Why Kids Should Celebrate Earth Day
Though Earth Day may not be as celebrated as other holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, it’s an important opportunity to educate your children about the importance of our planet. Every year on April 22, we have the chance to show our support for the environment, take action against ocean pollution and climate change, and volunteer our time to make a positive impact. While a lot of these activities are thought of as adult-only, there’s no time like the present to begin teaching the next generation about how they impact the planet with a more creative Earth Day approach.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is key to helping keep the Earth safe for the next generation—but it takes time to build predictable and repeatable sustainable habits. That’s why it’s ideal to start teaching children as early as possible through DIY Earth Day projects or easy Earth Day crafts. From simple things like recycling and composting to reducing food waste and minimizing plastic products, children can start to make a positive impact on the planet, even at a young age.
10 Fun & Easy Earth Day Activities for Kids
This Earth Day, find activities that blend well with your family’s lifestyle and support your children’s preferences. No matter if you prefer the indoors or outdoors or want something small-scale at home or a larger event that makes a big impact, there are Earth Day tips for kids that allow you to dream up endless activities—and each one is the ideal opportunity to talk to your kids about sustainability.
Play with Sustainable Salt Dough
Did you know that Play-Doh contains plastics and petroleum-based products that pollute the planet? For your Earth Day kids' craft, try swapping out Play-Doh for a more natural alternative: salt dough. It’s easy to make, and you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry.
To make salt dough, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Cream of tartar
- Lukewarm water
- Coconut oil
- Food coloring (optional)
- A quart-sized reusable bag or jar for storage
It takes less than five minutes to make and will make your Earth Day for kids an instant hit.
Be Part of a Local Cleanup
If you’re looking for outdoor activities for Earth Day, consider joining a local cleanup. Litter often gets overlooked as a form of pollution because we often fixate on what ends up in the oceans. But litter is a major contributor to pollution, and participating in a cleanup will show you and your kids firsthand how much garbage gets left behind near roadways, in rivers, and even in your local parks. The event will allow you to get out in nature and teach your kids the importance of recycling and reducing waste, all at the same time.
Visit National Parks—Virtually!
National Parks are one of our country’s greatest treasures. From Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, there are many types of terrain across 28 states that show just how diverse our country is. Luckily, you don’t have to hit the road to see all 63 of our nation’s beautiful parks. Instead, you can visit them virtually and enjoy many new learning opportunities along the way. Many of the National Park sites even have pre-designed virtual Earth Day activities for kids, allowing you to learn along with them.
Make Upcycled Art
Many Earth Day ideas center around arts and crafts—and for good reason. These hands-on activities allow your children to tap into their creative side, learn about the environment, and have fun while doing it! But instead of breaking out brand-new art supplies or heading back to the store to stock up, consider making upcycled art as one of your free Earth Day activities. Use wrappers, recyclables, paper scraps, toilet paper tubes, and any other materials around the house so you can watch your children’s imagination in action. It can also help them rethink waste and understand the impact that garbage can have on our planet.
Plant a Garden
Planting a garden is one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint. Spending time with your kids digging around in the dirt as your Earth Day project can also teach them to reduce food waste and enjoy screen-free time in the great outdoors. The best part about gardening is that you can make your garden as large or as small as you want, depending on your space. If you only have a patio or balcony—or don’t have any outdoor space at all—don’t worry. You can always start your garden in one small pot and let it grow from there. Planting tomatoes or peas is a great Earth Day activity for beginners who want a low-maintenance option that will thrive.
Go for a Hike
Learning is always more fun when it’s active, which is why an educational hike is one of the best Earth Day activities. It’s the ideal way to engage young minds and get them thinking about the human impact on our ecosystem. Before you set off, identify a few local animal species that have overpopulated or dwindled because of human influence. Use that as a teaching moment to educate your kids about how their actions have an impact. If you’re struggling to create structure, try reaching out to your local nature center or ask around the community—you’ll often be able to find educational information to help your little ones learn.
Play Earth Day Bingo
If you’re wondering how to celebrate Earth Day with your kids, it might be time to think outside the box. Some children may be more into board games than they are outdoor activities for Earth Day—which makes Earth Day bingo the perfect solution. It’s a fun, easy, and engaging way to educate your children about this important holiday. You can fill their bingo card with Earth-friendly activities, like recycling, shutting off the lights, or turning down the heat or air conditioning. You can even find free printable resources online that are made and ready to go, streamlining your prep and planning.
Make a Bird Feeder
Earth Day isn’t just about the land, plants, and pollution; it’s also about Earth’s creatures! To honor our winged friends, a homemade bird feeder is an easy DIY Earth Day project that will keep your little ones engaged and entertained. Making a bird feeder can help local bird populations thrive and can help you start the conversation about the impact humans can have on the delicate ecosystem. Try using only recycled materials, like paper towel tubes, empty jars, and scrap paper, to make your bird feeder for a more eco-friendly approach to this easy Earth Day craft.
Have a “Lights Off” Day
Electricity can be a big contributor to your carbon footprint. Instead of more traditional Earth Day ideas, try a more unusual approach: a Lights Off Day. Dedicating a full day to turning off the lights in your home will demonstrate just how much we rely on energy—and just how much of it sometimes goes to waste. Not only is turning off the lights good for the planet, it can help get your little ones’ wheels turning about how they can conserve energy year-round. To make it even more fun, break out the indoor tents, LED candles, and rechargeable battery-powered flashlights to make it a memorable Earth Day activity.
Sustainability is an important part of Earth Day that needs to continue year-round. Educating your children about sustainable purchases will help them adopt eco-friendly habits that they can carry with them into adulthood. You can shop sustainability in a few important ways:
- Shop locally. Less travel requires fewer resources, which means shopping for local goods leaves a smaller footprint on the environment.
- Don’t shop in bulk. The more you buy, the more you’re likely to waste. Instead of buying huge quantities of one product, just buy as much as you need for now.
- Shop upcycled products. Clothing and accessories made from eco-friendly materials, like Socktopus Ink’s sustainable socks, are a great way to help stop pollution and reduce, reuse, and recycle.