Teaching children to conserve water inside and outside the home begins with simple household tasks and involving them in your daily routine. Below are some ideas of how to demonstrate the importance and practicalities of conserving water in an effort to save money and the environment at the same time.

Start With Water Use at Home

Start by teaching kids how to save water inside and outside your home. While over 13 million households in the U.S. use wells for drinking water, others use the public water system. No matter which system you use, make sure to talk to your children about where their water comes from. Strive to get them excited about water conservation by planning a program of learning by doing. Show them how to turn off faucets in the bathroom and kitchen. Buy them a reusable water bottle that they can carry with them so that they are conserving water and not using too many disposable cups. Read to them about the importance of water and its uses. Plan a trip to a lake or river as a reward for conserving water at home. Reward them when they conserve water and encourage them to come up with their own ideas.

Learn to Save Water in the Kitchen, Laundry Room, and Bathroom

Encourage kids to take shorter showers or baths, and fill the tub halfway instead of completely full. When they are washing their hair, teach them to turn off the water until they plan to rinse. In both the bathroom and the kitchen, demonstrate how to close all faucets tightly; never leave them dripping. You can also encourage kids to load the dishwasher completely before running it. And when you’re out in the yard, show them how to use leftover water from their baths or showers to water plants in the garden. In the laundry room, only wash clothes when you have a full load and show your kids where to put their dirty clothes.

Save Rain Water and Grow a Garden or Indoor Plants

Did you know that 1 million gallons of water will fill one-and-a-half Olympic-sized pools? Water is scarce in certain parts of the country, but it’s also essential for life. Gardening can be a fun way to spend time with your kids while teaching them some truly valuable lessons. Buy a rain barrel to put outside to catch rainwater. Rain barrels range in price and collect rainwater from a downspout from the roof. It can be left in a garden to collect water naturally. You can teach your children to use the rainwater to water flowers, potted plants, trees, and shrubs in the yard. The water can also be used to wash the car! Of course, rain water should never be used for drinking because it can collect bacteria from the roof. A rain barrel spigot attaches to a garden hose, or you can fill a watering can for smaller watering jobs.

Plant a small garden of flowers, herbs, or vegetable plants and ask your children to water them weekly. They will learn that water helps plants to grow and stay healthy. Use a watering can instead of a hose to conserve water. Buy some potted plants to care for on the deck or patio as an alternative. This is less time-consuming. You can even include cactus and succulents to show how some plants survive without water and still thrive. Caring for plants will teach children about the role water has in their growth. Go to a garden center and look for drought-resistant plants to put in the garden or care for in pots.

Water potted plants in the afternoon and garden plants in the morning using a watering can. Plant a small rain garden by digging it yourself, selecting plants, and caring for it. Rain gardens help with flooding and drainage and enhance the beauty of your property. Information on how to design and plant a rain garden can be found at local community college and university horticultural divisions. Save water from cooking to use outside to water the lawn and plants.

Way Kids Can Conserve Water When Cooking

Find ways to let children learn about water efficiency and conservation by letting them help you with cooking. Show them how to defrost food in the refrigerator or using the microwave instead of using running water. Show them how to steam vegetables on the stove or in a steamer. It uses less water and is healthier. When making pasta, save the leftover water for outdoor plants. Soak fruits and vegetables in a bowl or containers to removed dirt instead of running water. Use a slow cooker a few times a week to save water for cleaning and cooking. Finally, always scrape dishes instead of rinsing before loading the dishwasher.

Did you know that 21 million households use septic systems to capture waste from the toilet instead of septic systems? Your water and plumbing systems may be different from your neighbors’ and friends’, so take the opportunity to teach your kids all about where their water comes from and how they can conserve it. Overall there are many ways to teach children about water conservation. Start at home by teaching simple tasks that reduce water consumption in your home.