Go on a Scavenger Hunt Around the House to Teach Your Kids to Save

You’ll discover ways to save energy and money.

National Teach Your Children to Save Day is a day to teach your children about the role and importance of money and how best to use it. One important way to save money is by reducing your home’s electricity bill through awareness about the home’s energy usage.

We track calories, footsteps, budgets, and rewards points — yet it’s astonishing that we know so little about the energy we use in our homes. We’d never leave the house with a faucet running water, yet we live with electrical “faucets” left on every day.

Here are some questions you and your children can answer to find out whether your daily choices are helping save on home energy. Print out the scavenger hunt so your children can walk around the house and answer each question.

For more energy-saving actions, check out our recent article, 6 Ways to Cut Your Home’s Energy Costs Right Now, and to learn more about tracking your home’s activity every day, visit our home page at Sense.com.

Print this out!

1. Go around your house and look in all the rooms. Are there any rooms that have lights on but no one is currently using them?

A) Yes, almost all of the lights in the house are on.
B) Yes, there are a few lights on where they don’t need to be.
C) No, lights are only turned on in rooms where people are.

Tip: One way to limit your home’s energy usage and save money is to make sure that once you leave the room you turn off the lights!

2. Go check the laptops, TVs, audio speakers and phones around your house. Are they left plugged in when not in use or after the devices have fully charged?

A) Yes, all electronics are always plugged in if no one is using them.
B) One or two devices were plugged in while fully charged but someone will be unplugging them soon.
C) Our electronics are connected to a power strip which is turned off when the devices are not in use or have been fully charged.

Tip: Even when your electronics are not being used or charged actively, they’re still using power, which is sometimes called vampire energy. Using a power strip means that you can turn off all of the electronics, reducing the vampire energy they use otherwise. Nearly a quarter of all household electricity is used by devices that stay on continuously, like consumer electronics.

3. When you’re done using a desktop computer, do you shut it down or let it fall asleep on its own?

A) Let it fall asleep.
B) Depends on the day because sometimes I just forget.
C) I always shut down the computer once I’m done.

Tip: When you don’t shut down your computer, the screensaver continues to use energy even though the computer isn’t in use at the moment. Shutting down the computer means it’s completely off so there is no excess power being used.

4. How long is the typical hot shower in your household?

A) More than 20 minutes
B) 8-15 minutes
C) 5-8 minutes

Tip: A hot shower is relaxing, but a 12-minute shower increases energy cost by almost 1.5 times over an 8-minute shower. The extra 4 minutes increases a home’s energy bill by 50%! Taking shorter showers can help you save drastically.

5. Ask your parents what kind of light bulbs you use at home. What kind do you use?

A) Mostly incandescent light bulbs
B) A mix of incandescent, fluorescent, and LEDs
C) Mostly LEDs

Tip: LED lights use 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb. Substituting LEDs for less efficient bulbs can save lots of energy and money every day!

How Did You Do?

If you answered mostly A’s: Read the tips after every question to learn more about what you can do to save. Tell the rest of the family what you’ve learned and start changing your habits right away.

If you answered mostly B’s: You’ve been taking some steps to save energy but there is always more you can do to get rid of wasted energy.

If you answered mostly C’s: Good job! You’ve been careful with energy use. Now you know some of the best ways to save even more energy and money.

Hannah Bardei contributed this blog. This spring, Hannah has been working as a Sense intern through a program at Minuteman High School in Lexington, Massachusetts.