Teaching kids about the environment can be a daunting task. There's the scientific jargon, the sense of reasonability you want to impart on them for their future lives, as well as highlighting the issues the world currently faces. If not approached correctly, you could bore them or, at worst, you can scare them. As with any topic, adding fun repetition to proceedings can help young minds retain information. Word games are particularly useful for education and have a long track record of helping kids unscramble complicated words like biosphere and then keep them forever in their memory banks.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering about which games to use and what specific topics to start. Never fear! Below we've collected a mix of sites and word games that'll have little students knowing their glacier from their greenhouse effect in no time. The next generation will be the most crucial in protecting the world around us, so there's no better time than now to get them invested in it.
NASA isn't just about looking towards space for answers but also helping your little ones down here too. Climate Kids is a bold and user-friendly site that teaches children about the atmosphere, energy, plants and animals, and much more. Filled with colorful illustrations, informative diagrams and even games, Climate Kids is a great resource for starting kids on their climate minded journey. We recommend the s’mores solar oven build guide for some hands on learning about the sun's power.
Crafts, slang terms, and even clever field trip ideas all make an appearance on this resource from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They offer downloadable activity books, scavenger hunt certificates, and a host of great word games, including a fun sudoku. Their page dedicated to saving energy provides more than most, even giving kids useful info on the difference between industry, commercial buildings, and home energy use. For the budding mathematicians out there, there's also an energy calculator to make use of where you can convert the likes of crude oil use.
It's NASA time again, but this time we're going under the waves and not to the stars. NASA Space Place is an educational website about space and Earth science targeting upper-elementary-aged children that is filled to the brim with excellent resources. Our favorite, though, is this ocean currents game which teaches players about the basics of ocean physics and how global warming is affecting the seas. Just drag one of the elements on the right to move the submersible towards the golden key.
Habitats is the Smithsonian Science Education Centre's take on an educational, environmental game. Habitats focuses on the various types of climates, and of course, habitats, around the world. The player chooses which animals belong to which landscape, with an easy-to-use and child-friendly interface. Navigate to the Smithsonian website today to try out the game for yourself.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or simply the NIH, has been building and working on their site of Environmental games for years, and their collection is quite impressive. With an array of word games, visual problems, and even emoji games, the NIH have you covered! Alongside their games, they even have online lessons, topic discussions, and activities aplenty. Get your kids started today and have them up to speed in no time!
Recycle City is a game created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to promote and educate young people and children about the dangers and solutions to waste pollution. Through the game, the player will encounter a series of problems and challenges that promote recycling, reducing, and reusing their waste. With its user-friendly interface and simple, but colorful graphics, it's a great game to learn about all things recycling!
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a page on their site where you can play a few really useful environmental games focused on animal conservation and climates. Whether that be crossword puzzles challenging them to unscramble words, outdoor game ideas, bird spotting challenges, and even a challenge called 'the migration maze,' they have an array of games that will spark your children's interest and help you learn more about the world in which we all live.
The British Council has always had a really good education section on their website, and they don't fall short when it comes to environmental awareness. You can find a huge selection of word games that aim to teach keywords associated with climate change, global warming, and general awareness of some of the biggest issues our planet faces. Navigate through their website and find which games interest you the most.
A useful resource for teachers now. This site is chock full of ways for young students to increase their verbal comprehension of this big beautiful ball we all live on. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary skills can all be sharpened, our personal favorite being the 'Slap' game. Here the player has to use their relaxes to best the computer in selecting the correct icon to the word said. The red hand opponent is quicker than you'd think!
Dinosaurs, space, and pirates -all things every kid loves at some point and all available on this great teaching site. While ESL Games Plus covers a ton of subjects, their weather section is a fun and practical way to learn about different conditions and seasons. There's even a mobile vocabulary game for iPad and Android users which teachers can use to review grammar skills or simply improve "make words with these letters" dexterity with their students.
About the Author
Sam Walker-Smart is a British culture journalist currently based in Bristol. His work has appeared in CLASH, The Huffington Post, Vinyl Me Please, Barcelona Metropolitan, Little White Lies, and other outlets. He enjoys writing about inclusivity in gaming, fun for seniors, educational apps, and entertainment for all. In his spare time, he enjoys weird folklore, sad songs, and good beer.