It's been pretty cold up here in Central MN. After a string of bitterly cold weeks with temps only reaching above zero a few times, it's finally taken it's toll on the city's infrastructure. Last week, Brainerd Public Utilities asked it's users to run a faucet of cold water at all times to prevent the main water line from freezing up. This isn't unprecedented, apparently, but it's the first time I've seen it in my life.
So, I've been running a "pencil width size" stream of water in our laundry room bathroom. (BPU say they'd adjust the cost of the water use in my bill). After a few hours, I went to check on the sink and found the water not running. I thought to myself, "Running the water isn't doing anything!" But, I found that it had simply been shut off. I resumed the stream and left a note telling my family why the water was running.
Again, after several hours, I went to go check on the faucet and yet again, it had been shut off. I started to look for the little gremlins that turned it off and eventually found one. My teenage daughter told me she had done it, that it was wasting water. I asked if she had read the note by the sink. She had, but then told me that she dove into the internet to find more information. After looking into it, she believes that our family uses enough water on our end to keep up with any freezing in the main line. Since we have a large family (nine people under one roof, I'll have you know) she may have a good point.
The little rambling anecdote helps best to illustrate what I think is happening to our youth; kids are beginning to understand the resources on Earth are not limitless. Maybe all we need is a little time (or a few generations) to understand that we are just caretakers of our environment and that unless we start to put a larger effort into environmental education, we are (in the great words of George Carlin) *going to be in a lot of trouble*. (His language is above the G rating of this blog.)
So, in that vein I've looked at a few different sites and found some fun, educational water games that your children can play.
1) The Water Family
In this cute flash animated game, you can place your family in a pretend cartoon home. You can learn about how much water any given activity in your day will use. With this in mind, it gives you different tips on how to improve your water consumption. Activities range from washing the dishes to bathing. There's a ton of little easter eggs that your kids will probably dig into this one.
2) Test Your WaterSense
Test Your WaterSense is a fun Pac-Man clone that asks you to make your way around the pipes without running into the "Water Wasters." The goal is to get the highest score and the quickest way to do that is to answer water related questions. Your kids will love it.
3) Mission H2O
This game is a fun little thing that highlights all the different ways that water is being wasted. There are eight mini-games that you can play that have instructional videos which are pretty funny. You're older kids will enjoy this game. They can even win prizes. Try it out.