7 Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day with Kids
With Earth Day 2017 just a few weeks away, we’ve been thinking about fun and educational ways to celebrate the day with kids. The great thing about these ideas is they can really be done any day of the year. So while you may put aside time on Saturday, April 22 to do a special Earth Day project or activity, we hope you’ll come back to this list throughout the year. After all, protecting the earth and preserving our natural resources are things we should do every day, and instilling this idea in our kids will ensure they grow up to be responsible stewards of the planet!
Take a Nature Walk
One of the easiest ways to teach your kids appreciation of the earth is to take a nature walk. You can go to a local park or simply walk around your neighborhood. Even those of us that live in cities have nature around us if we just look. Simply take your children outside with the goal of identifying and appreciating the natural wonders of our world. Rocks, plants, birds, animals, flowers - show them the magic of nature and encourage them to identify natural elements in their surroundings.
DIY Upcycling Project
If your kids enjoy arts and crafts, try an upcycling project using simple items you have at home. You can make a bird feeder, transform bottle caps or egg cartons into art and even make toys! We’ve assembled some of our favorite Earth Day art and crafts projects for kids on our Pinterest page. The best thing about these activities is they all use things that would normally be thrown out. By repurposing trash and making it into something fun or beautiful, your kids will learn the importance of recycling, reusing and reducing garbage in landfills.
Plant an Herb Garden
Do your kids like science or cooking? Plant an herb garden! Visit your local hardware store or garden center to pick up a few packs of seeds for herbs you frequently use. You can either purchase a small bag of potting soil or simply take some dirt from your yard. Then let your kids find some “pots” - anything from a milk carton to a plastic soda bottle will do. Cut off the tops, decorate them with paint, glitter or tape and fill with dirt. Plant your seeds and water. Your kids will love watching the herbs grow into food they can eat, and you might create a green thumb or two!
Earth-Saving Scavenger Hunt
For active kids, especially those who love hide and seek or puzzles, do an in-house scavenger hunt for ways to save water and energy. This works especially well with multiple kids because you can give prizes for the child who finds the most ways to save. From turning off lights to fixing leaky faucets, they’ll earn a point for every earth-saving solution they can identify in your home.
Old Toy Trade-In
Every child has a box of old toys or stuffed animals that he or she has outgrown or simply no longer enjoys. Rather than throwing them out, teach them about the ecological concept of renewing by identifying old toys that are still in good condition and donating them to a local Goodwill or a homeless shelter for mothers and children. Explain how their toys will bring joy to their new owners instead of ending up in a landfill. Let them know that if they give away “X” number of old toys, you’ll buy them one new thing in exchange. In the spirit of Earth Day and celebrating nature and animals, we’ll even give you 20% off products in our Air & Sea, Dogs & Cats, Farm & Country and Jungle & Safari categories with the coupon TOYTRADE.
Watch an Animal Documentary
If you have Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, you’ve already got access to a library of animal documentaries that the whole family will enjoy. We especially love the “spy in the…” programs, where scientists use strategically-placed robot cameras disguised as plants or animals to get up close and personal with a certain type of animal. Animal documentaries are a great way to get kids interested in preserving wildlife and give them a glimpse of how animals behave outside of zoos. Bears, dolphins, elephants, lions - there are so many choices, you’re sure to find one your kids will love.
Read a Book with Ecological Themes
Whatever else you do to celebrate, end Earth Day by reading a great book featuring ecological themes. It could be one of your child’s favorite characters going on a nature adventure or a book specifically about Earth Day. You can check this list of Earth Day books from The Educator’s Spin on It as a starting point, check on Amazon or stop by and support your local bookstore.