10 Fun Earth Day Activities for Families
When Is Earth Day?
Earth Day is held on April 22nd every year. It began in the United States in 1970 to help raise awareness of environmental issues. The first international Earth Day celebration was held in 1990 and has been celebrated in countries around the world ever since. It is a day to learn about and discuss environmental issues and ways we can work together to save our earth for future generations. It is also a day to celebrate and appreciate nature.
Celebrate Earth Day with Your Family
Earth Day provides us all with a great opportunity to talk to our kids about the environment and things we can personally do to be more environmentally friendly.
It's a perfect occasion to plan some fun activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Here are my top ten Earth Day activities for families:
1. Plant a Tree
Planting trees is an activity commonly associated with Earth Day, with good reason. Trees provide us with many benefits. They can help to reduce energy consumption by breaking winter winds and providing shade in the summer. They also provide shelter for birds and animals and help stabilize soil to reduce erosion, and they improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gasses by absorbing carbon dioxide.
Whether you plant a tree in your own yard or participate in a tree planting project in the community, this is a perfect Earth Day activity.
2. Clean up Your Neighbourhood
Pick a local park, roadside or trail in your community and see who can collect the most garbage and recyclables. Be sure to have everyone wear gloves!
It's not a glamorous task, but this activity definitely reinforces the idea to kids that they should not litter and makes the community more attractive for everyone.
3. Go on a Nature Walk
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting out into nature? Go for a hike in the forest, or walk to a local pond or lake to look for wildlife and enjoy the scenery.
Be sure to bring along a camera to capture some of the beautiful sights you see along the way. Get the kids to take some photos too, and maybe even have them put together a nature photo album or collage afterwards.
4. Build a Bird Feeder or Birdhouse
Building a backyard birdhouse or bird feeder is a great project to do with your kids. Children love building things, and attracting birds to your backyard will provide many opportunities to watch and learn about birds in your area all year long.
You can buy kits from a hardware store or toy store, or you can also find instructions online for building your own creation from recycled materials.
5. Plant a Garden
Growing your own vegetables and herbs is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint, and is a wonderful activity for the whole family.
Your kids can help plant seeds indoors, which can be transplanted to the garden when the weather is warm enough in your area. Be sure to involve your kids in the decisions about which vegetables to grow, and get them to help care for the garden by watering or weeding it. Helping to grow the vegetables themselves may even make picky eaters more inclined to eat them!
6. Hold a Swap or Yard Sale
Every family has toys, clothing, and books that their kids have outgrown or no longer use. Why not organize a swap event with some other families to put these unwanted items to good use and keep them out of the landfill?
Alternatively, hold a yard sale of your unwanted household items and donate some of the proceeds to a local environmental organization, or use the money to buy some eco-friendly products for your home.
7. Attend an Earth Day Event
Many communities and cities hold family-friendly Earth Day events, which may include community clean-up projects, tree-planting, educational workshops, eco-festivals, nature walks or group hikes.
Be sure to watch your local newspaper for Earth Day events in your area or visit www.earthday.org for event listings.
8. Go Birdwatching
Earth Day is the perfect day to do a little birdwatching with the kids, either in your own backyard or while out on a walk. See how many different types of birds you can spot in a day. Borrow a bird identification book from the library, or take photos of the birds you spot with your camera and try to identify them by searching on the internet when you get home. Your kids might be interested in starting a photo album or scrapbook of the different types of birds they've seen.
Although not absolutely necessary, a pair of binoculars can help make bird spotting and identification a lot easier.
9. Have a Car-free Day
Make a pact to leave the car at home for a day - or longer! Use other means of transportation to get to where you need to go, such as bikes, scooters, walking or taking public transportation.
Talk about what a difference this made in your day, and see if there are opportunities to reduce your reliance on cars in your everyday life. Your health and the environment will both benefit!
10. Make Crafts with Recycled Materials
Most kids love to do crafts, and there are lots of fun things to make using recycled materials from around your house. Check out this list of recycled crafts for easy ideas to get you started. (Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration!)
Earth Day Activities Poll
Which Earth Day activity do you think your family would enjoy the most?
© 2012 Kathy Sima