For adults concerned about environmental issues, particularly the growing water crisis, it can be hard to know where to start to educate and involve the children in their lives, those who will ultimately be facing the consequences of what we do or don’t do now. How do you frame serious, complicated issues in a way that makes them appropriate for and accessible to kids?
One answer is National Geographic’s Geography Awareness Week, devoted this year to the the issue of freshwater, which has just finished (Nov. 14 to 20). A source of child and family friendly educational materials, according to their web site, the “Geography Awareness Week is an annual opportunity for families and schools to engage in fun, educational experiences that draw attention to Geo-Literacy and the importance of geographic understanding in ensuring our nation’s economic competitiveness, national security, environmental sustainability, and the livability of our communities in the 21st century.”
This is some serious fun.
As part of the My Wonderful World campaign, which aims to address children’s lack of knowledge of world geography and culture, Geography Awareness Week brings together an impressive amount of online resources that are engaging for young people, and easy to use.
The Learn About Freshwater section includes such resources as Mission:Explore Freshwater, a clever activity plan that this adult is tempted to follow herself,
The Read About Freshwater section contains links to a K – 12 reading list, discount book offers and contests.
Interact With Freshwater offers multimedia experiences and games (that are harder than they look!).
Protect Freshwater helps answer the question we all have, kids included – what can I do about it? It provides links to specific options and actions that adults and kids can take to be part of the solution.
Host a Freshwater Event is mostly for adults, with resources to make a children’s event a barrel of (educational) laughs.
So go ahead. Take advantage of these resources to lighten up and play with a serious issue. We all learn better with a smile on our faces.