water without allowing the tap to run.

Children are happy to help wash the car because it offers them a chance to play outside with the hose. However, running the hose wastes an enormous amount of water. Teach your children how to wash your car with two buckets, a soapy one and a rinse one to allow them to help out without letting water run down the driveway and sidewalk. Likewise, instead of letting your children play in the sprinkler, invest in an inflatable pool that you can fill with enough water to allow your children to enjoy the summer sun. As an added benefit, when they are tired of the pool, you can use the leftover water to water your garden, houseplants, or shrubs.

For more information about water conservation please visit

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