We always tell the kids to turn off the lights and turn off the running tap, but do they really understand why?

To help combat this common challenge many Aussie parents face, we’ve pulled together a few easy and fun ways you can teach the little ones about energy consumption, reducing waste, and how to be more energy efficient.

first thing’s first: explain what electricity is

Now we’re not suggesting you give your 4-year-old a full-blown lesson on the nitty gritty. But help them to understand the difference between things that are:

  1. Powered on and working;
  2. Switched off or unplugged; and
  3. Not reliant on power at all.

Explain that electricity makes some things work and show them the differences. This initial awareness is a great first step.

Want to gamify it? Try playing eye spy in your house by pinpointing different household items that do and don't use energy.

play a game of ‘would you rather’ or ‘which uses less power’

Once the kids understand which items in the house require power or charging prior to use, you can start to introduce the idea of finding which uses less power (or no power at all).

Present the kids with two options and have them choose the option that saves electricity. For example:

  • An electric shaver like Dad uses vs. a manual one
  • A broom vs. vacuum
  • Dryer vs. hanging out the washing
  • Toys that need charging or plugging in vs. those that don’t

have a household energy-saving challenge

Challenge the kids to some healthy competition by having a household energy-saving challenge. Create a chart you can put on the fridge where everyone can add in the things they did to either save power (i.e. less time playing on the computer or shorter showers), or where they made a swap to something that doesn’t need power at all (like playing outside or reading a book).

Encourage them to try and make positive changes, rewarding them with stickers for their chart, a fun family activity, or perhaps even some pocket money to highlight how they can save money by making little changes day to day.

think outside the box

Steer clear from the TV and indulge in some good old-fashioned fun. Think arts and crafts, sport, or visits to the local playground for starters. Creativity is an important part of childhood, so make room for some inventive fun that isn’t led by whatever’s on the screen from time to time. It’ll be sure to save you some cash money in the long run too.

get reacquainted with nature

Our last idea takes things to the next level, but family bonding and a whole new appreciation for a powered house are sure to take place in the process! Soak up a solid dose of Mother Nature by going on a camping trip and avoiding the powered sites. Taking this old-school approach may require some extra planning on your side but it’s bound to create lasting memories.

Travel not an option? No worries! Backyard campouts and hangouts can work just as well, and are a bunch of fun too.

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