kids

ROAD TEST: The interactive book that'll teach your kids to actually turn off the lights.

Powershop
Thanks to our brand partner, Powershop

COVID-19 has resulted in a lot of changes for all Australians.

For my family, it has seen both my husband and I leave our normal workplace offices to work from home (while simultaneously resisting the daily temptation to nap), and my two daughters being schooled within the same four walls (AKA my husband and I trying to make sure they’re doing their remote learning while trying to get jobs done ourselves!).

While often a juggle, having everybody under one roof has also provided me the unique opportunity to observe a range of insights into my family and myself (some good and some not so much), including:

1. Kids eat A LOT, especially when bored.
2. I vividly recall why I left teaching eight years ago.
3. My children seem to believe that every light in the house is required to be on, all the time, even during the day and even when they are not in the room.
4. Our energy usage has gone up, up, UP.

While 1 is being combatted by only allowing healthy snacks to be in arms reach of my two children (and me secretly consuming their Easter eggs – to help), and with 2 being a work in progress (and also assisted with the consumption of wine); it is numbers 3 and 4 that I have had the most success with, and that as a family we are really getting on top of.

Well, with a little help from my friends, that is…

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Meet the whole crew, including party planner Goldie the Green and Golden Bell Frog.

They are all vulnerable Australian native animals due to the effects of climate change - and they are also my very helpful friends who like to party.

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Through a digital children’s book, Pond Party, they help explain to children the complex issue of climate change in an understandable, fun and interactive way.

Created by Powershop, Australia's greenest power company, the book uses data from your smart meter to shape a story that changes dependent on your household usage.

The better your home energy usage is, the better the story becomes and the better the "party" can be.

Beginning with an enthusiastic greeting by Goldie, kids are encouraged to plan and organise their own pond party, completing specific party planning tasks through separate chapters. And with the promise of a party and most importantly, being in charge of it, my eldest, Addison was eager to give it a go.

As Addi began ‘Chapter 1’ she was asked to invite friends to the pond party. The guest list numbers are the first thing shaped by how much energy your household uses, the less energy consumption, the more guests you can have.

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Here's where the party's at. Image: Supplied.

While excited to have an ISO party, Addi was not so enthused by only being able to invite four guests (perhaps if you remembered to turn some lights off, I suggested). But nonetheless, she extended her invites out to Wally the Wombat, Rudy the Rock Dragon, Pablo the Parrott and Penny the Potoroo, then also quickly running off to her bedroom and turning off her light.

Next, in Chapter 2, Addi got to organise the party food, which happen to be the native animals' favourites: some flies and worms.

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Then, Addi was truly in her element – party decorating for Chapter 3. The task was to help Harriet the Honeyeater collect flowers to create a festive garland.

Before she began, Addi was reminded by the story that the greener we are, the more we can grow in the land.

So again, she knew that her actions drove the quality of decorations because her actions made a difference. So, off she went to check the house for lights that were on that didn’t need to be (fist pump), or electrical items that weren’t turned off, including the television which was still displaying the episode list of Bluey from earlier in the day

Finally, the last step of party planning, Chapter 4, was the music, which of course also came from nature – Frankie and the Frogs who come together to make some ‘croakin’ beats (yep, clearly I am into this story too).

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Image: Supplied.
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Image: Supplied.
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Image: Supplied.

Chapter 5 is party time, where it all came together. What could (and couldn’t) be achieved to make the perfect pond party, as determined by our own energy usage.

The interactive story of Pond Party not only outlines a major issue in an understandable, entertaining and very cute way but also encourages children (and their parents) to make small and positive steps at home to reduce energy usage and maximise its efficiency. And be better party people.

After the party and each task of the planning, there are helpful and simple hints like turning the television off, using the clothesline instead of the dryer or switching to LED lights, which explicitly demonstrate how we can each make a direct difference to the environment, our party friends and to climate change.

And reduce our household energy bills too - a very timely reminder right now.

Download Pond Party for free here, whether you're a Powershop customer or a guest.

Powershop

Powershop was launched to turn the Australian energy industry on its head - putting its customers and the environment first. Powershop is ranked as Australia’s greenest energy company, and is the only energy retailer to be certified 100% carbon neutral by the Australian Government. Powershop has more than 160,000 residential and business customers in Victoria, New South Wales and South East Queensland and South Australia.

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