What is the Value of Water?

Take a moment to think about all the ways you’ve used water today. Did you take a shower this morning? Did you use water to make coffee? How many times did you wash your hands?


Now, think about how your day would be different if the water you used wasn’t clean.


What Kids Need to Know About the Water Crisis


It’s easy to take clean water for granted, and yet as many as 1 in 10 people in the world live without it. That’s twice the population of the United States!


Lack of access to clean water is a major health, economic and social issue, particularly in communities in underdeveloped nations in Africa, South America, Central America and Southeast Asia.


Unclean water carries diseases, which causes illness and can have fatal consequences—mostly for young children.


It also impacts the education of the children in these communities, because these children are often forced to stay home because their schools don’t have plumbing.


And, lack of access to clean water keeps women from working, because they must walk for several hours during the day to bring home water from wells that are often many miles away.


These factors, in turn, affect the economies of developing nations.


How Can Our Children and Youth Make a Difference?


Your kids can start responding to the water crisis now. And, you can share with them how the changes they make in their day-to-day lives can have far-reaching environmental and social consequences.


Here’s how!


  • Ask them questions such as, How much water do they drink? What do they use water for? What is the value of clean water in their lives? What would be different if they had a little less, or none at all?
  • Ask your kids to research the water crisis. They can use this opportunity to develop media literacy and technology literacy as they study the impact that lack of access to clean water has on communities around the world.
  • Discuss as a group the issues they care about most. Who, where and what would they help, if they could?
  • Encourage your kids to collaborate and communicate to invent a creative solution to the world’s water crisis.

A Project-Based Learning Opportunity


To understand the world’s water crisis and make strides towards solving it, children need to deeply engage with what’s going on in the world—from health and human services, to the environmental impact of their decisions, to a range of humanitarian issues.


This sounds like a major opportunity for a project-based learning program, and a chance to cultivate 21st century skills!


You’ve already presented a problem and encouraged discussion, research and collaboration. You’ve helped children work together and think of creative ways to solve problems. You’ve asked them to identity a topic that matters to them, and exhibit voice and choice as they learn and think about how their actions can make a difference.


Next, ask them to develop a product. Creativity and collaboration are key to developing a group project that will contribute to efforts to improve the water crisis. Here are a few ideas your kids can try.


  • Research the consequences of unclean water and how it impacts people in other parts of the world .
  • Make a pledge to save water by turning off the faucet while they brush their teeth.
  • Learn how sanitation systems work and what goes into keeping their communities’ water clean.
  • Using a creative idea, hold a fundraiser to build a well for a community through charity: water. Your kids can contribute a well or provide a sanitation system for a community that doesn’t have access to water…and you can even put your names on it! As your kids engage in the project, ask them to reflect on how the actions they are taking locally are impacting the lives of people in other parts of the world.
  • Invent a new way to provide clean water to populations that need it—local or far away

I can’t wait to hear how your kids decide to make a difference!


For more project-based learning programs and opportunities for self-directed learning and 21st century skills development, go here.