From school to extracurriculars, your kids are constantly being shuttled around. But how aware are they of the environmental impact of that transportation? Cars release an average of 9,737 pounds of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Public transportation like the school bus can reduce those greenhouse gas emissions by 37 million metric tons annually, but other options, like walking and biking, are even better for the environment. They’re also great exercise.
Sustainable transportation, however, is a big idea to grasp—
What Is Sustainable Transportation?
Go for a Ride
Kids often learn best from hands-on experiences, so if you really want to teach them about sustainable transportation, there’s no better way than to actually put it into action. Make a point to go from one place to another—a trip to the park or a grocery run, for instance. Ask your kids to come up with ideas for
After you’ve arrived, help your kids become more mindful of their choice transportation by playing a game. Let them shout out differences between this form of transportation and your car, and talk about what makes those differences more eco-friendly. For example, a bus can transport more people than a car, which is more sustainable because it uses less gas than several small cars carrying the same amount of passengers. Create a simple equation to calculate how much gas would have been used
Take a Challenge
Once your kids are “on board” with some alternative modes of transport, you can apply the lesson to a fun challenge that teaches them a bit more about how much sustainable transportation actually makes a difference. Create a chart (hint: kids love whiteboards) that demonstrates just how
Challenge your family to use alternative methods of transportation, like walking or biking, for a week. Each time you use an alternative, mark down on the chart how much gas was saved. Come up with a goal number of gallons to save for the month, and see if you can meet or surpass that amount. Consider using the amount of money you would’ve spent on that fuel to buy a family reward.
The most important part of these lessons is getting your kids to become more mindful of their environmental impact. You don’t need a complete lifestyle change to make sustainable transportation more effective. Getting your family to think about alternative ways to get around—and using those methods even just once a week—makes all the difference.
Image source: Sher Warkentin
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Sustainable transportation doesn't have to be a difficult concept to explain to kids. In fact, it's easy to teach with some hands-on activities that make small but manageable changes to the way your family gets around.