Child Friendly Earth Day Activities
Earth Day is a fantastic holiday to teach your children the impact they have on the world around them. By taking a little time to plan activities with your child, you will be amazed how they take ownership of the planet to leave their mark.
The History of Earth Day
Earth Day first began in the 1960s, after the United States began to understand the consequences of human action on the environment. Devastating occurrences, such as the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, lead Gaylord Nelson to celebrate the first Earth Day. Gaylord Nelson, the Junior Senator from Wisconsin, organized initiatives on college campuses to teach students about conservation efforts. This holiday became a globally recognized celebration in 1990, and is celebrated to this day as an opportunity to be reminded of the importance of reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling.
Earth Day for Kids
Although this holiday was originally brought to life on college campuses, there are many ways to encourage your child to participate. Below are some of our favorite ways we see children using Earth Day to remind them of their impact.
One of the most fun, and free ways to celebrate Earth Day with your child is to collect recyclable materials throughout the month to make crafts. From newspapers, to toilet paper rolls, there are endless opportunities to turn what could have been wasted into something meaningful. Here are some of our favorite craft ideas.
Simply cut out each section of the egg carton to make adorable egg carton creatures. Each individual cup has the opportunity to become a bumble bee, a turtle, an ant, or any other creative ideas you may discover. Use paint and googly eyes to bring your creation to life.
2. Tin Can Knock Out
Collect cans from canned soups and vegetables to make this fun game. All you have to do is save enough to make a tower of five and paint them however you want. We recommend painting them as a set (IE a set of five adorable matching pups). Once your cans are painted and dried, stack them in a pyramid and see who can be the first to knock them all down with a soft ball. Not only will the craft have your children entertained, but playing the game itself will keep them laughing for hours.
If you want more ideas on crafts to try with your kiddos, we recommend checking out this blog post all about recycling crafts!
Earth Day is a great day to take your child outdoors! If you have hiking trails nearby, go on a hike or simply go to the park. While you are there, collect items from nature that interest your child, draw sketches of cool wildlife or landscapes you find, and take some time to enjoy the cool air. Make sure as you are on your walk, you encourage your child to take it in by making your own observations and sharing with your child what fascinates you about nature. When you return from your walk, create a “Nature Journal” by taping in your child’s findings, sketches, and writing about all that you found on your walk.
Plant Something and Watch it Grow
One of the best things to do on Earth Day is to simply plant something! Perhaps there is a tree planting event happening in your city, or you have a garden you could plant new flowers in. Ask your child if there is something they would like to grow, and plant it together. Even if you do not have a garden, there are many things you can grow right from your kitchen. Chia seeds are a quick growing sprout that you can grow right from your window sill. Just grab a handful of seeds, plant them with or without soil in a small jar, and spray them with water every day. By the end of the week you should see some healthy sprouts! As a bonus, chia seeds grow on most any surface, so you can also grow a “chia pet” by mixing chia seeds with water to make a gel. Once the gel is sticky, add it to the surface of a small item. Spray that item every day as mentioned before to watch it sprout. Learn more about making your own chia pet here.
Set Up a Bird Feeder
There are so many ways to set up your own diy bird feeder using recycled materials, or you can simply buy a kit at your local craft store! Setting up a bird feeder is an easy way to bring wildlife straight to your window and make the Earth Day Experience real for your children. As birds come for a snack throughout the day, have your children take notes and pictures to see if they can research what birds came to visit each day. Then, at the end of the week, you can play a round of “bird trivia” by holding up the pictures and seeing who can identify the different birds that visited.
Have a Picnic
Another easy and fun way to get outdoors on Earth Day is to plan a family picnic. Pack up your favorite lunch and head to the park for fresh air and family time! To really bring in the message of Earth Day, challenge yourself to only use reusable materials when packing your lunch. Use containers that can be used more than once, reusable straws for your beverages, and reusable utensils like bamboo forks and knives instead of plastic.
In the spirit of Earth Day, as a family, brainstorm ways you can swap out plastic items in your home for items that are waste free. The Conscious Consumer is a great online shop offering solutions for swapping out everyday items. Consider switching from plastic bottle shampoo and conditioners to bar soaps. Instead of plastic wrap, consider using clothes with beeswax woven in to seal leftovers. There are so many simple swaps you can make to decrease waste. As a bonus, you will not have to take the garbage out as often when you find ways to decrease your household waste.
Start a Compost Bin
Continuing in the spirit of reducing waste, as a family, start a composting bin in your kitchen! Anytime you snack or cook with produce, place the scraps in your compost bin. Once the bin is full, mix it outside with some soil to create a nutrient rich compost for your family garden.
We hope your family enjoys participating in these Earth Day activities, and through them your child grows a sense of their impact on the world around them! By teaching your child to be mindful of the earth and the ways our choices affect the Earth, you give your child the confidence and voice to make positive change.
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