6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids
Every year on April 22, more than one billion people in 192 countries celebrate Earth Day and focus on saving the planet. Not sure how to celebrate? Check out these fun Earth Day activities for ways to involve your family in the largest civic observance in the world!
1. Grow Something Green
Celebrate Earth Day by planting a garden or even just a few flowers. Involve the kids in selecting, planting, and caring for plants. It’s a fun hands-on learning opportunity. If you don’t have room for a garden, just a few pots on the patio, or herbs on the windowsill can brighten your home and provide fresh and healthy produce for your family.
If you have the space, consider planting a tree in your yard. In addition to being beautiful, trees remove CO2 from the air and provide a habitat for wildlife. Don’t have a green thumb? There are several organizations that plant trees in deforested areas with the help of donations. Just $1 replants a tree in decimated forests around the world. Visit Plant a Billion or The National Forest Foundation to learn more.
Explore these resources with your kids about why it’s important to recycle, what items are recyclable, and how people can help. Then spend some time spring cleaning and see what items in your home could be recycled. In many areas, recycling centers observe Earth Day by offering free large item and e-waste recycling, a great chance to safely (and legally) get rid of broken or outdated clutter and electronics. Check the Earth Day website to see if there are similar opportunities in your area, or try the free iRecycle app to find a center near you.
3. Find Your Footprint
This would be a good exercise to try with older kids. Have them think about your family’s habits and answer the questions on this quiz to calculate your ecological footprint. You might be surprised by the results. The quiz offers some tips for simple lifestyle changes to reduce your footprint—a great opportunity to have a conversation with kids about environmental impact.
4. Make an Act of Green
Once you know what green changes you can make, consider pledging to make an Act of Green as part of Earth Day’s Billion Acts of Green initiative. This could be as simple as planting a garden or recycling, walking or biking more, or using more green products. Share your pledge, then stick to it!
5. Play a Game
For younger kids, PBS Kids offers free online educational games and activities perfect for Earth Day, including The Greens and Eekoworld. Or, try an online activity here on Learning Liftoff such as watching Earth rotate around the Sun or learning about the spheres of Earth.
High school students and adults can try their hand at CEO2, a game developed by Allianz and the World Wildlife Federation. Players take on the role of CEO and try to adopt green business practices. It’s an interesting exercise in corporate responsibility and cause and effect.
6. Get outside!
Finally, take some time to enjoy and appreciate our Earth by exploring the outdoors and observing nature. Clean up litter at a local park or beach, go on a nature hike, or take a family bike ride for some fun, green exercise. For more ideas, check out these outdoor learning activities.
This article originally published April 17, 2014, and has been updated and republished.
Ashley MacQuarrie began writing professionally more than ten years ago and has covered education, technology, current events, pop culture, and other topics. A former homeschooler, she studied English and Film & New Media, graduating with a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. Ashley has classroom experience working with children who have autism and other special needs. She has also tutored students from kindergarten through college and taught English to teens and adults at a language school in London.