I like the whole concept of Earth Day: celebrating our beautiful planet and taking time to focus on what we can all do to preserve her beauty. It makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside. If I’m honest though, in our house, Earth Day doesn’t get a huge spotlight. I have a few books that I like to keep out during the spring months, but other than that, there aren’t really any official “Earth Day” activities that I bring out for the kids.
At the risk of sounding a little too environMENTAL (HA!), I really just work to incorporate some Earth Day friendly activities into our normal routines. Before you find that to be one of the most annoying sentences ever, hear me out. I’m sure that you’re already doing so many of these things too! If not, no biggie. There’s nothing on this list that you couldn’t squeeze in one day soon.
1. Get Outside!
I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a day about Earth’s wonder than being out and enjoying it. Our family spends A LOT of time outside. We don’t do a lot of structured, organized outside play. We turn our boys out into the backyard, and say, “Go play.” They have shovels, buckets, balls, and nets and always seem to find an interesting game to play. Earth Day is also a great excuse to take a little nature walk. Check out a local park or greenway and ask your kids to predict what things they think they will see. Don’t walk for speed or a high step count that day, just walk to take in and enjoy nature with your family.
2. Plant a Tree… Or Something
I remember being in grade school and our entire school heading out to plant trees one year to celebrate Earth Day. I can only imagine how expensive that must have been! I don’t plan on having my boys plant trees this year, but we do plant things together. Each year I let them pick out a plant (budget friendly) to put in a planter at our house. This, of course, includes a lesson on what plants need to grow and what we can do to help care for them. We also usually plant at least one food bearing plant (cherry tomatoes are the most successful for us) to help illustrate what it really means to grow your own food. I would love to be in a place where there was room for a huge garden, but a patio tomato plant can still teach a valuable lesson. Some of this planting can obviously happen on Earth Day, but you also should follow whatever planting advice your local experts have based on weather conditions in your area.
3. Create Little Conservationists
This is always a work in progress at our house, but teaching your kids to turn off the water, turn off lights, and recycle is a big deal! I know (seriously, I really know) how many times you probably have to remind your kids to turn off a light. Sometimes we even use a dry erase marker to write “TURN OFF LIGHTS” on the mirror in the bathroom. There are so many environmental perks to using less energy it’s definitely worth it, not to mention you can save on your power bill when you remember to turn everything off.
4. Read a Good Earth Day Book
I absolutely love finding children’s books that relate to the real world holidays or events going on with our family. That’s why last year I compiled a great list: 6 Books for Celebrating Earth Day With Children. I own most of the books on that list and have already read some to my boys this spring. I’m sure you already share books with your kids, these are just a few books that make your reading even more earth friendly.
Whether it’s curling up to read a sweet story about Clifford cleaning up the neighborhood, or taking the family out for a nature walk, there are so many easy opportunities to celebrate Earth Day with your kids. I’ll even bet you’ve been doing some of these all year long.