Our kids will be the next influential forces in our increasingly changing world. From global movements to local policy, we need our young minds to be informed and prepared to take on the fight to protect our planet! Use our list of amazing climate change activities to have your kiddies explore the different factors at play that are affecting the weather and creating pollution! It’s sure to get them motivated to make a difference! What are you waiting for? The Earth needs help now!
1. Weather vs. Climate
One of the first distinctions we need to explain to our students is the difference between weather and climate. It’s important for them to know short-term versus long-term changes and what affects each of these. Watch this video as a class then open up the floor for a discussion.
2. Reusable Bottles Garden
This fantastic two-in-one activity uses recycled plastic bottles! Use your old bottles to plant flowers, herbs, and other organic materials to keep the bottles out of a landfill and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere! Ask your kiddos to bring a few bottles into class from home, cut out some holes, and plant!
Learn More: The Better India
3. Class Outside
Take your learners outside to observe the environment around them! Give them a list of prompts to encourage them to really take in and appreciate their surroundings. It could be having them count the trees they can see, rate how fresh the air is, or have them collect some trash! At the end, you can discuss and explain the reasons behind the tasks.
Learn More: Future Learn
4. Climate Kids by NASA
Here’s a super resource straight from NASA! From greenhouse gases to water and energy consumption, this kid-friendly and interactive website has tons of great games and educational resources! They’ll learn all about the process of climate change, energy science, and the different NASA missions that are studying climate and weather!
Learn More: NASA
5. Measuring Sea-Level Rise
Time to give your students a visual of the effects of climate change on glaciers and sea levels! Have your kids place some clay or play dough on one side of a clear container to symbolize the land. Then get them to put ice cubes on top, and fill the other side of the container with water that doesn’t reach the ice. Mark the waterline and see how it rises as the ice cubes melt!
Learn More: PBS Kids
6. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Experiment
It’s hard to care about something you can’t see! Make a CO2 visual with this cool classroom activity by mixing vinegar and baking soda in a bottle, then watch as it blows up a balloon that’s over the top of the bottle! This is a fantastic way to introduce the harmful effects of too much carbon dioxide. Your kids will be shocked at how much this one tiny experiment produces!
Learn More: EDventures With Kids
7. Classroom Presentation
There are many actions we could all be taking to lessen our carbon footprint. You can either give your students a list or work together to come up with some things that they can do outside of the classroom to look after our planet! Next, ask them to prepare a short presentation talking about their experiences to feedback to the rest of the class!
Learn More: American Museum Of Natural History
8. Nature Conservancy Virtual Field Trip
Give your kiddies a glimpse into the future! There are a few different options for virtual field trips that can show them what they may lose if the climate crisis continues. This conservation website gives virtual tours of a variety of natural environments that are in danger due to climate hazards. This is a super powerful activity that will really open everyone’s eyes!
Learn More: Nature
9. Pen Pals With Climate Refugees
Did you know that in 2022, around 36.2 million people were forced to move from their homes following climate change-induced natural disasters? You can make this issue real for your students by setting up a pen pal for them to send letters to. This is a super way to have them practice their writing skills while also gaining a better understanding of this vital issue!
Learn More: UNICEF
10. Climate Time Machine
Time travel is possible…sort of! Using NASA’s earth-observing satellites, we can actually take a look back in time and see how some of our most influential climate indicators have changed over the years! Your kids can observe the progression in sea-level rise, carbon dioxide emissions, and global temperature fluctuations with this interactive 3D visualization.
Learn More: Climate NASA
11. Climate Change Board Games
When in doubt, gamify it! For your next climate change lesson, print out one of these fun and educational board games to play with your class and test their knowledge of key facts! While you play, encourage them to take part in some free-flowing discussions about various issues and possible solutions.
Learn More: Purple Pawn
12. Edible Greenhouse Gases
Grab your kids’ favorite gummy candies and make some greenhouse gas molecules! Break up your class into groups of 3-4 students and assign each group a molecule to make. Using toothpicks and colorful sweets your kids will piece together the five different atoms, each needing their own color of candy. Who knew science could be so sweet?!
Learn More: Science Sparks
13. Earth Toast Experiment
No, this bread hasn’t gone off! It’s actually a fun and visual experiment that shows what happens when the Earth’s temperature rises just a little bit; you get burnt toast! Help your kids paint their bread with milk and food coloring, then put it in the toaster to imitate global warming. Fun and tasty!
Learn More: Left Brain Craft Brain
14. Learn About Methane
Your kids will be simply thrilled when you announce that you’ll be learning about cow farts! But this funny topic does have serious implications for the environment! Help your kiddies understand the harm that meat consumption is causing the planet by explaining how methane is produced and what it does to the atmosphere.
Learn More: Science Sparks
15. Cloud Coloring
Clouds are a vitally important part of the Earth’s atmosphere and they are affected by climate change as well! Weather patterns, the water cycle, trapping, and reflecting heat are just some of the roles clouds play in our ecosystem. Teach your kids the differences between the types of clouds with this fun watercolor and crayon cloud craft!
Learn More: Primary Theme Park
16. Climate Adaptation and Wind Patterns
One of the big consequences of climate change is a shift in atmospheric wind conditions. Have your kiddies harness the power of wind by using it to create some artwork; they’ll drop some watercolors onto a page then use a straw to blow it around! This is a fun, hands-on painting activity using “wind” that you can use to make this technical topic a little more exciting.
Learn More: Pocket of Preschool
17. Chemistry of Greenhouse Gases Experiment
Demonstrate the greenhouse effect right in your own classroom! Guide your kids to set up using vinegar, baking soda, some glass jars, and a heat source. They’ll be investigating what happens to the temperature of each jar when greenhouse gasses are produced but can’t escape. At the end of the experiment, have them reflect on what this means for our planet!
18. Get Involved
Encourage your older kids to take action in their own community! There are many activist groups, forums, and local events happening all the time they can participate in to have their voices heard. They could even organize a school event to encourage recycling or go on a trash walk to tidy up the area.
Learn More: Fridays For Future
19. Trash or Recycling Sorting Game
This is a fun activity for your class that also is great for the environment! Print out pictures of different trash items and have your students help you sort them into different bins. You can then explain why some items can be recycled and others cannot.
Learn More: Twinkl
20. Kid-Friendly Climate Articles
Knowledge is power! This fantastic learning resource has a whole bunch of articles about climate change written at an elementary level. As a simple lesson idea, you can ask your class to find an article covering a topic like green energy or climate change news, and then share a summary with their classmates. Simple and low-prep!
Learn More: Kids Earth
21. Pick up Trash
After learning about pollution’s effect on climate change, why not venture outside with your students to pick up trash around your school? It’s an excellent way for them to see all of the ways that small actions can create real change in their world, and it makes your school more beautiful!
Learn More: The Rocket Resource
22. Make a Solar Oven
Let your kiddos harness the power of the sun! By making a solar oven from a few simple objects, children will learn just how strong the sun’s rays are, all while they make a tasty snack! It’s also a hands-on activity for learning about engineering, a crucial career in the development of renewable energy sources.
Learn More: Energy
23. Play Recycle City
Kids love any chance to play a game online! To practice their newfound understanding of recycling, have your pupils play Recycle City, an online game from the EPA. Your players will visit different places in a pretend town, playing fun games and answering quiz questions to explore climate change issues.
Learn More: EPA
24. Make a Terrarium
Making a terrarium from a glass jar is a great learning tool to illustrate how the Earth’s atmosphere affects temperatures and the plants below. Have your kiddies place some plants, earth, and stones in a glass jar, and periodically measure the temperature readings in and out of the jar. Encourage them to consider why one might be warmer than the other.
Learn More: PBS Kids
25. Build a Windmill
In this creative activity, challenge your children to explore alternative sources of green energy and build their own windmills! Using some simple materials like LEGO, a milk carton, a cork, and craft paper, they’ll develop more of an awareness of renewable energy! You’ll be inspiring the next generation of climate scientists!
Learn More: Steam Powered Family
26. Climate Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun, and totally adaptable activities for kids of any age. You can hide different facts around the room and challenge your kids to find the information they need to answer questions about climate science! This is also a great way to get them moving and burn off some energy on rainy days!
Learn More: Ed Galaxy
27. Make a Solar Bulb
Did you know that you can make a solar lightbulb from just a plastic bottle, bleach, and water? Mix a couple of capfuls of bleach with the water, and let it absorb sunlight during the day. By nighttime, you’ll have a glowing bulb – no electricity required!
Learn More: Playground Professionals
28. Start a Classroom Compost Bin
Once your kiddos have grasped the core concepts of climate change issues, they can explore climate activism in their own classroom with a compost bin! They’ll get to see the carbon cycle up close by adding lunch trash to the compost bin and watching it break down over time. You could then even use the compost to grow some plants!
Learn More: Re-Volv
29. Start a School Garden
Starting a classroom garden is another great way to grow your students’ appreciation for our amazing planet! Using compost from your class compost bin, they can plant seeds, grow their own food, and compost the food waste again to learn about more sustainable ways of using our natural resources.
Learn More: USDA
30. Renewable Energy Debates
Holding a debate is a brilliant way for your kids to explore the key arguments of any topic. Challenge your class to research alternatives to fossil fuels and host a debate to decide which one your class thinks is the best option. As they get to grips with the facts, they’ll also need to learn how to share their thoughts in an organized and respectful way.
Learn More: Ducksters