Earth Day is observed each year on April 22. The first observance was in 1970, when 22 million people took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Today, it is observed in almost 200 countries.
Educating people, especially children, is increasingly important in our world today. The children of today are the ones who will make a difference in how our world evolves over time. Here are some fun, easy activities to do with your kids to celebrate Earth Day:
- Get them excited about helping the Earth – there are many fantastic children’s books about how to take care of the Earth. Find some at your local library and read them with your kids. Let the author explain things like composting and the water cycle! A favorite is The Earth Book, by Todd Parr. For a list of books to help teach kids about the environment, look here.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt – take to the nearest bike path and see what you can find. Take along a camera and let the kids snap pictures of the beautiful things they see in nature. Walk in silence and see how many sounds they can hear.
- Organize a neighborhood clean-up event – this doesn’t have to be huge or widespread. Gather a few neighbors and pick up trash along the streets. If you know of a neighbor who is unable to tend to their lawn, mow it for them.
- Plant in an empty egg shell – this is so fun! Take half an egg shell, add a little soil and a seed. Once the seed sprouts, plant the entire thing in the ground. This is a good lesson on composting as well.
- Let your kids be the conservation police in your home – there are so many changes you can make to help the Earth around your home. Put each child in charge of one or two areas: turning off lights and electronics when not in use, sorting trash to be recycled, saving water, managing the compost bin. Let them remind others to do their part.
- Teach them a lesson about biodegradable products – The purpose of this activity is to show that some trash may litter our Earth for years. Choose some materials from your trash, some that are naturally biodegradable (banana peels, bread, egg shells), and some that aren’t (plastic, Styrofoam). Nail them to a 2×4 or other piece of wood. Make a drawing of the plank, labeling each material. If you have space, bury the plank under a little dirt. If not, rest it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed. After a week, check the condition of the materials. Revisit as often as you’d like and note the changes.
While Earth Day is a great time to help our environment, don’t limit it to just one day. Teach your kids that the Earth needs our help every day, and set an example for them to follow.