Climate change is an issue that affects all of us, and teaching our kids to understand what it means for our planet is incredibly important. Over the last one hundred years, our earth’s average surface temperature has increased approximately 1.0* F, with eleven of the warmest years occurring since 1980. Climate change is a serious issue that our children must understand to ensure their futures and the future of our planet. If you are looking for ways to teach your kids about climate change in the Portland area, here are a few fun options that will keep them entertained and engaged. 

Play A Game

Kids learn best when having fun, so teaching climate change through games is a great way to help them understand and retain information. When you make learning fun, kids develop a love for it that will last a lifetime! 

Climate Time Machine

Begin by using an excellent visualization tool with NASA’s Climate Time Machine. Kids can see a progression of the earth’s warming throughout the years, which will help them make an abstract concept of climate change more concrete. The Time Machine uses colors to simulate temperature, making it an excellent option for kids of all ages.

Greenhouse Game

Kids can learn how greenhouse gases affect temperature and climate through this simple game. All you need are two thermometers, a glass bowl, and plastic wrap. Place the thermometers in the sun, one standing on its own and the other inside the glass jar covered with plastic wrap. Record the starting temperatures and wait 20 minutes. Once the time is up, have your child record the temperatures on each thermometer. Have them observe which one is higher and explain how the plastic wrap mimics greenhouse gases, trapping the heat near the earth’s surface. This game is a great way to practically explain why pollution affects everyone on the planet and why we need to lower our emissions.

Melting Ice Game

Explaining how melting ice affects sea levels is easy with this game. You will need two cups, sand, ice, and water. One cup will represent the north pole with only ice and water, and the other will represent the south pole with sand, ice, and water. Your kids will see how the melting ice affects each polar region differently due to the different base substances. Find more on how to play this game here

Visit A Garden

Developing a love and appreciation for nature will make kids want to preserve it, directly affecting climate change. Taking them to a garden or park where they can see the different plants and smell the unique scents will open their minds and hearts. Once you’re there, you can explain how important trees and plants are for their oxygen production and how they filter and clean our air of the pollutants that make us sick. Make a day of it by bringing a picnic lunch! Portland has an abundance of beautiful gardens to choose from; three of the most beautiful are the International Rose Test GardenPortland Japanese Garden, and the Hoyt Arboretum

Make A Terrarium

Terrariums are a fun, hands-on way to show kids how climate works. A terrarium is just like an aquarium, except with plants and not fish. Having your kids make their own with a glass jar and materials they can find in your yard is a great way for them to learn how the earth is constructed and watch in real-time how climate works. A terrarium is a closed ecosystem that simulates the weather variations we experience every day, which is exciting for both your kids and yourself! Check out this how-to from NASA to make your own! 

Visit A Science Museum

Science museums are always a hit with kids, as they get to experience hands-on learning through games and activities that bring science to life. Bringing your kids to the science museum will allow them to see climate change in action through specialized exhibits geared to their age and learning level. There are two great science museums in the Portland area, the Portland Science Center and the Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry. Both feature hands-on learning that will create a passion in your child for protecting the beautiful world we inhabit. 

Climate change doesn’t have to be a topic that is overwhelming or confusing. You can teach your kids about climate change in fun, informative and exciting ways. Why not play a game, visit a garden, make a terrarium, or go to a science museum. Before you know it, your kids will have a passion for the well-being of our planet that you will be proud to nurture!  

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