How to Celebrate Earth Day with Kids

Tomorrow is Earth Day and a wonderful opportunity to start teaching your little ones the significance of protecting our environment.  It’s important to celebrate Earth Day with your kids and to start environmental education early.  Most kids love nature because there are endless possibilities for adventure, exploration and play.  A love of nature is a great place to begin educating children about the environment because it is something they can understand and experience.  From there, the conversation and actions can expand and become more complex as your children grow.

Not sure how to get things started?  The best way for kids to learn is by getting them involved…and letting them get their hands dirty!  We’ve got some fun ways to celebrate Earth Day with kids:

How to Celebrate Earth Day with KidsGarden and Plant a Tree

Whether you have a yard full of gardening opportunities or one flower pot to fill, gardening is a fun, kid-friendly activity.  Depending on your children’s ages, you can let them help select the plants, dig in the dirt and water the plants.  Planting flowers, a tree or a vegetable garden will allow kids to see the “fruits” of their labor in a short time.  Begin a discussion of what plants need to grow – sunlight, water and nutrient-rich soil – all parts of the environment that we can protect with responsible practices.

Build a Bird House

While you make your yard a more beautiful place, welcome the birds as well with a new bird house.  If you are especially handy you can cut wood pieces to fashion a bird house.  Otherwise, you can buy a kit of pre-cut pieces.  You can also use an empty milk carton by cutting a large window in the side or the age-old pinecone with peanut butter to help the bird seed stick.  Hang your bird feeder outside a window where your children can watch their bird friends enjoy the new home.

How to Celebrate Earth Day with KidsRead Books about Nature

One of the best ways to get kids in the right mindset for Earth Day is to read books on different nature and environmental topics.  Some of our top picks are The EARTH Book by Todd Pharr; The Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Nuria Roca and Rosa M. Curto; Earth Day, Birthday! by Maureen Wright; Curious George Plants a Tree by Margaret and H.A. Rey; and The Lorax by Dr. Seus.

Talk About and Demonstrate Earth Friendly Behavior

As you know, kids learn so much by watching your habits and behavior.  Set an example by living an environmentally responsible lifestyle.  If you don’t already, Earth Day is a great time to get started recycling, reducing the use of paper and conserving water.  Donate used toys and make a commitment to buy more used items, which cuts out on manufacturing, shipping and packaging costs.  Get your kids involved by having them collect items they no longer use for donation or have them decorate a special reusable grocery tote.

Go on an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt and Pick Up Litter

An Earth Day scavenger hunt takes absolutely no planning and set-up on your part.  All you need is two bags – one for nature items and one for trash.  Find a safe place for a walk, such as a local park, nature trail or around your neighborhood.  Challenge your kids to find certain things in nature, perhaps a leaf, a wildflower, a stick or a rock.  Also have them pick up litter and/or recyclables you may see along your way.

Make an Earth’s Birthday with Meal of Local Foods

While your kids may not understand Earth Day, they certainly know about birthdays.  Celebrate Earth Day with kids by having an Earth Day birthday party with a meal made with local foods.  Teaching the value and environmental advantages of eating local is a fantastic Earth Day lesson.  Plus you can get your kids involved in the cooking process, which may encourage them to try new foods.

Happy Earth Day!  We hope you have a wonderful time celebrating with your kids!