Children are inherently curious, enthusiastic nature lovers. Just try to get a child to not jump and splash gleefully into a puddle, giggle at a squirrel, chase a butterfly or smell a flower. They are impressionable and eager to learn about their surroundings, and Earth Day presents a precious opportunity to take them by the hand and lead them down the emerald path to a life of green thinking and earth loving. Here are 10 kid-friendly activities to help you celebrate Earth Day with your children.
1. Plant a tree, or start a garden
Let your children literally feel the earth in their hands by digging through soil and into the ground to plant a tree, or garden. If you lack outdoor space, plant an herb garden in a window box or on your balcony. Or get involved in a community garden project in your area. These activities will enable kids to take pride in growing their own food or fauna, as well as giving them a sense of responsibility in caring for the planet’s offspring.
2. Explore nature in your own, or in your city’s backyard
Whether you simply take your children on a nature walk around your neighborhood, or to municipal gardens, forests, oceans, rivers, or mountains, get outdoors with your children and teach them to appreciate the miracles of nature.
3. Give away stuff you don’t need
Ask your children to fill a large bag with toys, books and clothing items they no longer use or wear. Then donate these items to local organizations. Note: Most libraries gladly accept children’s book donations.
4. Go bird watching
…and then come home and build a birdhouse out of recycled materials. This will instill in your kids an affinity for our feathered friends that will spread to all wildlife. See how one clever mom made the cardboard birdhouse above, here.
5. Get crafty with household items
There are countless ways to upcycle things you no longer use around the house. The more you spin old wares into new ones, the more your children will take up this way of life and perpetuate the craftiness. To get you started and give you some inspiration, visit Recycled Crafts, and peruse Inhabitat’s Spring Greening contest winners.
6. Reduce Reuse Recycle!
Dump out your recycling bin and ask your kids to find ways to reuse the contents. Glass jars could be used as vases or frames, milk cartons may be made into birdhouses, egg cartons can be used as organizers for jewelry and other small treasures… their imagination is the limit!
7. Watch the new film “Earth,”
…and have a discussion afterward answering all of your child’s questions, and asking them their thoughts on the movie. Encourage their sense of wonder.
8. Make Earth Day resolutions
Sit down as a family and make a list of things you’re all willing to do to save the earth year round. Go veggie? Switch your light bulbs? Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth? Write down your resolutions and post them where you may all be reminded of your new earth loving habits.
9. Hit the Farmers Market
Many cities and towns host Farmer’s Markets on Wednesdays, so take your kids to your local farmer’s market to buy fresh, organic, locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. They’ll learn to support their local farmers and they’ll appreciate how food gets from the farm to the dinner table. Encourage your kids to strike up conversations with vendors and farmers to learn more about their methods and crops.
10. Get eco-literary
Buy used books about animals, (hungry catepillars!) plants, nature, trees, and the planet to add to your child’s book collection. Reading these stories on a regular basis will foster an ongoing appreciation for the world and all creatures. Read them on Earth Day and every day.
HAPPY EARTH DAY!