Young people are spending more and more time on devices. Children aged 8 to 12 spend an average of almost six hours a day online. Although this statistic seems quite high, it is important to consider what children are doing online.
There are many educational websites and online games that teach children about nature, the climate crisis, or recycling. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t very engaging, judging by my child’s responses. Others teach about the natural world, but don’t specifically teach young people how to live a greener life.
Let’s explore some of the best green websites for young people.
Super Sorter is an engaging game that takes kids to a material recovery facility to sort mixed recyclables. Plastic bottles, glass containers and cardboard boxes appear on a conveyor belt where they must be sorted by one of four different technologies. Each Sorter specializes in capturing different types of materials so players buy and place Sorters strategically to have the highest recovery rate.
After watching kids play this game, it really seems to teach the concept that specific infrastructure is needed to have high recovery rates for single-stream recycling. It is ideal for students at the end of primary school age and older.
PBS Nature Games
The PBS Kids website has a collection of nature games for elementary school kids with a variety of themes. Players learn about ecosystems, bird species, constellations, soil health, geography and more while playing. The object of games is sometimes to be a steward of nature or the environment, such as managing renewable energy production, feeding winter birds, and creating wildlife habitat.
Much of the information is offered as a narrative during play, which some children might overlook. At least the kids will be exposed to some vocabulary that might come in handy later. These games are ideal for elementary age children and often do not require the ability to read.
National Geographic Kids
The National Geographic Kids website has a variety of resources that teach children about different animal species, planets, and special places. Kids can pledge to reduce the use of disposable plastic, learn about amazing animals, or test their knowledge of a given topic with a quiz.
Rich graphics help keep this site interesting for kids, but aside from the videos, many activities require reading ability. This website is ideal for upper elementary and older students. Most elementary-aged children will need adult assistance, but will likely find the content interesting.
Ranger Rick is an interactive website that teaches kids about different animals, provides instructions on craft projects, and features jokes and games. Like National Geographic Kids, the website has excellent graphics and is well organized for younger users.
Although Ranger Rick teaches kids about the natural world, the website doesn’t necessarily teach kids much about more sustainable lifestyle choices and conservation. A year of full access costs $10. Since many activities require the ability to read, most elementary school children will need the help of an adult.
This article was originally published on August 15, 2019.