While The Lion King taught kids all about the circle of life, explaining their place in the world can be much more difficult. These Earth Day activities for kids give us the opportunity to show how our choices can impact those around us, and help them appreciate our world a little bit more.
How can you introduce Earth Day to kids?
Sure you can show the CBS Earth Day special from 1970, but if your kids are anything like mine, I’m guessing it won’t hold their attention like Paw Patrol can.
I find the most engaging way to teach is by doing. Let your kids interact with the nature that is already around them.
Take a nature hike
I use the word hike very liberally since I’m in Kansas and our hiking isn’t exactly top-tier. Maybe it’s more like a little nature walk in your neighborhood. Point out all living objects that you can observe along the way or make a scavenger hunt. Use your time outside to recognize how many living things share one small area, and how they depend on each other.
If you’re in the city, you might not have thriving flora and fauna to examine, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of life. Pigeons: they may not be anyone’s favorite, but they are able to thrive in conditions that most animals can’t. Trees: to break out your 6th grade science memory and talk about how they make us oxygen we use to breathe.
Start an up-cycling challenge
For those that are good at planning ahead, start to save all (not gross) recyclables for a week or two. Then on Earth Day, break out your favorite craft supplies, set a timer for 1 hour, and see what they create. Teach the importance of reusing rather than adding more trash to landfills.
Families with older kids can put on a Project Runway competition. Give them an old shirt, fabric paints, tie-dye, scissors – maybe even some crystals, because the 90s are absolutely back. Put on a fashion show and pick the winner.
Collect flowers to press and dry
“What would Martha Stewart do?” While this phrase can apply to help guide your life in so many ways, for Earth Day it might mean you should press some flowers. Flowers are a beautiful result of photosynthesis; share how we need the air to be clean so the flowers can grow.
As a kid, I have fond memories of turning pressed flowers into bookmarks. Once they have dried, you can laminate them to preserve into a classic Mother’s Day gift – so bonus, no need to wonder what to buy grandma!
If you don’t have fresh flowers nearby, you can get creative with fake flowers. Make a beautiful spring wreath that you’ll want to display all season long.
Build a solar system
It may seem counterintuitive to make a solar system on Earth Day, but it’s a good time to pause and think about our global position. Because this is a day to recognize the importance of our world, it only seems right to recognize how we are a part of a larger galaxy.
Get creative with your solar system! You can make a classic 3D model with foam balls, or use things from around the house. Basketball Sun, tennis ball Saturn – you get the idea. Or share your solar system by drawing it on your sidewalk so the neighborhood kids can get to learn and explore, too.
Make Earth Day a time to reflect on everything around you. Explain how small, sustainable changes – like reusing old items – can make a big difference. By trying some Earth Day activities for kids, it will become a day your kids will look forward to every year!