Water conservation is an increasingly important topic as our current water resources are being stretched thinner than ever before because of rising populations and environmental changes. It is important to introduce water conservation to kids at a young age so that they can be life-long water conscious citizens with good habits honed from early on. Water conservation can be engaging for kids when it is introduced in the context of a fun challenge, interesting journey, or exciting visit to a new place.

Broaden water wisdom

Presenting children with an exciting challenge can get them thinking about water conservation from a fresh angle that can build strong water saving habits that will serve them and their community for their entire life. A competitive challenge among peers can help build collective habits that can spread collaboratively.

Check out the Use It Wisely campaign website as well as their Kids page to find a multitude of tips as well as fun games and challenges to take part into tune kids’ and adults’ understanding of water usage and conservation.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Watersense - kids page is fun for young people to explore and contains helpful tips as well as a game that challenges the player’s water-wisdom. For even more options, check out the ‘Use It Wisely’ Pinterest Kids Conservation Activities page for more ideas from a wider community or to share your own ideas with the world!

Become a water detective

In addition to following the tips and tricks suggested in the links above, kids can be empowered by their knowledge to become water detectives in their home, school, and community. Water meters are our most accurate window into actual water usage, so showing kids how water meters work and can be read will go a long way toward broad understanding and actionable detective work. Parents and educators can set up a time to demonstrate how to read a water meter and demonstrate how usage is tracked.  

Take a water conservation education field trip

Taking a trip can help tie together broad understandings of water issues and relate those understanding to the rest of a child’s world. For families with children, visiting the Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose can be an excellent day-trip. While the Water Ways exhibit is a wonderful way for kids to interactively discover water realities, it may be best to save this exhibit for the end of your visit as the kids can get wet. You may not want to tour the rest of the museum in soggy clothes!   For older children (10 and above) the Santa Clara Valley Water District provides public tours of its Purification Center where anyone can witness state-of-the-art water purification techniques in action. The Purification Center can be found at 4190 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA but be sure to sign up in advance for a slot on the tour at https://www.valleywater.org/accordion/silicon-valley-advanced-water-purification-center-tour

Larger groups or entire classrooms might also be interested in the appointment-only water education opportunities in the area.

  • The Alamitos Groundwater Recharging Facility offers insight into the natural processes that create clean fresh water. Learn how human intervention can harness these natural processes to create a steady supply of fresh water for thousands of people (5750 Almaden Expressway, San Jose).
  • Coyote Creek Outdoor Classroom (791 Williams Street, San Jose) and Morley Park Outdoor Classroom (615 Campbell Technology Parkway, Campbell) both offer great programming for larger groups focusing on the natural beauty, danger, and utility of natural waterways and systems.

No matter how you decide to engage the kids in your life about water issues, the important thing is the get the conversation started. The earlier kids begin conserving water, the stronger their habits will be over their entire lives. It will add up to a more sustainable world as well as a more tenable water future. To stay on top of the latest water conservation and education news, follow the San Jose Water Twitter account.