More than a third of parents would love to teach their kids about climate change but feel they lack the right tools or ideas, claims Be The Future, an organisation that empowers families and educators to rewrite our climate story.
But despite the gloom and doom, the survey of 2,000 families across the UK indicated that 25 per cent feel more positive about the future of the planet than they did five years ago. Two in five (42 per cent) said they’re ‘climate optimists’ who believe we all have the potential to create a better future.
Be The Future, whose co-founders are based in the UK and Australia, is launching the Great Big Green Play as part of Great Big Green Week (June 10 to 18) focusing on climate change through play, along with a series of ‘edutainment’ kits about climate change including a new book, game and activity pack for four-to-seven year olds.
Here are Be The Future's top eight tips to engage kids in climate change awareness:
- Be sneaky. Try not to go in with ‘right, we're going to learn about climate change today!’ Introduce a game and let the topic sneak in. Suggest a digital and TV-free night to play games as a family and show the positive impact of avoiding digital products.
- Be consistent. The best way to get messages across is through repetition and habit. If a game is fun everyone wants to play it again and again.
- Be a role model. Show the eco changes you’re making as a parent and turn them into a game or challenge. For example, if you've been trying to reduce plastic waste, talk about the changes as you make them and how the environment is benefitting. Set the kids a treasure hunt around the house to identify where else change could be made.
- Use stories. Storytelling is one of our most powerful change-inducing tools. Make your games character-driven and story based. Use books to start the conversation and build from there.
- Find positive inspirations. A large part of the climate conversation is doom and gloom. Instead, look at positive news stories. One idea is to create your own board game together with positive news cards to give you a boost along your journey to the end – achieving Net Zero.
- Start with active hope. Always link back to the possible future you/they want to create. It’s a powerful reminder of why we do what we do.
- Watch your language. Use positive, motivational words and stories – try to stay away from gloomy messages. Use ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ to help mitigate the feeling that it is on them to do everything.
- Find your purpose. Identify your purpose first and tailor the play to that. Which topic resonates most with you: conservation of species, plastic in the oceans, weather events, social justice? Concentrating on one area makes change feel more achievable.