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Since 1970, Earth Day has helped kids learn and have fun while increasing awareness of environmental issues. More than a billion people across 193 countries celebrate it every year and learn ways to become better caretakers of our one and only home. Here are some fun Earth Day activities for kids that will help them learn how to preserve the planet and its environment.
1. Go for a Nature Walk
Taking your child for a hike or walk through a park will let them experience some of the Earth’s beautiful scenery for themselves. They can catch a glimpse of various animals, insects, and flowers and appreciate the natural beauty around them. Getting away from day-to-day life for an hour or two will help them realize that natural habitats are precious and that we should preserve them.
While you’re walking, you can teach your child to identify some of the common plants and animals in your area. You can also teach them how to read a compass, navigate using the sun, and forage native plants like dandelions and blackberries.
2. Make Crafts
For Earth Day, your family can make globe ornaments, T-shirts, colorings, collages, or anything else you can imagine. You can make playdough with supplies you probably already have at home — water, flour, and salt — for sculptures or decorations. Add food coloring to the dough, or help your children paint the finished product. Then, bake until it hardens and let it cool.
You can also visit an art or craft store for T-shirt paint and then paint an old T-shirt. Make a collage from scraps of paper that would otherwise end up in the trash. Encourage your kids to reuse items when possible to help the environment.
3. Start a Garden
Growing your own produce can help your family save money on groceries and avoid some trips to the store — you can even share your harvest with friends, family, and neighbors! Berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce, green beans, okra, and potatoes all make great crops for a garden. Herbs like mint or rosemary can help keep bugs away and enhance your cooking. They’re also small enough to grow easily on a windowsill or balcony if you don’t have a large yard. If you don’t feel like cooking what you grow, you can choose decorative succulents, orchids, or other indoor/outdoor plants to bring some natural beauty to your home.
With a garden, you can teach your kids how plants produce oxygen and reduce greenhouse gases. Let your kids help with planting and harvesting to teach them about responsibilities, as well as about the natural life cycle of plants.
4. Start a Compost Heap
According to the EPA, more than 30% of what people throw away could be composted instead. Composting keeps waste from ending up in landfills, emitting methane, contributing to climate change, and reduces water and fertilizer use in gardens.
Striking the right balance of carbon, nitrogen, and other elements is essential to decomposition and keeping pests away. To create the correct organic chemical cocktail for your compost, add equal amounts of dead branches, twigs, leaves, and materials like grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. Kids can help in this process by collecting compostable materials and maintaining the pile by regularly turning it for even decomposition.
5. Make a Bird Feeder
Earth Day activities for kids can start small. Bird-watching, for example, can encourage a love of nature wherever you are, even at home! To make a recycled bird feeder, start by taking an empty roll of toilet paper and covering it in peanut butter; then, roll the tube around on a plate full of birdseed. Place it on a branch or hang it on some string near a window so the whole family can enjoy watching all the birds feast on it. You can use a bird-watching book to help kids identify some of the species that visit.
Spend a few hours with your kids volunteering with a local nonprofit organization. You can plant trees, clean up litter on the highway, or take care of animals at a shelter. You can even feed wild animals injured by cars or other hazards at a wildlife rehabilitation center. That way, children will learn what it takes to prevent and correct this problem and avoid making those harmful choices in the future.
7. Prepare Some Earth Day Treats
Let your kids help when you make some desserts to celebrate Earth Day. You can cover cupcakes with blue and green icing to make them look like the Earth, or you can serve pudding that looks like dirt with gummy worms and chocolate cookies.
8. Read to Your Child About Earth Day
A good book about the Earth and its creatures and landscapes is a great way to introduce your child to this special holiday. Reading about the subject is important, and it can help kids learn about recycling, helping others, and preserving the environment for future generations. It can also help children with their language and comprehension skills.
These activities aren’t only for Earth Day, you can do them all year long! It’s never a bad time to teach children how they can help the environment and appreciate the natural world. What are your favorite Earth Day activities? You can tell us about any fun things to do that we missed in the comments below.
Looking for more Earth Day activities for kids? Check out this post, Nature Calls: Fun Ways to Explore the Outdoors with Your Kids.
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