10 Climate Change Activities for Kindergarten

10 Climate Change Activities for Kindergarten

It may seem overwhelming to integrate climate change into Kindergarten lesson plans, as most teachers worry that the topic would be too complex and challenging for younger kids to understand. However, it really is never too early to teach kids about climate change. There are many ways to simplify climate change-related concepts while also making it fun and interesting for Kindergarten students. Building a strong foundation about climate change in Kindergarten ensures that children are well-aware of the impact they can have on the planet, no matter their age. These 10 climate change activities for Kindergarten are sure to foster a love for Planet Earth at an early age.

Read Aloud & E-Books

Reading aloud is an essential activity in Kindergarten because it both stimulates language learning and promotes curiosity, motivation and socio-emotional learning. Read alouds and ebooks offer the perfect opportunity to introduce climate change to Kindergarteners because the stories can be used to build critical thinking skills and to help students learn how to use language to make sense of the world. Kindergarten teachers can use read aloud during ELA classes to model fluency and expression in reading. Read alouds can also be used to generate discussions about climate change. Kindergarten teachers may use the following resources to improve students’ information processing skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.

"Bearly Over the Mountain"

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Type: Video, Digital Text

In this picture book, students will learn about the benefits and drawbacks of different energy sources and the need for multiple solutions and collaboration to fight climate change. 

This story will provide motivation and tools for students to fight climate change by helping them feel more connected to the issue. It can also be used by Kindergarten teachers to encourage discussion in solving other energy problems. This picture book is about trains, making it interesting for Kindergartners and ideal to integrate into a transportation unit. Students could also make a chart to show the pros and cons of using each of the four trains; this activity may be completed as a class, in small groups, or individually.

Bee and Me

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, English Language Arts, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type: Video

This book is a tale of friendship that highlights the important role of bees and explores how we can protect them.

In this book, Kindergarten students can learn what bees need, what they do, why they are so important, and what friendship means. Teachers could also ask their students how they think the bee feels in some of the pictures. Kindergarten students learn empathy as they consider how the girl feels in the story. Consider completing a KWL (Know-Want to Know-Learned) as a whole class on an anchor chart or SMART Board. This will help students think about what they know about bees and  what they want to know about bees prior to engaging with the story. At the end of the story, complete the last section to find out “what we learned about bees.” This provides opportunity for Kindergarten students to not only assess their prior knowledge before reading a story, but to also reflect on what they have learned after.

"Kids Can Change the World"

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Geography, Justice

Resource Type: Digital Text

Students will learn that climate action is a complex topic and that some climate solutions create new climate problems.

In this book from Climate Science, Kindergarten students will learn that people in countries with fewer resources suffer disproportionately from climate change, even though their countries emit less carbon than wealthier countries. This is a perfect book to discuss climate change because Kindergarten students could draw pictures and write about specific ways that they can help the Earth. Ideas from the book include eating less meat, recycling, buying fewer things, planting trees, collecting rainwater for crops, using sustainable farming practices, and sharing their knowledge with others.

"Semih's Search for a Healthy Home"

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography, Health

Resource Type: Digital Text

This book shows the realities of climate-induced migration and demonstrates how people can work together to solve problems.

Kindergarten teachers could use the chart on page 13 for a lesson on socio-emotional health by discussing how mental health, relationships, and education keep people healthy. This is an engaging climate change activity for Kindergarten students because they could write a sentence or draw a picture of someone who helps them stay mentally and emotionally healthy (e.g., a teacher, counselor, trusted friend, religious leader, or mentor). This book also highlights the impact of climate change on human health and how it affects certain groups of people disproportionately. 

Introduction to Climate Change

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Video

This animated video from Earth Warriors in association with National Geographic Society explains the cause and effects of climate change in simple terms. It also teaches Kindergarten students manageable tasks they can complete to help fight climate change. It provides a simple introduction to climate change without making it too complex for young students. 

This is a perfect climate change activity for Kindergarteners because it makes it easy for young students to understand climate change. Text also appears at the bottom of the screen, giving the video a picture book quality that is appropriate for young learners. Kindergarten students could draw a picture or write a simple sentence to explain how burning coal and oil causes the gasses around the earth to trap too much heat. Kindergarten teachers can also pause and ask students to talk to their partner to share insights while reading. Young students may practice paired reading to provide more interaction between students with similar or different reading levels.

Climate vs. Weather

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Lesson Plan, Worksheet

Identifying the difference between weather and climate has always been challenging for students of all grade levels. This climate climate change activity from Climate Science for Kindergarten is a perfect introduction to both concepts. This resource provides students with background information about weather and climate. By sorting various examples of climate and weather into their respective categories, children learn the difference between the two.

This is an awesome climate change activity for Kindergarten teachers because it is easy to prepare and the teacher's handout contains answers to the question in the activity worksheet. This resource can also clear up any confusion between weather and climate. At the end of the activity, teachers can also use the resource to talk with the students about the speed at which the climate is changing and the effects that climate change could have on the weather. The resource comes with pictures and short sentences so that Kindergarten students are actually able to sort between weather and climate with guided support. Kindergarten teachers can also use the recommended video explaining why people confuse the weather with the climate. The suggested picture book also provides engaging illustrations for a read-aloud activity with your students.

Bird Watching Activity

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology

Resource Type: Activity

This fun, educational activity from the National Wildlife Federation outlines how to identify birds around homes in North America. The activity is easy to follow and the resource caters to the interests of children and teenagers alike, so it is a suitable homework task for all ages. Since the activity is open-ended, it is simple to differentiate for all age groups, depending on their level. 

This is a perfect climate change activity for Kindergarten because there is an option to include picture books that children will love. The activity is sure to encourage a lot of creativity in the classroom, as students create a diorama habitat of the birds they spotted. Kindergarten teachers can also use this opportunity to help students use simple describing words in terms of bird color, size, and unique features. Kindergarten teachers can use this activity when discussing the importance of trees in the environment, and they can link it to appreciation for bird habitats. There is also the option for Kindergarten students to practice cause and effect to infer what would happen to birds when their habitats are disrupted.

Growing a Pollinator Garden

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Climate Action

Resource Type: Activity, Worksheet

This engaging activity from the National Wildlife Foundation guides students through the process of growing a pollinator garden. The guide thoroughly explains how to set up a pollinator garden, monitor it, and collect data on its success. Students will benefit from having an understanding of the importance of pollinators. 

This engaging, easy-to-follow activity is suitable to be used as a classroom activity or an at-home project. The activity incorporates opportunities to embed science, civics, and mathematics over the course of the school year. This is an awesome climate change activity for Kindergarten because it is a hands-on activity in which students can practice observation skills as they monitor the plant growth. It also illustrates real-life applications, since students can easily start their own mini garden at home. Kindergarten teachers could use this activity alongside the picture books Bee and MeOld Enough to Save the Planet, and How Does Your Garden Grow? Kindergarten teachers can also use the activity to help students make an album filled with different pictures of flowers and pollinators.

Create a Naturepiece!

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Art

Resource Type: Activity

This is a fantastic climate change activity from PBS Kids that engages young students through tactile creativity. Students will interact with nature by gathering natural materials from their surrounding environment and use them to create works of art. 

Teachers can easily access the PDF document which outlines the materials needed, examples of nature materials, nature art ideas and tips for success. The visual images provided give teachers a step-by-step guide on how to present the activity to your students. Kindergarten students can practice using fine and gross motor skills as they collect multiple materials for their “naturepiece.” Students may share their found natural materials with the class and showcase them in a Nature Show and Tell (see a detailed explanation of this resource below). Another similar resource teachers can explore with their students is this crafting activity to make your own reusable bag.

Teachers can ask students to think about the following questions:

  • Why do we find some items (e.g., flowers, green leaves) only during certain times of the year?
  • Why do we find other items (e.g., rocks, sand, dirt) all year long?
  • Do you think someone who lives in a very cold climate will be able to find palm trees or tropical flowers growing in their community? Why?
  • Can you think about a plant that mostly grows in a dry/cold/hot/wet climate?

Our Climate Our Future Coloring Activity

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects: Science, Art

Resource Type: Activity, Worksheet

This simple coloring activity includes four different scenes from ACE’s Our Climate Our Future video series. The scenes include the molecular composition of some greenhouse gasses, students demonstrating with signs, an urban garden, and kids riding bikes with solar and wind energy in the background.

This is a perfect climate change activity for Kindergarten because it provides students the opportunity to be creative and active while learning about climate solutions. Kindergarten students will love this activity because they can practice hand grip, coloring within the lines, and mixing colors. Kindergarten teachers can use this as an extension activity for early finishers. The images could also be incorporated into a quiz or other activity, or they may be used for an artistic activity. Kindergarten teachers can also use it along with an introduction video about the climate crisis, taking action, or climate solutions.

At-Home Upcycle Projects from Climate Superstars

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Art

Resource Type: Project

This resource provides instructions for six upcycling projects on how to turn discarded items into something reusable. Each project includes step-by-step instructions with pictures. This is a perfect climate change activity for Kindergarten because kids love crafts and activities, and upcycling projects can be a great way to teach them about wasting less, recycling, and reuse in general. They are also cheaper than a trip to the craft store! 

These six projects are easy to do with Kindergarten students, requiring only a few supplies to create. Making bird feeders or shirt coasters would also be an excellent introduction to the concept of upcycling. After creating a project together, Kindergarten students could find something in their home or school that is often thrown away and find a way to upcycle it as a project. Kindergarten teachers could hold an "Upcycled Fair" to show student creations and provide directions on making their object. 

Nature Show and Tell

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Subjects: Science, English Language Arts

Resource Type: Lesson Plan, Activity

In this resource, Kindergarten students find a natural object (stick, flower, rock, etc.) and write a short speech to share with classmates. This activity promotes positive connections to nature for Kindergarten students and includes a short teacher guide with tips. This is an excellent Kindergarten activity because it could be assigned as independent homework or it could be a group activity during a class walk outside. 

The activity is straightforward with simple instructions, and it can be modified to be used in virtual classrooms as well. Kindergarten students can find a personal, positive connection to nature while practicing writing and public speaking skills. This builds excitement for Kindergarten students, as they will relish sharing about the most unique things they can find around them. Kindergarten students could be offered options for presenting about their nature object, such as giving a speech, doing a simple acrostic, or even making a video. Kindergarten teachers can also come up with different nature themes every week to explore a variety of objects that students can find in their natural surroundings.

Snack-Sized Science: Plant Your Paper!

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Art

Resource Type: Video, Activity

In this 30-minute recorded Zoom video from EarthEcho Academy, Kindergarten students will learn how to make plantable seed paper out of used shredded paper. They will also learn about the history of Earth Day and why recycling is important for the environment. This is a great hands-on activity that can be utilized for Earth Day, or any day! 

Kindergarten teachers can modify the activity to use in the classroom or in a virtual learning setting. Kindergarten students could work on this activity in small groups or pairs. The seed paper can also be used in a writing activity to practice tracing shapes, numbers and letters for Kindergarten students.

So much of the Kindergarten curriculum naturally links to the environment already, and this offers plenty of opportunities to talk about climate change. Climate change is something that will continue to impact the lives of today’s and tomorrow’s children. As much as we want to “protect” kids from climate change and its effects, a better alternative is to educate them about climate change and what they can do about it as early as possible. These climate change activities for Kindergarten are not meant to scare young children, but they aim to empower them to be better prepared for the future. 

About the Author

Krista Nido currently lives in South Burlington, Vermont. She has over 6 years of teaching, mostly elementary and middle school students. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Higher Education. She loves writing as much as teaching. She likes to cook in her free time and is passionate about food waste and its impact on climate change. 

All resources can be used for your educational purposes with proper attribution to the content provider.