Ages 15-19 | Life Skills

Teens are very proactive in environmental issues.  Chances are they have learned quite a bit about these issues in science classes.  Encourage teens to be good role models for younger siblings, and to contribute at home, at school and in the community to issues they are passionate in solving.

The 3 R's At Home

  • Learn about what can be recycled at home by visiting  Recycle Spot for city-specific information.
  • Remind kids to limit their time in the shower.
  • Just because they can drive, doesn't mean the HAVE to drive - encourage your teen to walk or bike when possible to save on gas (and save money)!
  • Try not to throw your clothes in the laundry if you've only worn them for a few hours - you'll use less water and your clothes will stay 'new' longer.
  • Be a good example for younger kids at home - turn off the lights/tv/video games and encourage your siblings to do the same.
  • Don't be a 'vampire' - open the windows and let in the natural light.

'Going Green' At School

  • Bring a refillable water bottle to sports practices/games.
  • Talk to your friends and see if you can carpool to school.
  • Get involved with your school's recycling efforts - ask your teacher or principal how you can help. 
  • Try not to use plastic utensils in the lunchroom - ask for metal ones if you need them.
  • If you buy food at school, take only what you know you'll eat.

In the Community

  • Now that teens are driving, teach them how to conserve gas - turn off the car when waiting on friends or siblings - don't idle.
  • Get involved earth-friendly volunteer projects, such as stream clean-ups or recycling electronic items.
  • If your teen does drive, ask them to help take items that can't be recycled at home to the local recycling center.


"Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life" by Linda Sivertson & Tosh Sivertson.  Talks about the big issues currently facing our planets, along with highlights of interviews with teens and a number of tips for 'going green'.

Got a teen who wants to create with their hands?  Maybe they'd like to design buildings, learn how computers work or build cars?  Help them learn more about their passion at these Kansas City places.


Learn More:

Play around with the online Architect Studio 3D and learn about building houses, along with one of the world's most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright:

 Learn about building tunnels, skyscrapers and domes at PBS Building Big:


After surveying the area and learning about the four types of bridges, build your own in an online game:

Does your teen want to help others, improve the world and have a positive impact in their community?  Maybe they need to do a service project but aren't sure where to find one?  Check out these options to help your teen find their interests and get involved in helping others.

Many teens have jobs and now it's our job to help them learn how to manage their money.  Does your teen have their own checking account yet?  Are they helping to pay their own bills, like gas for the car or their monthly cell phone charges? Check out some of these local resources and get them off to a solid start. 

Online Money Resources:

There are a number of different 'schools of thought' about how to manage, save and invest your money.  For teens, it's a good idea to become aware of some of the more popular resources so they can begin to review the various ideas and form some of their own about the subject.

Some places to start include:

  • The Motley Fool has a great area online titled "Teens & Their Money".  It discusses saving, spending, investment, interest, stocks, IRAs and includes examples from real teens.
  • Dave Ramsey is a very famous motivational speaker who teaches adults & teens how to control their spending in order to afford what they really want.  Start with his article on "How Teens Can Become Millionaires" to get an idea about the benefits of saving when you're young.
  • CNN's Money online has a number of finance articles about saving, spending, credit and investing.


Hands-on Experience:

One of the best ways to teach teens about money is making sure they have some hands-on experiences with it.  Integrate some of the following opportunities into your son or daughter's life:

  • Get them a bank account (savings first, then checking before they leave for college or to live on their own) and teach them how to make deposits, write checks and read & balance their bank statements.
  • Have them write out a budget so they understand how they use money.  Start with school expenses or car costs and construct a monthly list of these items.  You can then discuss how to 'stretch a dollar' by looking for sales, upcycling what they have instead of buying new, borrowing from others, purchasing second-hand, etc.
  • Help them find a job - during the summmer or after school - so they begin to understand what 'work' is, how they get paid and how economics work in our country.


Discover More:

  • A great website from the U.S. Mint talks about earning, saving, spending and investing money.  Try balancing an online checkbook, take some money challenges and learn about credit cards.
  • For some practical advice and real-life stories, read the KC Star's Kids & Money column by local writer, Steven Rosen.


Explore Money in KC

The Money Museum

Take a visit at the Money Museum located at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City.  Teens will enjoy seeing some of the cool exhibits and learning about the history of our economic system.  Activities include:

  • Watch the process of an operating bank vault,
  • Learn where money goes when it's no longer usable,
  • See if you can tell the difference between a real $20 bill and a counterfiet,
  • Try your hand at lifting a real gold bar,
  • See $30 million dollars up close!

Admission is free but check the Visitor's page for hours and information before you go.