Make energy savings fun for kids

Want to train your children to use energy more efficiently? Make it fun.

Here are some ideas:

  • Give your kids a quarter or even a penny every time you catch them turning off the lights or TV when they leave a room. Take a coin back if they leave their video games running or leave lights on in an empty room.
  • Reward older kids with a small bonus on their allowance each month that they help lower the household energy bill.
  • Educate your children about how they might be wasting energy by holding the refrigerator door open or leaving the front door ajar when they run outside. Then, deputize your little ones as your home’s “energy police.” Put them on the lookout for energy-wasters like phone chargers that are plugged into the wall without a phone on the other end or TVs that are on when nobody’s watching.
  • Spend an afternoon decorating badges that put your children in charge of your home’s “Operation: Save Energy.” Then take them on a “raid” of the house, looking for ways your family is wasting energy.
  • Set up an energy-efficiency obstacle course. Send your kids on a race through the house to find other family members or friends acting out energy-wasting activities. Tell your kids they have to find culprits in each room and correct the energy wasters before they can move on. Time them as they race through the house and award points each time they correct an action.
  • Each week, post a chart on the refrigerator and keep a tally of each time a family member gets caught wasting energy. The person with the fewest tallies by Friday night gets to pick the movie.

If you make saving energy a game rather than a chore, you might get your kids excited about your cause. Soon enough, they’ll be correcting you when you forget to flip the switch.