The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November 2021. This is the 26th meeting that will be attended by the countries that signed the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994.
In today’s blog we share some activities you can do with your child at home to teach them about climate change. These activities aim to inspire children to learn more about climate change and to help them to discover that we can all be proactive and make a difference.
What is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties?
The Paris Agreement is at the heart of discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference 2021. By signing the Paris Agreement nations pledged to reduce greenhouse gases, keep the global temperature increase well below 2C and to spend $100 billion to help poorer countries reduce emissions.
At the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow world leaders will meet to report back on their climate targets in relation to the Paris Agreement and to set new targets going forward.
Find out more by visiting the BBC Newsround website with your child and discussing the conference with them.
Climate change activities for children
Here are our favourite activities, crafts, games and storybooks to help children to find out more about climate change in a positive and fun way!
Arts and crafts
These five craft activities are suitable for children of all ages with different levels of support. We have chosen these because we think you might have most of the resources you need in your home already.
In this Earth toast experiment from Left Brain Craft Brain children find out how too much heat affects the Earth. You will need white bread, milk, a biscuit cutter, red and green food colouring, a pastry brush, sugar and butter.
Eco-friendly beads…and more
Make eco-friendly beads and create your own jewellery from old magazines by following this lively video from National Geographic Kids. You will find more videos here for other child-friendly projects including how to make your own re-useable sandwich wrap.
Make a flower collage from scraps of paper and old magazines. Instructions and pictures can be found on We Are Teachers website.
Help children to understand the chemistry of greenhouse gases by making edible models from Jelly Tots and cocktail sticks by following these instructions from Science Sparks.
Make your own lunchbox from an old pair of jeans. You will need an old pair of jeans; a hot glue gun; decorations like buttons, craft pom-poms and ribbons (whatever you have in the house); scissors and a ruler. Instructions are on the National Geographic website.
The Scouts have a wealth of fantastic environmental games you can play with two or more people. Most of these games can be played with resources you have at home.
On the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust website you will find quizzes, activities, crafts and fun stuff – including origami! The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands to animals and people, and the threats from pollution and climate change.
BBC’s Blue Peter has lots of environmental games and quizzes for children to choose from. We like ‘Spot the eco fails’ where children have to click on eco fails (such as a tap left running and a light left on) in a real family kitchen.
With Nasa’s Climate Kids interactive games children discover how temperature and pollution levels affect conditions under the sea. They can also travel in a time machine to find out how climate change has impacted the Earth over the last 100 years and how rising sea levels will affect coastal regions all over the world in the future.
The US Department of Commerce’s Recycle City game is an online quiz. Children answer multiple choice questions and win tokens. Questions include, ‘What’s the best way to travel?’ and ‘How can we reduce greenhouse gases in our community?’
Children’s stories about climate change
The Last Seaweed Pie is a wonderful picture book that transports children into the magical forest world of the Treeples and the underwater land of the Seaples. The Treeples like to make things, but unfortunately this means they throw a lot of waste into the sea which is destroying the Seaple’s underwater world.
The Seaple are forced out into the forest where the meet the Treeple who are very sad about what they’ve done, but they don’t know how to solve the problem. Then one bright little Treeple suggests that they continue to make things, but from now on they make them by reusing and repurposing the items they already have.
Greta and the Giants is the story of Greta Thunberg, fictionalized for very young readers. Greta lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When Giants first came to the forest, they chopped down trees to make houses. Then they chopped down more trees and made even bigger homes. The houses grew into towns and the towns grew into cities, until there was hardly any forest left.
Alone, Greta stands up for the animals and she doesn’t give up even when it feels as though nobody is listening. Eventually she is joined by one person who feels the same way, and soon a whole crowd stand beside her. The message is that with determination and courage everyone can make a difference.
For more children’s stories about climate change read Pan Macmillan’s blog post: The best children’s books about the environment. Fantastic books for older children are reviewed in The Guardian article, What are the best eco books for children and teens?
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