5 Earth Day Activities for Kids

April 22nd is Earth Day, a day to celebrate nature, get outside, purposely do something “green,” and it's a great opportunity to teach children how they can do their part to help preserve and protect our planet. And while crafts can be a fun way to learn about Earth Day, getting your children involved (and outside) is even more fun!

earth day activities for kids

Plant a tree

When my daughter was one we started an apple tree from seed. We nurtured it indoors until it was ready to be planted outside and now it’s the same height as her. There is nothing more educational or rewarding then watching a tree sprout and grow from seed or seedling. If you plant a tree, take the time to explain to your children why trees are so important (their ability to absorb carbon dioxide), and let them know it will grow up just as they do. My daughter loves measure herself against our little apple tree.

Build a bat house

I got the idea to build a bat house from the Wild Kratts, but I love it because it gets kids closer to a creature some may find scary. Building a bat house is not hard (here is a link to the bat house mentioned in the Wild Kratts). As with tree planting, building a bat house is a great opportunity to teach kids where bats fit into our ecosystem and why they are important. They eat insects and in many parts of the world they are also plant pollinators.

Collect garbage

Grab some garbage bags, put on some gloves and head to your local parks and trails and start cleaning up! The windy winter always leaves a lot of garbage behind—Earth Day is a great opportunity to get outside and clean up the neighbourhood. While picking up garbage you can explain how garbage can be damaging to wildlife, including how they can get stuck in plastic containers or cut themselves on glass.

Plant a monarch butterfly garden

Monarch butterflies are endangered, so why not plant a monarch butterfly garden and teach kids what plants they are attracted to and why butterflies are important! Plant some milkweed so the monarch butterfly can lay its eggs on it and so their caterpillars have something to eat (did you know they only like milkweed? Luckily, many garden centres now sell this once hard to find plant seed). Like bees, butterflies are pollinators, so their existence is very important to the survival and success of our own food sources.

Have an earth day scavenger hunt

This is a great activity for younger kids. Create a scavenger hunt based on things found in nature, such as pinecones, rocks, flowers, and leaves. A nature-based scavenger hunt is a good way to help younger children learn more about nature as well as get them outside! Another idea is to go to your local library and find a bird watching book, then go for a hike and see how many kinds of birds you can spot and make a list!

There are many ways to get your children involved in learning about, appreciating, and protecting our earth. It can be as easy as religiously recycling, using reusable bags and making a conscious effort to conserve water. By taking the time to teach them now, they will hopefully carry this knowledge with them and share it for generations to come.

How do you celebrate nature and make Earth Day fun and educational for your kids?

Make It Earth Day Every Day

by Gwen
Earth Day 2012 has come and gone, but just because it is over, does not mean you can’t continue to be earth friendly every day of the year.
The Earth Day Network website is available year round and is filled with valuable information and activities (aimed at both adults and children) to get you thinking about how each little thing you do impacts the earth. Check out the Ecological Footprint Calculator designed to calculate your impact on the planet.
There is also the Billion Acts of Green section of the site which is packed with green acts you can do all year round from the very small (using cloth bags at the grocery store) to larger scale green acts such as making your home solar powered. Take a look through the site for some inspiration.

Here are some more eco-friendly things you can do with your family year round, from the Nayla Natural Care Pinterest Boards:

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Recipe - So it's not quite "chalk" it's more of a paint, but the kids will love it just the same. The best part? You can make it with 3 simple ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen: water, cornstarch and food colouring.  Image credit: Smashed Peas and Carrots Blog

Homemade, Non Toxic Gunk Remover Recipe - Sticker residue and miscellaneous gunk that a regular cleaner will not remove has met its eco-friendly match. The commercial counterpart to this mixture is highly toxic, flammable and has ridiculous fumes. Not something you or your children should be inhaling. Image credit: rosy blu handmade

Vegetarian Taco Salad Recipe - I made this taco salad a few days ago and it was a huge hit, even with the kids. It's quick to put together, it's healthy and it's delicious. Take it 1 step further and make it vegan by replacing the cheese with a cheese alternative such as Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds. Finish it off with avocado chocolate pudding and everyone will be smiling. Image credit: Eating Well

Celebrating the earth every day is a great way to teach kids the importance of being environmentally conscious. What things do you do with your kids to encourage them to be more green?

Gwen is a mom of 2 and owns/operates Nayla Natural Care, an online store that specializes in carrying the best organic, natural and eco-friendly products.