Earth Day as everyone probably knows by now is April 22, it’s a Saturday this year.
How about getting the family together and doing some really neat things to make Earth Day special?
Because it is early spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a great time to plant, divide and clean up the garden too.
It’s a great time to Teach the Children!
Earth Day is a great opportunity to teach the children about the world around them. If they are really young you can start them off by watching the birds and small insects that are starting to appear. Show them the flowers that are beginning to bloom and teach them the flower’s names. It’s never too early to coach a new gardener. Earth Day activity ideas for kids are easy to come up with, you just need to make them simple and straightforward for little minds to understand.
If there is garbage, plastic bags, wrappers, and general litter, getting little hands to help pick these up will be an easy chore. They are closer to the ground and it can even be a little bit of fun too. Make it a race to see who can pick up more of the litter. Then have a small prize like a packet of seeds for the winner. Children will learn that when they drop things like candy wrappers and papers, it makes things untidy and seem unclean. On a grand scale, it is pollution! They will think twice before they just drop things on the ground. Get them to help an elderly neighbor too. Children will understand that helpfulness is not just something you do at home. Being a helpful person is a good thing and something to be encouraged. Who knows, maybe there will be a cookie as a reward for helping.
Elementary children will be learning about Earth Day at school, and with that knowledge, they will most likely be participating in Earth Day activities in some way. It could be a school garden that needs planting. With the help of the Parent Committees, it is quite possible that elementary school children will have a budget set out to help them make their school more environmentally friendly. There are companies that will help them make their schools look really nice too.
The Elementary School in our neighborhood has a community garden and the whole neighborhood is invited to help keep it nice. Quite often the students can be seen weeding and replanting with the help of adults and teachers. The knowledge that they get from the first-hand experience is so much better than reading about it in a book. If there is no garden then books are fine, but the experience of getting their hands into the earth is the ultimate thing we want for our children.
If you need some help there are many books available to help you come up with ideas for children and adults.
What else can we do?
In our families, we can get outdoors into the garden and hang a few birdhouses in the trees. If you don’t have many trees or have no trees at all, then planting one in your yard would be a great Earth Day activity. There is much to learn about the type of tree and how big it will grow and how much shade it will provide too. All of these things are interesting and important for them and you to know. Make a plaque to hang on the tree with the year it was planted so that your children can learn about a tree’s growth habits.
Trees are a great way to help make the earth a happier place. They are the earth’s lungs taking the bad chemicals/gases in the air and turning all those bad gases into oxygen. That is extremely good for us. There is no such thing as too many trees in our neighborhoods.
Ask Kids What They Would Like to See.
Earth day activity ideas for kids are sometimes as easy as thinking about something that they would not normally do themselves. If you live in an urban setting and they have greenhouses, it would be a great idea to take them for a tour. In my city, we have greenhouses that are subsidized by the government. Many larger cities have them as well. They are open to the public and tours can be arranged. At this time of year, it would be great for the children to get a sense of how the greenhouses are operated. They will learn when seeds are planted and how to plant them, to the steps required to bring plants to a point where they can be replanted in community gardens.
What if you have Elementary School Children who live in apartments?
What can be done for Earth Day if you don’t live in a house? No problem, there is plenty that apartment dwellers can do to be more aware of the Earth and Earth Day activities. Sometimes in an apartment, there are even more ways that you might want to become more eco-friendly. Reduce, reuse and repurpose things you no longer need. Recycling is also an important aspect that can be done too.
Teach the students how to plant something green that will grow and clean the air in their own home. There are many plants that are particularly good for this purpose and they are not hard to take care of either.
Spider plants, Aloe Vera, Peace Lilies, are just a few of the plants that are really easy to grow. Many of them can also do with lower light conditions that might be problematic for apartment dwellers. Just because they don’t have a garden does not mean they cannot participate. Where there is a will there is a way. Students can be encouraged to bring in a small pot, teachers and parents can help them learn how to plant properly and then watch them grow. If these plants are not a possibility, then get some seeds and watch the seeds become plants.
What Else Can We Do?
I have found a few You Tube videos that can help you if you can’t come up with any ideas. Even sharing these with your children could be interesting.
If you are not sure where to start, Edutopia has some really good resources for you.
Lots of videos and hints on how to get your children involved in Earth Day from the smallest of kindergarteners right up to Grade 8’s and beyond. Education is so important for our youngsters and hands-on education plays an even greater role.
I hope this help you come up with some creative and innovative ideas to share your love for the planet with your children. Together we can make this Earth Day successful and help our environment.