Exploring the beauty of earth and nature while teaching the importance of our environment can be fun for the whole family.
Earth Day started in the U.S. in 1972 but is now celebrated by over 190 countries every year on April 22! An estimated one billion people take part in Earth Day activities and you may find some community activities near you too. Beach and park clean ups are popular in April, to prepare for the summer and take advantage of the nicer weather. Below you’ll find some home activities for the whole family to participate in!
1. Recycling and Eco-Friendly Education
What better way to start teaching children the importance of protecting our environment than how and why we recycle. Gather up all your papers and plastic and separate them into the bins. You can even take those materials and upcycle them into crafts! If you have older children, this could be a great opportunity to speak to them about climate change and energy conservation. You can even make your day a little greener by switching out your plastic straws for glass or paper too, which is a trend with the pre-teens “save the turtles” movement.
2. Upcycled Crafts
No need to go to the craft store for Earth Day supplies, you could have some laying around the house already. Search those recycling bins for water bottles, cans, milk jugs and get creative! Cans, with the help of some tools, can turn into wind-chimes or even planters for growing flowers! Milk cartons can be cut to create bird feeders! Here you’ll find even more crafts you can make out of things you thought of throwing away.
3. Take a Bike Ride or Walk Around Your Neighborhood
The whole family can participate in a stroll around the neighborhood. You can point out the flowers and trees beginning to bloom, and the natural critters you spot. Speak about the importance of the birds carrying twigs off to their nests, look they upcycle too! And how the bee’s, while many are afraid of them, have an important job for the environment. This could also be a time to point out that littering, which you’re bound to see on the streets, is harmful. It could make your little ones think twice before throwing their garbage on the ground for now on!
4. Cook A Special Earth Day Meal
Go to your nearby supermarket or farmers market and pick up some locally sourced ingredients! Because these ingredients are locally grown, they have less of an impact on the environment rather than those sourced from other countries because there’s less commute which emits less harmful carbon emission. You can still make family favorites but maybe it could be a day to introduce more fruits and veggies to the kids. It’ll be fun to try new things on a day focused around learning about the earth.
5. Have an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
It could be as simple as using a list for finding things in your own backyard! Think – bugs, leaves, pinecones, flowers. You can have fun outdoors! Looking for certain things from a list can make it even more special. And if you don’t have a backyard, don’t worry! This can be another great activity to play on your walk around the neighborhood! Little ones will love trying to spot a red bird or yellow flower on their stroll.
Earth day activities are a great way to introduce your children to an eco-friendly education. You can start off small with things you’re knowledgeable about and go on to research with your children about things you’re unsure of. The important lesson of the day is that we have to work together to keep our earth healthy, and that comes down to us making greener choices!
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.