OK. Sometimes I just want to feel like a kid again. Is that so wrong?
I occasionally indulge the child in me: eat a grilled cheese sandwich and tater tots, race down the street at breakneck speed on my bike for no apparent reason, and call my mom for some sympathy when I get a cold. Another thing that takes me back to my childhood is playing video games.
Something I discovered recently as I was browsing the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Web site is this great resource for kids called Kids Saving Energy. The first thing I did when I got on the site was play a video game called Energy Elf. I felt like I was a kid again, playing games on my dad's computer (which came with a cutting-edge green monitor) in the '80s.
In Energy Elf, you go around the house identifying and learning facts about many of the things you can do to save energy at home. The idea is that you have a short period of time to find all of the energy-saving items before the giant energy elf—who occasionally peeks a giant eye into one of the windows—sucks all of the energy out of the house with its striped snout. The Kids Saving Energy site has a bunch of cool and educational games for your kids to learn more about smart energy use.
There are lots of great resources available through our sites for parents and teachers to get their young learners engaged in discovering where energy comes from and how they can make a difference by using it efficiently. The Energy Information Administration has a great website for kids called Energy Kids that has excellent tutorials on energy basics, units of energy, and energy calculators to teach kids about energy conversions. It also has a section on the history of energy that provides a chronology of the breakthroughs and events that spurred the development of various energy sources and examines some of the historical figures who have led the way in the field of physics. It also has riddles, games, quizzes and ideas for science fair experiments that can inspire a new generation of Newtons.
EERE also features an energy education and workforce development site that allows you to search a library of resources for teachers. For older students preparing to leap from school to a career in the clean energy sector, there's a list of opportunities, including clean-energy internships, to kick start their thinking. There are also a number of links to student competitions that can help students, parents and teachers beam aboard the energy-savings and renewable energy mother ship.
Finally, our video resources are great fodder for getting kids up to speed on energy issues. Our educational solar and wind "Energy 101" videos are a great place to start, as is this video on a program that teaches children to work toward careers in the wind energy industry.
I hope some of these useful Web sites help your kids—and the kid in you—get excited once again about our roles in an energy conscious world.
Eric Barendsen is a communications specialist and Presidential Management Fellow with EERE's Technology Advancement and Outreach office in Washington, D.C.