April 22 is Earth Day and is a day for everyone to take care of the environment. Earth Day started in 1970 to raise environmental awareness in the United States. Since then, it has become a global event celebrated by over a billion people in over 140 countries. Earth Day raises environmental awareness and places an emphasis on conserving our natural resources for future generations.
Now that I have kids, I’m more mindful of climate change. I think about how I can help to protect the environment and conserve our resources. Don’t get me wrong, I recycled and wasn’t wasteful before I had kids. But I certainly do worry about what the Earth will be like when my kids are adults and when my grandchildren are born.
How much warmer will the Earth be? Will the Earth’s resources be completely depleted by then? Will they have enough clean water? Will future generations have enough resources? These are real concerns that I have and that I worry about. I worry about what the Earth will be like when my kids are older and whether they will be okay.
Earth Day is a time to reconnect with the Earth and bring awareness to the environment. It’s an opportunity to teach our kids to be mindful of how we use the Earth’s resources, to not be wasteful, and to take care of the Earth. Although Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22, it’s good to be kind to the Earth throughout the year and to remember to recycle plastic and canned products, bring our own bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic, and use less paper and plastic utensils.
Earth Day is an opportunity to protect our environment, conserve our resources and also enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Below is a list of fun activities you can do with your kids to celebrate Earth Day and connect with nature.
1. Go For a Walk
If you usually drive to work or school in the mornings, skip the car ride and wake up earlier to walk to work or school if it’s nearby. Or if you spend your evenings inside after dinner, go outside for a walk around your neighborhood. The days are longer now that spring is here. The weather is warmer which is ideal for enjoying the evening outdoors.
You can also see if there are any local hikes in your area. Search for a hike that is not too difficult, go for a walk, and spend some time outside. Take your time, enjoy the fresh air, and connect with the Earth. Enjoy what nature has to offer
2. Have a Picnic Outside
Instead of having lunch or dinner inside, take your meal outside and sit on the grass. Pack a cozy picnic blanket to sit on, your meal and drinks, and some fun games to play while outside. You can bring a frisbee, a ball to play catch, or a book to read. Enjoy the nice breeze outside and have fun soaking up the sun.
My kids love going outside. Whenever I tell them that we’re going to go outside to play, my little one is dashing out the door before everyone else. I enjoy spending time outdoors because we try to do activities so that the kids are not glued to the TV. We want to provide an environment where they are not always on the screen and so enjoy letting them play outside.
3. Clean Up in Your Community
If there are local groups around your area that do beach clean-ups or park clean-ups, see if there is a sign-up sheet where you can go and volunteer. With a few online searches, you should be able to find something that is available in your community. This is a great opportunity to meet other people, socialize and give back to Earth by taking care of her and cleaning her up.
4. Plant a Tree
Trees are important for the Earth because they help to provide oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide. They can provide shelter for animals and shade to help keep the environment cooler. Trees also help to prevent climate change.
If you’re up for it, you can plant a fruit tree in your yard. I like fruit trees because you can harvest the fruit and actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco (in the spring season) sell young fruit trees. You might not get fruit from it this year but you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the coming years. We have an orange, pear, lemon, and guava tree and it’s great. They provide the largest and sweetest fruit. Even sweeter than what you would find in the grocery store.
There may also be tree-planting events at a park or garden in your community. You can search to see if there is any local event in your area that will be planting trees or you can donate to EARTHDAY.ORG’S Canopy Project. The Canopy Project plants trees across the globe to help combat climate change, provide habitat for animal species, and benefit communities.
5. Plant a Pollinator Garden
Pollinators are insects that transfer pollen from one plant to another. Most people think of bees as being the primary pollinator but there are actually a lot of other insects that are pollinators as well. Other pollinators include butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds.
Pollinators are important because they help flowers and plant species survive by transferring their pollen from place to place. By growing pollinator plants, you are providing food for these insects and helping them thrive so that they can help keep the ecosystem alive.
Pollinator plants may vary depending on your state and region. You can find a list of pollinator plants here. Just click, read, and find out what would be the best pollinator plant to plant in your home garden.
You can pick up seeds from a local garden store and start planting them in your yard. If you don’t have a large yard, you can also plant them in a pot and leave them on your porch.
6. Paint some Clay Pots and Plant a Seed
Your kids can show off their creative talent by painting on some clay pots. After the paint is done drying, you can put some soil and plant something that you like- flowers, herbs, or vegetables like tomatoes or peppers.
You can find seeds from your local garden store, nursery, Target, or Amazon. This is a fun activity because you’ll get a beautiful pot to look at and you’ll also get to enjoy the herbs or vegetables that you plant after they start growing.
Plant anything that you like and enjoy. But just plant something.
7. Make a Birdhouse
You can make a birdhouse using recycled items in your home such as an old cereal box, paper or plastic milk carton, or shoebox.
Items you’ll need:
- Cereal box, shoe box, old paper or plastic milk carton
- String or rope to tie the birdhouse up
- Paint and paint brushes for kids to decorate the birdhouse
- Birdseed to attract the birds to their new home
You may need to help your child cut some holes in the cereal box or shoe box. Cut a few holes for the birds to peek inside. Have your child paint the birdhouse and let it dry. Punch a hole in the top of the box and thread a string through it. Hang the birdhouse in a desirable location where you and your kids can watch for any new birds.
8. Make a Birdfeeder Using Items at Home
Birdfeeders are a great way to help feed the birds in your area when they are running low on food. You can buy birdfeeders from a local pet store but making one with kids is a fun and simple project that kids will enjoy doing. It will give you and your kids an opportunity to know what are some of the native birds in your area.
You can make a birdfeeder using items that you may already have in your home. If you have Cheerios or fruit loops cereal at home, you can string those together on a string or pipe cleaner and hang them up on a tree.
You can also look for a pine cone around your neighborhood, use a knife to put some peanut butter on it, and then coat it with bird feed. You will need a string to be able to hang the pinecone up so that the birds can get to it. If you don’t have peanut butter, you can use lard or honey to stick the bird feed to the pinecone.
9. Teach Kids about Recycling
It must be because I have boys but they are obsessed with trucks. Fire trucks, tow trucks, flatbed trucks, delivery trucks, and garbage trucks to name a few. They’re still young and so they get excited whenever they hear the garbage truck outside. They run to the window to peek outside and wave to the truck.
My kids understand that the garbage truck is coming to pick up the trash but they haven’t understood what recycling is about. This is an opportunity to teach them about trash, and how paper and plastic products can be recycled.
You can gather a few items from around the house and have your children group them into categories. For example, you can gather the milk carton, some old newspapers, the egg carton, some aluminum cans, and some plastic bottles and have your kids group them together to see if they match. Teach them that plastic and paper can be recycled and to not throw them in the trash. These items can be recycled and the recycling truck will come to pick them up.
If your kids are older, you can teach them which items go into what colored bins and how recycling is important for the environment.
10. Make a Terrarium
You can make a terrarium with a few items you find in your backyard or at the park. Grab a glass jar or container and fill it up with some dirt, sand, or soil at the bottom. Place a few rocks and pebbles on top and some plants. You can add a few plants such as moss, grass, or wooden sticks.
Kids can add animal figurines, dinosaur figurines, or toy cars to the terrarium. It will be fun to make because what kid doesn’t love to play with dirt? You can ask your kids to look around and see what they would like to add to their terrarium and have them search for items.
Help them design and create a terrarium that they can keep inside their room or place where they can see it.
11. Nature Themed Scavenger Hunt
You can do a nature-themed scavenger hunt during your walk or while you have a picnic outside. Or you can do this while you’re just lounging around outside. Either way, just have kids search for things such as a pinecone, a new leaf, an old leaf, bugs, or any wildlife.
Encourage your kids to spend time outside and be familiar with nature. We love to spend time outside and have our kids away from the screens. They might get a little dirty but it’s fun for them and it’s important for them to appreciate the Earth.
I hope you and your family will get an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day and do something fun. It’s a great time to celebrate and appreciate the Earth, use it as a teaching opportunity for kids, and to introduce certain skills to young kids.
As Earth Day comes to a close, don’t forget to practice good environmental habits and be mindful of the Earth throughout the year:
- Conserve energy when you can
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth
- Recycle and repurpose reusable items
- Check out used books from the library before purchasing one
- Join a Facebook group to see if you can swap old toys
- Use eco-friendly cleaning and household products that are not harmful to the environment
- Bring your own grocery bags to the store instead of using paper or plastic