Kids Activities during Bad Air Quality Days

Updated: Jan 8



Going to certain beaches may be the solution of where to go in bad air-quality days. In recent years, California has more and more bad air-quality days. Parents are having headaches with kids activities during those days. We recently had a good discussion with kids about why bad air-quality days happen and what activities we can do.


A=Adult, K=Kid

A: Wow, today's air quality is very bad. Do you know why?

K: Yes, I know. It is because the mountain fires everywhere.

A: Do you know why the massive fires cause the bad air quality? We had fires three days ago but we still had good air quality at that time.

K: I do not know.

A: Do you know wind is the most important effect of air quality?

K: How?

A: Let's draw a picture. (drawing a picture with fires on the top and our home at the bottom). Suppose the fires are on the north of our home. When the wind blows from south to the north, can we smell the smoke?

K: I do not know.

A: Ok. Let's do an experiment. Here is a cup of coffee here, and you stand one foot away from me. (Let kids stay one foot away) Now I face to you and I blow the coffee, can you smell it?

K: Yes, I can.

A (Turn around & blow to another direction) : Now you are behind me. When I blow the coffee, can you smell it?

K: No.

A: The smell is carried by the wind. Same as the smoke from the fires. Do you know why we have the bad air quality days now? It is because the wind blows the smoke to us. However, when the wind blows the smoke away from us, we will not have the bad air quality days.

K: I see. Too bad. When can we go out to play?

A: We need to wait until either the fires go out or the wind changes directions. But we do have a place to go no matter which direction winds blow to.

K: Where?

A: We need to go to a place where the winds always blow away from us. Guess where?

K: I do not know.

A: Beach! Always go to beach for fresh air! Do you know why?

K: Why?

A: Because winds always blow from sea to land. Such wind is called sea breeze. In California, fires happen in summer, and the temperature is high on the land. At the same time, the temperature on the ocean is low. Wind always blows from low temperature to high temperature places. That is why you can enjoy fresh air near beach.

K: Great! Let's go to beach now!

A: Not really. Beach is too far away and it is too late to go now.

K: Then where can we go?

A: Do you know there is a website called Airnow.gov? (Turn on the computer and show kids the website) See, it shows that places about 20 minutes south from us are in good air quality.

K: Great! Let's go!

A: Not yet. Airnow only updates once an hour. Here is another website called purpleair.com. (Showed kids the website) This website is updated every minute. See, it shows that places about 15 minutes south from us are also good now. So we can drive 15 minutes and find a park to have fun!

K: Oh yeah! Let's go!




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