Earth Day is an important time for everyone to really pause and assess their impact on the environment. Now more than ever, it’s important to honor the earth in a positive way. Earth Day this year is on April 22. With the current climate of social distancing, it’s important to find creative ways to celebrate this informational holiday. Fortunately, there are still tons of fun Earth Day activities you can plan for the kids, your friends, or really anyone!
Begun in 1970, Earth Day has grown to be a global initiative in more than 193 countries. Collectively, this movement has instituted recycling programs and attention to mindful waste. Earth Day this year will look different due to the ongoing pandemic. Regardless, here are some Earth Day activities for kids and people of all ages to mark the importance of taking care of our planet.
1. Planting a tree
While this seems the most common thing to do on Earth Day, there are a lot of benefits to planting trees. This would be a great time to speak to children about the life cycle of a tree, why trees are cut down, and the animals that need trees to maintain their ecosystems. If planting a tree is too much, try planting herbs and even vegetables. In addition, try planting a butterfly garden, which can be a beautiful addition to any home garden.
2. Recycling Program Start-Up
There are still many places that don’t have a recycling program, so this could be a chance to give children leadership opportunities.
3. Rainbow Scavenger Hunt
Younger kids may enjoy a rainbow scavenger hunt, which entails adults telling children a color to find in nature and kids finding objects that represent that color. Older kids may just enjoy taking pictures of things if they don’t want to disturb the area around them.
4. Nature Journal
Create a nature journal that can help children understand the nature and animals in their own backyard. This journal gives artistic children the chance to draw their surroundings, while more science-oriented children can delve into the scientific names behind their favorite herbs and flowers. Children can even create an herb section where they can learn which herbs are poisonous and which can be used to create tinctures or herbal remedies.
Candles don’t have to be bought; they can be created simply by upcycling food jars! Children can add dyes and glitter to candles, which can encourage creativity while teaching children about upcycling. The wax you choose is up to you, but for an extra effect add some fragrance oils.
6. DIY Wind Chimes
Take some old cans you may have used for food and clean them out. Once you’ve cleaned them, ensure there are no sharp edges by covering them with playful duct tape. Next, have children paint the cans and even add glitter and stickers. Once the cans are dry, punch holes in the bottom of the can with a nail and hammer. Older kids may be able to do this on their own. Then take sturdy string and place a washer on one end; one washer is used to hold the yarn in place, while the other is placed at the end of the string to make a lovely clanking sound when it hits the tin can.
7. Painted Stones
Possibly one of the best Earth Day activities for kids is painting stones. If you are fortunate enough to live near some river rocks, then grab a basket full of them and take them home. These lovely rocks are fun to paint and place in a garden. If you live in the city, hide them in random places so strangers can find some positive messages. There are various sizes of flat rocks, and there are even pocket-sized ones that children could leave in places to spread some good vibes.
8. Community Clean Up
Teaching children to clean up their community is a great way to inspire local activism. It’s an easy way to beautify their community and take pride in where they live. This is also a chance to showcase how pollution can destroy the environment and how animals can be hurt by the careless actions of humans. This activity can be for all ages, but kids especially can be taught how trash is collected and placed in the proper receptacles.
9. Making paper
Millions of trees are cut down to create paper. By showing kids the time it takes to create one sheet of paper, it may teach them why they shouldn’t waste paper in the future. Often times, hands-on activities work best for trying to teach a lesson. Making paper is great for all ages and includes a recycling component: it requires collecting old newspapers or other paper things that can’t be used for anything else. For some extra fun, try embedding seeds in the paper. This colorful paper can be used for invitations or attached to some fun goodies.
10. Fun Feeders
There are a lot of fun ways to feed wildlife like birds and squirrels. One fun and unique way is to spread peanut butter and birdseed on pinecones and place them in various spaces. It is also possible to tie strings to the pinecones and allow wildlife to consume them. Older children can also build bird feeders with wood and create little food or water bowls.
11. Make a video
Older children may enjoy creating a video for YouTube to encourage their peers to take care of the planet. The topics in this can range from environmental issues to agriculture and minimalism. There are countless ways we as a society can lower our carbon footprints, including potentially going meat-free one day out of the week. Older children also have such a strong impact on their younger peers that hearing a message from them is more motivating than hearing something from an adult. When kids have the courage to show that they care about the environment, then that begins to plant the seeds of necessary change for true environmental impact.
12. Make a bug hotel
Get a nice empty roll from a paper towel roll or a toilet paper roll. The goal is to fill the inside with various sticks and leaves to create a variety of textures. Next, take some twine and tie it around the center of the roll. Now you have a bug hotel! These tubes filled with debris can be placed on the ground for beetles and earthbound bugs or hung as little peaks for flying bugs. If this seems too much, you can also get some soil and re-home some earthworms…now you have a “low key” bug hotel. Earthworms are pivotal in healthy soil, so having some extra ones around would enhance the longevity of your garden.
Ultimately, Earth Day will look different for everyone, but every day is truly Earth Day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to create lasting change when it comes to taking care of our planet. Small changes made by every single person can help reduce waste and encourage lifelong habits that can save the planet. Kids especially need to be taught that the earth’s resources are finite, and it is up to us to make those resources last as long as possible. Instead of us creating more waste, the more we understand that we can do with less, the better off our planet will be. Let us know which one of these Earth Day activities for kids (or anyone) you like the most!