Many of us are now “home-schooling” our children, and while spending this extra time together can be really special, it can also be hard to know what and how to teach them.
To help you, we’ve put together a selection of some of the best FREE online resources we’ve found to teach kids about Landcare-related topics. We’ve broken them into the two key parts of Landcare – nature and farming.
Many of the sites are designed for teachers, so have formal lesson plans, but they all have some great resources you can use in a less formal environment. There are videos, worksheets, colouring sheets, online games and heaps of other ideas for activities you can do at home.
Whether you want to dive into a multi-week lesson or just grab a single activity, you’re sure to find plenty of Landcare-ey ideas here to educate and entertain your kids!
Nature and biodiversity
- Junior Landcare – A number of educational resources to encourage young people to participate in Landcare activities and build a closer connection with the land. Resources cover food gardens, worm farms, frog ponds, natural pesticides and restoring habitats. There is also a newly developed Just for Kids section with lots of activity sheets for kids
- Cool Australia – Lesson plans and resources from pre-school through to year 12. Cover a huge range of topics; some of my favourites include the “Love food? Love bees!”, “Snappy Science”, “Roots & Shoots”, “The Show” and “AuSSI School Audits” series (you can search these series by selecting them from the ‘Topic’ dropdown menu, or putting the name in the search box)
- Riverina Environmental Education Centre – Have some great ideas for outdoor activities, along with a link to download their excellent resource on Traditional Wiradjuri Culture (under ‘Web Based Lessons’)
- WilderQuest – An online game and associated resources to teach kids about nature, science and Aboriginal culture
- BirdLife Australia – A selection of activity booklets and colouring sheets to download, together with a link to access the “Beaks, Feet and Feathers” teaching resource
- Environment Education Victoria – A small but useful selection of resources; the Great Grasslands packages are especially good
- Murray-Darling Basin Authority – A collection of lesson packages, apps and activities to help students understand a broad range of issues around water and the environment of the Murray–Darling Basin
- NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Some great activities and resources to teach kids about topics such as threatened species, biodiversity and environmental water
- Planting Science – A good selection of stage-appropriate learning activities and experiments designed to help students learn about plants and photosynthesis
- Discover Ants – A fun collection of activities and resources to learn about ants! US-based, but still relevant here
- NSW Ecosystems on Show – An online resource highlighting 14 natural ecosystems found in NSW. Ecosystems covered include alpine, freshwater, grassy woodland and river red gum forests. Information for each ecosystem includes plant and animal species that occur there, environmental or cultural significance and associated conservation issues
- EnviroStories – A library of books created by school kids, aimed at teaching other kids about the biodiversity and farms of our local region
- Create Buddy Habitats – A selection of DIY projects and how-to guides to build homes for your backyard buddies, including various birds, insects, mammals, frogs and reptiles
Farming and production
- PrimeZone – A fantastic range of lesson plans, worksheets and videos to help educate kids about our primary industries
- Cotton Australia – Lesson plans for primary and secondary students, covering a range of aspects of the cotton industry, including Helicoverpa resistance, cotton plant adaptations and the cotton production process
- Learn About Wool – Lesson plans and resources to teach kids from kindy to high school about all aspects of the wool industry, from the lifecycle of sheep to farm business management and the history of the Australian wool industry
- The Soil Story (The road to regenerative agriculture) – The recently released Australian version of this lesson plan adapts the original US version to our landscape. It includes links to some interesting videos, and a series of lessons aimed at teaching kids about rebuilding healthy soils
- Royal Agricultural Society of NSW – A collection of education resources and student workbooks to teach kids about where our food and fibre comes from, and the path it takes from the farm to its end use
- Forest Learning – Teaching resources focused on Australian forests and sustainable timber products, with links to agroforestry, biodiversity and soil science
- Dairy Australia – Videos, worksheets and interactive resources about the Australian dairy industry, covering topics such as dairy cattle breeds, technology on dairy farms and ideas for experiments using milk!
- Pest Tales – Contains lesson plans, activities and interactive scenarios for older primary students, highlighting pest animal species in Australia, their impact and current ways of managing the damage they inflict
If you know of any other resources which you think would make a useful addition to this list, please feel free to contact us and pass them on.