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Plugged In Kids Website offers fun ways to “switch on” youth to energy efficiency


BY MEGAN MCKOY-NOE NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION


challenge to get them to do chores. But a website has been designed with young energy savers in mind.


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Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, the brand “ID” of the nation’s electric cooperatives, offers Kids Energy Zone (www.kidsenergyzone.com), featuring a spunky energy efficiency mascot, CFL Charlie. The site is designed to teach children in kindergarten through fifth grade how to be Super Energy Savers in their homes. The Kids Zone also includes interactive games, videos, activity sheets, and surprises.


“The website is all about engagement,” explains Ruben Musca, senior manager of advertising and marketing for Touchstone Energy. “It’s a way for parents to interact with children so the family can focus on energy efficiency together, and help everyone develop energy efficient habits. Through fun activities, students and their parents learn about energy, electrical safety, and energy savings.”


For example, Lights Out!—an energy- saving game in the Kids Zone—challenges kids to speed through a virtual house, replacing traditional incandescent lightbulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and turning off lights and appliances as fast as possible. The less energy a player uses by the time everything’s off, the better the score.


“Playing the Lights Out! game and taking kids through a house with an energy efficiency checklist, which parents can find in the Kids Zone, are


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etting children excited about energy efficiency may seem hard—for some parents, it’s enough of a


great ways to work together to get good habits started,” Musca recommends.


Teachers searching for ways to help students focus on energy efficiency have several resources available. Choctaw Electric Cooperative provides local schools with CFL Charlie’s Super Energy Saver kits.


“Each kit accommodates a class of 30 students and includes a checklist that children can use to help guide their parents on an ‘energy efficiency expedition,’” Musca explains. “In the exercise, kids walk through the house with mom or dad to make sure the refrigerator door is closed, and lights and computers are turned off when not in use.”


Child-friendly energy efficiency websites:


www.kidsenergyzone.comwww.energystar.gov/kidswww.eere.energy.gov/kids/www.energyhog.org


Finished checklists are submitted to teachers for a certificate declaring the student “an official Touchstone Energy Cooperative Super Energy Saver.” Certificates carry the image and signature of CFL Charlie.


“The kits also contain classroom activities such as connect-the-dots, word search games, and a 10-page coloring book,” Musca adds. “These materials will keep kids entertained and educate them about energy savings at the same time.”


Plug into these resources and more at www.kidsenergyzone.com. For more details on CEC programs for kids, please visit www.choctawelectric.coop.


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